Dental Consultant Advice: Incoming Phone Calls
For example, questions regarding dental insurance, accounts, collections would go to the Accounts Manager if you have one.
When a patient calls the office and is in pain, the receptionist should fill out some kind of Emergency Call-In Sheet. The following are some of the questions that should be asked:
1. “When was the last time you saw Dr. [name]?” This response will tell you if you are dealing with a new patient, an old patient who has been inactive, or an active patient. If the patient already has a chart, pull it. Also, be sure to check the patient's account.
2. “How long have you been in pain?”
3. “What type of pain are you experiencing?” Have the patient describe the pain. If it is a dull ache, the patient can usually wait until you can fit him/her into the schedule. If the pain is sharp, excruciating, throbbing, etc., the patient should be worked into the schedule ASAP (the same day).
True emergency patients will come at any time you give them. Patients wanting quick appointments of convenience will usually give you the "run around" regarding what time they can make it into the office.
If an active patient calls the office for a prescription, follow the office policy on calling in prescriptions.
Employees receiving incoming personal calls should not be interrupted unless it is a true emergency. All messages should be documented on a “phone message” form and placed in the employee’s mailbox. The employee may then return the call during lunch or a break.
Handling sales calls:
a. The receptionist should not be lured into answering questions.
b. If the receptionist is unsure if it is a sales person, she should ask what it is they are selling.
c. The receptionist should then request that they send in a brochure. If the caller asks who to send it to, the receptionist should have them direct it to her attention.
d. No matter what be civil and friendly.
e. Some calls can be put through to the doctor if he is not in the middle of a procedure, such as calls from other doctors, emergency calls from family, and in some cases, calls from labs. Take a message for non-emergency personal calls, patients who do not have an emergency or aren't upset, sales people and other business personnel.