Imagine being in a room surrounded by phones that ring 332 times between 8 am and 5 pm or almost 41 times an hour. The eight women of our Patient Access department take the front lines of our phones every day, answering calls for established and new patients, and the operator.
They navigate between two different scheduling and electronic medical systems; make, reschedule or cancel appointments; verify correct demographic and insurance information; and check out patients after their appointments, all with a headset, a ringing phone, and a smile. With so many phone calls and so many patients, there is little quiet time to rest their ears.
As I asked them about the best parts of their job, the ladies had a pretty common consensus. Their favorite part of their job are happy patients and being able to get them onto doctor’s schedules. With doctors being booked out, sometimes getting patients scheduled can be difficult but these women know how to work some magic.
Another common answer was learning the new tricks in the various facets of their department; learning to navigate around our systems faster, getting to know the physicians, and learning the rules of appointment scheduling. The hardest part of their job is the many rules of insurances. With so many insurances and so many different injuries, knowing how the insurances must be dealt with can be a real struggle.
When the team is not in the room of eternal ringing, they take full advantage of their free time. They enjoy painting, piano, cooking, Seattle sports, being outdoors, spending time with family and lots of coffee. And judging by the amount of mugs and thermoses in the department room, staying caffeinated is a full time sport.
There are many strengths among the department team and they can be noticed without asking. While waiting for a moment of their time, I noticed how willingly they help each other and more importantly, how comfortable they are asking each other for help. Leslie, their lead, told me that one of their strengths is their ability to take a wide variety of different phone calls. They take phone calls for more than just scheduling appointments. They triage phone calls from other medical facilities, insurance offices, and law offices and transfer the calls to the correct people within the clinic.
Thank you so much for all the hard work and dedication you bring to Puget Sound Orthopaedics!