Every day, you are in communication with doctor’s offices, obtaining clarification on prescription instructions, taking prescription orders to be filled for customers, and communicating issues with a prescribed medication. Sometimes, these communications are simple and flawless, but other times they can be difficult and strained. Here are a few simple tips that will help improve your communications with doctor’s offices and develop great working relationships.
Respect Each Other’s Time
In the medical field, everyone is busy and time is of the essence. It is no less frustrating for the physicians you work with to sit on hold, waiting to talk to you, than it is for you to wait on them. Understand that they are also pressed for time, and rather than leaving them on hold, offer to call back at a more convenient time. Similarly, when you call and they are busy, respect that and leave a message for a call back unless there is an emergency.
Be Respectful When Addressing Issues
When approaching a doctor’s office to point out a prescribing error or contraindication, consider your approach carefully. Chances are, it was simple a typo or oversight and should be treated as a human error that anyone can make. Don’t go in with an accusatory attitude and guns blazing. No one likes dealing with a “know it all”, but everyone appreciates a respectfully handled “good catch” that prevents a serious issue.
Honor Their Communication Wishes
Every doctor’s office has their own preferred method of communication. Some may prefer email, others fax, and a few still hang on to the iconic phone call. Remember that for most people, there is an efficiency issue involved in how they choose to communicate. It will make it easier on their end to deal with any messages coming through they way they expect and are set up to handle. For example, a doctor who requests an email might check those frequently throughout the day, where they only listen to phone messages at the end of the workday. Your answers will come a little more quickly if you follow their protocol.
Don’t Use Patients as a Middleman
This somewhat goes back to the way in which you address issues. Asking a patient to “tell your doctor to give you this medication next time” can undermine the authority and trust that they are trying to develop. Instead, if you have a concern or suggestion that is legitimate, take that straight to the doctor. They may have a reason unbeknownst to you or the patient for their decision or they might appreciate your suggestion. Either way, the patient shouldn’t be involved in that process.
Always Follow the “Golden Rule”
Just like your mother taught you, the most important thing in improving your communication with doctor’s offices is treating everyone there the way that you would like to be treated. Be kind, courteous, and professional at all times and you’ll find that you get the same in return. Just about any physician or their staff will appreciate that you go the extra mile to be kind and make things easier on them whenever possible and will try to do the same for you.