Just how important are Telephone Messages #AnswerMachine


telephone answering maching

Just how important are telephone answering machines? VERY important as it keeps your customers informed of you’re opening days and times.

Last week I needed to contact my dentist for an urgent appointment. He is a one-man dentist, with a hygienist and a nurse/receptionist. When he has any time off the practice closes.

I rang at 09.00 last Monday morning, the telephone just rang and rang, no one answered and there was no telephone answering message. I thought they might be starting at 9.30 so I range again – still no answer. I did think this was strange as usually when he has been away on holiday he has answered the phone via his mobile and has advised from there. This time there was nothing.

I tried again just after lunchtime and again around 4.00 pm. I wondered if perhaps he was having a long weekend off. I even checked that I was ringing the correct number.

I tried again the following morning, at 9.00 and 11.00.

The worse part for me was the not knowing. Had there been a message to say how long the surgery was going to be closed for I could have then made a decision to either wait and see him or to seek treatment elsewhere.

As I needed an urgent appointment I telephoned another practice locally and was luckily enough to get an appointment that same afternoon.

Just as well I did as I was told that had I left it any later I would have probably lost the tooth.

I have been with my dentist for over 9 years. No reason to change to be honest, I am not fond of the dentist at the best of times, but he always seemed to be good enough.

I actually found the new dentist to be extremely pleasant, she made me feel very much as ease. The surgery surroundings were very relaxed and the Receptionist was lovely, she chatted away.  I felt far more relaxed when I went in to see the Dentist and she talked me through what she was going to do. The surgery was also much closer to home and there was free parking where I used to have to pay for parking at my other dentist and to add to it all the new dentist’s overall charges were considerably a lot cheaper than my regular dentist.

Taking everything into consideration I have decided to move to the new Dentist, it suits my needs much more, but I didn’t realise that until I was forced to visit the new surgery.

Had my old dentist had a telephone message advising how long the surgery would be closed for I would probably still be going there now.

So, it is vital that you have a good telephone message set up on your phones. Ensure that the message is appropriate and you might have to change a message if you have the following:

  • Morning opening times that differ
  • if you close for lunch – state what time you open again at and leave any emergency numbers as appropriate.
  • Evening closing times differ – again leave any emergency numbers
  • Friday night – leave messages appropriate for weekend closing and again leave any emergency numbers
  • If there is a bank holiday, please ensure that this is mention in the last message before the holiday.

Get someone who has a good clear voice to record the messages. It is essential that they speak slowly and clearly and repeat any emergency telephone numbers twice.

Get someone to check the messages regularly to make sure they are the correct ones.

If you do not want anyone leaving messages add this to your message and make it clear that the service does not accept telephone messages. If you don’t people will use it as a message machine.

There is nothing worse that getting a telephone answering message that is out of date or wrong!

Having the correct telephone message on your answer phone is important. You could lose customers if it’s not.

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved
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Does your Receptionist recognise signs of Sepsis. A Patients Story #Bournemouth Hospital


There has been a lot of publicity recently regarding Sepsis. This is aimed at raising awareness and those that work in the GP surgeries and Hospitals will know on too well that this will create fear amongst some patients and therefore will be more than likely phoning the Surgery/Hospital for advice.

We are being told Sepis should be treated urgently as we would a heart attack.

For all Receptionists, Secretaries and Administrators who could be faced with a query regarding this are you fully competent to deal with it? Would you be confident in dealing with a call that could be Sepsis? I must confess I am not sure I would be able to identify this emergency a few weeks ago, but I feel a lot more confident now that I have read up on it.

You probably have procedures and policies in place for dealing with a heart attack. Have you a procedure or policies in place to deal with sepsis? Perhaps at your next team meeting you could put this on your agenda or speak to your Reception Manager or Practice Manager about having one written up.

The most important thing is that you know the facts about Sepis and what is expected from you as a Receptionist if you take such a call. Don’t be one of those surgeries/hospitals that could be highlighted as missing something that might be so obvious to someone who knows what Sepsis is.

Many doctors view Sepsis as a three-stage syndrome, starting with Sepsis and progressing through severe Sepsis to septic shock. The goal is to treat Sepis during its early stage, before it becomes more dangerous.

Sepsis usually comes with a probable or confirmed infection and includes several symptoms. These perhaps can be discussed with a Doctor and the Receptionists and a guide of what questions to ask the patient.

Septis has to be treated quickly as the patient can go downhill very quickly

A chart that I found very useful to help identify some of the symptoms:sepsisqa-2015-big

A very interesting clip from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital highlighted a patients experience and how his Sepsis was nearly missed. They are keen to spread awareness. Well done Bournemouth Hospital for sharing this short film.

