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
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
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 persons time is
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
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 patients eligibility for treatment? The easiest way
is to look at the persons 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
patients 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 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
Some clinics have online
computer terminals. Other clinics communicate with
the main computer by telephone. The DEERS
verification process is outlined in OPNAVINST
Types of Dental Care
There are several types of dental care including
routine, emergency, and elective.
eligibility will determine the type of treatment that can
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 commonly