33

In my office my boss is the Dr. and the manager. He is very particular about what I say to the patients, especially over the phone.

He has had me write lines in the past. He now wants to have a weekly meeting with me to go over what to say to people over the phone, is this normal?

  • 3
    How long have you been working there? What sort of role or job do you have in that company (clinic/hospital?)? – DarkCygnus Feb 27 at 21:37
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    I find this to be perfectly acceptable. The business has a specific way of communicating with it's customers/patients. If you're not communicating in the way that they want you to, then it does seem appropriate to have regular meetings with you to make sure that you're staying "on message". – joeqwerty Feb 27 at 22:40
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    By 'write lines' do you mean the punishment schools use where you write a phrase over and over? – dwjohnston Feb 28 at 2:55
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    In Japan it would be strange not to be given that kind of training/instructions. – MPS Feb 28 at 4:37
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    In some countries, giving out some types of medical information over the phone is simply illegal, since there is no way to verify the identity of the caller and thus protect medical confidentiality. – alephzero Feb 28 at 14:45
97

Depending on the laws in your area, a misstatement could result in liability on the doctor.

Having a script to go by is not unusual, as some information may need to be restricted, or not disclosed for legal, or insurance reasons.

Again, this varies. If the laws regarding medical information in your locale are NOT strict, then this is micromanaging, but still, his circus, his monkeys as they say.

He's not the boss because he's right, he's right because he's the boss.

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    More importantly, a misstatement could lead to patient harm or even death. Regardless of laws, all doctors have a sworn duty to protect the health of their patients. – user71659 Feb 28 at 7:47
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    +1 for the last line (although the rest of the answer is good too :) ). – Salmononius2 Feb 28 at 14:53
  • And in addition the doctor could well have heard from patients that inappropriate things were said, and be reacting to that – user90842 Feb 28 at 20:48
24

The doctor is usually directly responsible for the surgery/clinic/service. This extends to all patient interactions with the service including letters received and phone interactions.

As Richard U mentions this means that they may be liable for errors. Even if they aren't directly liable, doctors are trained to take pride in their patient care and to be highly concious of soft aspects of patient care such as environment and communication. They are also highly trained in ethics.

Putting this all together gives you someone with very high standards/expectations and who probably feel that the entire service is reflective of them personally. Hence, if you make even a small error they are likely to feel that it reflects poorly on them. This is kind of the point of this part of their training... it encourages them to fix any and all problems.

The best thing you can do is to try to listen and make any and all changes that they suggest. You should make the changes because they will almost certainly be aimed at improving patient care.

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    Good patient communication is hard. It is normal to make some mistakes. – P. Hopkinson Feb 27 at 22:18
  • I'd even generalise it to "Good communication is hard". It's not restricted to patients. – VLAZ Feb 28 at 13:27
5

This is normal for customer service jobs. Call centers mandates their employees to read scripts and it's part of their performance review.

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    But do they force them to write lines if they go off-script? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Feb 28 at 8:42
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    @Mawg That question assumes the call center employee knows enough about the product to go off-script, and is fluent enough in English to be able to construct something approximating to a meaningful sentence. In my experience of dealing with call centers, neither of those assumptions is valid, so the question is hypothetical. – alephzero Feb 28 at 14:40
  • @Mawg the ones I had any professional contact with never required writing lines. They simply recorded calls on the server as audio files for future review. – Mołot Feb 28 at 20:04

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