Published on July 13 2016. 

Sepsis is a medical emergency, here at RBCH we are keen to spread  awarness and listen to patients experiences to improve care. 

 

Every Surgery Should Have One 


This appeared on my Facebook page today – shared by a lovely friend and Doctors Receptionist.

This notice is displayed at the Royal Arsenal Medical Centre – well done to them.

I totally agree that every Doctors Surgery shoul have one of these notices displayed in their waiting room.

New Year, New Beginnings


Happy New Year.

January is usually a bit flat after Christmas, but not for me this year.

I had a great weekend, stayed with a good fiend whist facilitating a great training session in London. The team was fantastic made me feel so very welcome and interacted so well. Just love my job when I see results like I did this weekend. I hope that I continue to have great training sessions throughout this year.

We are also eagerly waiting the arrival of a baby boy to the family. He is determined to keep us waiting as his due date is today and is showing no signs of arriving any times soon. But like all babies he will arrive all in his own good time.

This baby is certainly a much wanted baby as his mummy and daddy have waited 6 long years for him, going through a failed IVF last year before falling naturally the month after.

I never realised the hard long hard struggle IVF was on a couple – each successful stage in the IVF a victory and a goal nearer to the next stage. 3 long months of injections, hormones going through the roof, sickness and anticipation. Hearing friends on a IVF group being unsuccessful only adding to the worry.

She went through every stage with flying colours, lots of healthy embryos collected and one successfully put back in. All they had to get through was the next week, a week to see if they had a positive pregnancy result. Why wouldn’t they? After all she had got through every stage with great results. Then the dreaded bleed came. People tried to reassure her that this can happen in pregnancy, but sadly it wasn’t to be – the IVF had failed. They were another IVF statistic.

They were devastated as you can imagine. They were told that they would have to wait 3 long months until they could have their 2nd round of IVF – an eternity to them.

They booked a holiday to try to get over the disappointment whilst knowing what they were going to face in round 2.

Then 4 weeks 6 weeks later – the unbelievable happened – they found out they were pregnant – naturally.

They are one of the “lucky ones” albeit they waited 6 years, some of their friends have been waiting a lot longer, and more have gone through several unsuccessful cycles of IVF

Our new mummy suffered really bad morning sickness, and several bouts of urine infections all of what was a worry to them – the fear of losing the baby never left their minds.

Sadly she has at times found her Doctors Receptionists really unhelpful when asking for advice. Appointments days away, and misunderstandings resulted is urine infections waiting all weekend before being treated.

Whilst no one should expect “special treatment” it is always good to remember the road that these people go down when facing fertility treatment is a long and hard one – sometimes they just need a bit of empathy.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

The Unsung Heroes’ of the NHS #Porters


I came across this short film featuring porters from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Dorset.

The 12 minute piece, entitled Porters, tells the story of those who work in the what some deem to be one of the most unnoticed sectors of the NHS, but their role is more than just transferring patients from A to B.

I recall chatting to a cleaner once and I asked her opinion on something. She was surprised that I had asked such question and she confessed that she felt her role as a cleaner didn’t matter and in her words she said “I am only a cleaner, I don’t really count”

Everyone counts, from the cleaners to the CEO’s and everyone has the right to respect and recognition for the job that they do.

After all, if a hospital or a Surgery was never cleaned to a suitable standard then that establishment could risk being shut down.

The NHS has many unsung heroes’ that need recognition and thanks for the “unnoticed work” that they do.

As a Manager or Departmental Head it is important that you make everyone in the team feel valued.

Warning” the film contains occasional swearing.

I hope you enjoy the clip

Royal Bournemouth Porters #unsungHeroes

 

 

 

 

 

My Experiences with Dr’s Receptionists in Dubai #GuestPost #2/2


I would like to share the second post from a friend. The first post was her experiences with the healthcare system when she was living in South Africa.

She had now moved to Dubai and shares her experiences with the healthcare system there, and how helpful she finds the Receptionist.

Thank you for sharing your experiences……………….

images

Visiting the Doctor in Dubai

A new medical aid scheme this time, it works differently, some treatments I pay for in advance, some I must have a referral letter for, some is covered under the scheme and some is only part refunded.

Armed with every question I thought I needed to know, I started calling round Doctors surgeries after 6 months. I’d put of registering with a doctors and the dentists because of the stress of sorting out the medical aid in South Africa. However I was in chronic pain with what turned out to be a slipped disc and I need to see a doctor a.s.a.p.

