While I am a newbie blogger and erotica writing hobbyist at night, by day I am your average cubicle-dweller. I know: super exciting, right? I’ve been working for a call center at a local hospital for almost seven years now. Actually, I started with one of the call centers and moved to another. It’s been a very interesting ride. You’ll find that you learn a lot of stuff after such a long time. Not all of it is pretty, though. There are diagnoses you just don’t want to know about unless you absolutely have to.
I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in a call center. I’m sure some must think it is easy work, but it really isn’t. I find sick people (or the loved ones of sick people) can be temperamental. This isn’t surprising and is understandable in certain conditions. I mean, hey, if you’re dying, you’re going to be upset even if you’re the most even keeled person otherwise. Trust me, we agents get that. All we can do is be kind and help that person with getting in as smoothly as possible. It’s our job!
But some people make it hard. If you’re going to make an appointment, here are a few things that will make both yours and the agent’s experience a bit better.
1. Please do not call while you are driving. I am sorry, but there is nothing scarier to me than a mother calling in for an appointment while driving and her kids are in the back seat. I know you may not have a lot of time in your day to give a ring to a doctor’s office, but please set aside some time outside of the car. A.) Most of the time, if it’s on speaker phone, we can only hear every other word. Otherwise we just hear the rushing of the street. B.) We have to have give you information you may need to write down. C.) We’re going to need information from you i.e. your insurance information. You reading your card numbers while you’re driving scares the crap out of us! D.) Most importantly, we want you to be safe! We have to throw a lot of information at you and we’ll need some in return. Other people on the roads are crazy and we don’t want to be the cause of your accident.
2. Please have all of your information ready when you call. With technology advancing the way it is, as you imagine, we can get a good deal verified before you come in for a visit. As a matter of fact, some of the verification has to happen before we can make your appointment–particularly your insurance. Hospitals want to be paid (probably too much, but that’s another story for another day) and they want to know if they’re going to get paid upfront.
3. Know what insurance you have and what they’ll cover for you. This is more of a general thing than just in the realm of scheduling. I know a lot of people don’t regularly go to the doctor and will only head in if they’re sick, but it’s a very good idea to know your insurance policy. Think of it this way: you’re kicking out a lot of money a month for this product, shouldn’t you know what you’re spending your dollars on?
4. Speak to a Primary Care Provider before calling a specialty office. Some insurances don’t need referrals to see a specialist, which is rockin’. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a PCP to speak to first. A.) A PCP can get you in a lot faster than a specialty office most of the time. B.) There are some things a PCP can resolve for you like a UTI or an ear infection. No need for a specialty visit. Hell, a lot of times you can just go to an urgent care center for those things…In, out, on with life. C.) They can tell you what you need to come in for. We can go by symptoms, but to get you the most optimal care, it’s best to have a diagnosis of some sort.
5. Please take a moment to listen to the entire phone message before making a selection. Being transferred around can be frustrating on both ends.
6. Please have your adult child call in his or her own appointments. You may feel as though you’re helping him/her out, but it’s actually against health privacy rules. Medical offices aren’t supposed to give you information on another adult except for in certain circumstances like mental illness. Check out the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HIPAA) site for more information.
7. Remember that the person on the other end of the line is human. Luckily, this isn’t always a problem. Sometimes, it’s kind of like the internet. You don’t see the person, so it’s not as easy to see them as real so you can treat them as a machine. This goes both ways, too, for both the patient/customer and call center agent. If you bully or antagonize someone, you’re going to hit a wall of resistance and then you’ll become even more frustrated/angry/upset.
These are the most common issues that crop up from time to time when it comes to appointment scheduling. If you want to get in smoothly, this is the way to go about it.