Other than face-to-face conversation, the telephone is the most frequent means of personal communication.
In fact, it is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the clinic. All elements of desired human relations already covered apply to telephone conversation; however, since the person to whom you speak on the telephone cannot see you, this can lead to certain difficulties. Here are some general principles to remember that will be helpful in overcoming or preventing these difficulties:
When you speak on the telephone, you are representing the dental treatment facility (DTF). The opinion the patient has of the entire medical facility may often depend on this first telephone contact.
Use a sincere, pleasant, easy-to-understand voice. Since the person on the other end cannot see you smile, put a smile in your voice. Develop this habit to the point that you do it unconsciously.
Answer promptly. A good rule is try to answer by the third ring.
Be clear, concise, and accurate. Double check all specific information given or taken on the telephone. If you make the call, plan what you will say ahead of time. The other person's time is also valuable.
State your name, rank, and duty station, such as: "Naval Dental Clinic, Pensacola, DT3 Frost, May I help you?"
Know the local policies. Most clinics have certain limitations as to the information that can be given over the telephone. Be sure you know the policies and have all the necessary information at your finger tips, especially information about appointments.
Never diagnose on the telephone. Diagnosis is not your function. The patient, however, does not know your qualifications; if the information required by the caller is out of your area of responsibility, contact the proper authority or set up an appropriate appointment in accordance with local policies.
Never prescribe on the telephone (e.g., just take four aspirins and come to sick call). Obtain accurate information if the dentist is busy, and decide whether the nature of the call is administrative or professional.
Record calls. If the telephone message is for someone who is not available at the time, or if it requires information that needs further investigation, be certain that the information is accurately recorded. A convenient form (SF 63, Memorandum of Call) is available for this purpose.
Who is authorized dental care? If a person in civilian clothes came to your clinic requesting treatment, what would you do? How would you decide the patient's eligibility for treatment? The easiest way is to look at the person"s identification card. It will tell you whether the person is active duty, guard, reserve, family member, retired, or civilian, and if the card has expired. All of these categories of patients are authorized some type of treatment. To decide a patient's treatment eligibility, you must verify the eligibility through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and know the types of dental care available and priority care authorized. Verification of the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) DEERS is a computer-based enrollment and eligibility verification system. It assists with elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse by unauthorized personnel seeking health care. Normally the reception desk is responsible for DEERS verification. Some clinics have online
computer terminals. Other clinics communicate with the main computer by telephone. The DEERS verification process is outlined in OPNAVINST 1750.2.
There are several types of dental care including routine, emergency, and elective. The person's eligibility will determine the type of treatment that can be provided.
ROUTINE DENTAL CARE. - This treatment includes all the medical, surgical, and restorative treatment of oral disease, injuries, and deficiencies that come within the field of dentistry as commonlyContinue Reading