I asked all the questions I thought I needed to of the receptionist, told her I was new to this country and this medical scheme, made an appointment, saw the doctor and was presented with a bill for AED 100 excess. Medication was easy, I took the prescription to the chemist, gave them my medical aid card, it was all paid for. I had a referral letter for the physio. I spoke to the receptionist on accounts that told me I had to phone my medical aid company, gain permission, and find out what they were willing to pay.

I ended up at the physio not knowing how much medical aid would pay because I could not get the receptionist to tell me how much the physio charged until I had an appointment. I went regardless, sometimes when you’re in that much pain then money isn’t the main issue.

On arrival at the phsyio I was in tears from the walking, the heat and the stress. The receptionist realized I couldn’t sit and cleared a counter for me to lean on, gave me a coffee and asked me where I was from and how long I’d lived here. She asked me if I needed any further assistance so I asked about the medical aid and all was explained to me. I pay AED 350 after each session and I receive AED 329 reimbursement. She gave me an invoice that was signed and dated and a claim form. Simple or so I thought.

I actually called her today to tell her my medical aid company wants a separate claim form for each visit and yet another referral letter, this time from the physio and not the doctor.

My next appointment is on Monday, the receptionist informed me she’d get everything filled out, dated and signed and scanned onto a memory stick so I can email the claim directly.

I would turn for help and guidance to the receptionist at the doctors surgery every time from now on, they are dealing with things like this every day and know what they are doing.

I know a lot of people complain about receptionist when asked what the matter is prior to making an appointment, but that is so the receptionist can make the right length of appointment with the right person. When you pay for your health care, you really can’t afford to be booked in with the doctor when you could’ve gone straight to the physio or nurse.

************************

Her first post on South Africa isMy Experience with Dr’s Receptionists in South Africa #Guest Post #1 https://beyondthereceptiondesk.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/my-experience-with-drs-receptionists-in-south-africa-guest-post-1

Handling Difficult Patients #Guest Post #PracticeIndex


I would like to thank Practice Index for letting me share their post on ‘Handling Difficult Patients’. Practice Index is a support site for GP practice managers and surgery staff. Their popular online discussion forum allows you to ask questions and gain advice and guidance on any surgery issues from the community of NHS professionals. They also have a resources library within the forum which contains hundreds of policies and protocols that you can use in your own practice. You can join the Practice Managers’ forum for free by clicking here: http://practiceindex.co.uk/gp/forum/register

Concept of relax with businessman doing yoga

April 28, 2015 by Practice Index in Patients

Handling Difficult Patients

Dealing with difficult patients at the reception desk and in the waiting room is, like it or not, part and parcel of your job as a Practice Manager. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate confident and compassionate handling of difficult patients, displaying techniques your team – especially newer recruits – can learn and gain self-assurance from.

Keep Calm

Aggressive patients are particularly likely to try and bully you into an argument, but your role here is to stay calm and unemotional. An emotional response from you – irritation, laughter or anger – will only fuel their attack and potentially cause a situation to escalate. In nursing as much as in the general practice, sensible steps to take would include the following:

–  Speak softly and abstain from being judgemental
–  Put a little more physical distance between yourself and the patient and avoid intense eye contact which could be seen as  provocative
–  Be in control of the situation without seeming either demanding or overly authoritative
–  Show your intention to rectify the situation rather than reprimanding the patient for their behaviour

Defy Logic

An angry patient won’t respond to logical arguments, so try to resist the temptation to reason with someone who is clearly in a terrible temper. It’s also important in situations like these to not resort to all-out grovelling if the practice is not at fault. Accepting responsibility is irreversible and could do the practice damage, as well as your own reputation. What you can do, however, is apologise for the particular inconvenience your patient is aggrieved by at this moment – and offer what immediate action you can (if any) to rectify the situation. Make a note of all complaints received, formal or informal – this includes patients storming out of hanging up on phone calls.

Rise Above It

Patients can be rude and downright insulting on a bad day, but try to refrain from letting them know what you think of them or how they’ve made you feel. Stay professionally detached and see this objectivity as your ‘protection zone’ from hurt. Ignore their rudeness and you may find that, with no visible impact, their insults start to die down. Equally, treating an angry adult like the adult they are – despite the toddlerish tantrum they’re throwing – should encourage them to gently return to adult form if you’re consistent enough with it. Patronising, belittling treatment will only inflame that childish rage.

We’ve all come up against it in our time and this just scratches the surface in coping tools for difficult patients. Why not share your best advice for diffusing tempers and managing quarrelsome individuals in the waiting room?