Idea Exchange: Triage your phone messages

Aug 01, 2006
By staff

Our busy four-doctor mixed-animal clinic developed this phone message template to help receptionists take more effective messages. At the top of the memo pad is a list of the doctors' initials, and the receptionist circles the initials of the doctor the note is for. Next, the receptionist fills in the client information—name, phone number, and pet name. The receptionist jots down a short message, notes the duration of the problem, and circles the animal's species. Then the receptionist initials the note in case the doctor needs more information. Lastly, the receptionist circles an abbreviation that indicates the message's priority (Emerg = emergency, ASAP = as soon as possible, WA = call when available, NC = nonclient). The message is then posted in the central treatment area, where it is checked regularly. This memo pad system has greatly improved communication among clients, receptionists, and doctors.

Dr. Elizabeth Kraft
Grants Pass, Ore.