Tips for Handling Difficult Patient Calls

Training your medical office staff to handle difficult patient telephone calls effectively is good business. The receipt of an angry phone call can disturb the flow of office routine and seriously erode your staff’s morale. As noted in our previous post, countering angry or aggressive patients with courtesy, comfort and an effort to resolve their problems as quickly as possible demonstrates your staff’s professionalism and commitment to your patients’ well being.

Use these tips to counter angry or aggressive callers:

  • Never place a caller on hold without first asking if you may do so, explaining the reason you are doing so and providing a realistic estimate of the time until your return. Placing callers on hold can add to their frustration and escalate their fears or anger.
  • Make every effort to return to the call as quickly as possible. If you have placed the caller on hold to notify a nurse, redirect the call to the billing department or ask the office manager for advice and it is taking you longer than anticipated to get the information you require to help the patient, reconnect with the patient to give them an update on your progress. Lonely moments spent wondering whether or not they are going to receive the help they want only escalates patients’ feelings of frustration, anger or panic.

Utilizing a live operator medical answering service provides the human connection patients expect when they call their doctor and can help mitigate patient frustration and annoyance. Visit our website for more information on the benefits a professional live operator medical answering service offers your medical practice.