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J Med Pract Manage. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(3):166-70.

Telephone techniques and etiquette: a medical practice staff training tool.

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The telephone is usually the first contact a prospective or new patient has with a medical practice. It is also the method that existing patients and others commonly use to ask questions or convey information. At the same time, a telephone that rings off the hook can be one of the biggest drains on staff time and a source of tremendous frustration. This article suggests practical techniques for managing the medical practice telephone. It provides seven never-fail strategies for saving time on the phone while remaining courteous and attentive to callers. It offers tips to help readers avoid getting caught in an endless game of telephone tag. The article highlights strategies that work particularly well when placing calls and when dealing with a busy signal or voicemail system problem in the practice. It also describes the fine points for taking accurate and complete telephone messages without turning off callers or misleading them. This article further explores practical strategies for using and not abusing the hold button and offers additional tips for telephone equipment and accessories readers may find helpful. Finally, this article suggests guidelines for using an answering machine or voicemail system and provides a 25-question quiz to help readers assess their own telephone technique.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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