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201410303

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100

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Telecommunications Confidentiality (102.029)

Telecommunications Confidentiality (102.029) - Policies, Clinical, UWMF Clinical, UWMF-wide, Clinical Policies and Procedures, Communication

102.029

1
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL FOUNDATION
CLINICAL PROTOCOL

TITLE: TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONFIDENTIALITY

Effective Date: February 2002 Approval: See Authorization
Supersedes Protocol Date: None Contact: Author

Reviewed October, 2003 April, 2005 February, 2008 January, 2011 March, 2012
January 2013

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines in order to protect patient confidentiality at the University
of Wisconsin Medical Foundation (UWMF) or Department of Family Medicine (DFM) clinics. This policy will
also provide direction to staff for timely, accurate patient contact that facilitates continuity of care as well as
complies with legal responsibilities.

DEFINITION:

Confidential telephone communication constitutes all telephone-related communiqués including but not limited
to phone messages to:
Confirm appointments
Changing appointments
Inquires about missed appointments
Leaving information concerning test results
Returning a call to a patient

POLICY:

This policy applies to all UWMF and DFM staff who may have patient interaction or who may be engaged with
telecommunications regarding a patient’s health care.


PROCEDURE:

1. The following will be the procedure when an employee is unable to reach a patient and may leave a message
on the patient's answering machine or with someone at the patient's home. Reminder staff should speak
clearly and slowly.

NOTE: All employees will check with their department manager/coordinator for specific department
directives regarding leaving messages on a patient’s answering machine.


A. Leaving a message to confirm an upcoming patient appointment:
Employee will leave his/her first name, credentials, company and site calling from and a return number he or
she can be reached.
Example: “This is Jennifer, from UW Health 202 S. Park St. I am calling at 9am on Monday, Jan 24th
to confirm an appointment for Sally Smith tomorrow at 3:00. If you are unable to keep this appointment
please call me at 555-5555 (repeat number), between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Thank you.” If there is
more than one person in your department with the same name, a last initial will be given.

2




B. Leaving a message to change an appointment:
Employee will leave his/her first name, credentials, company and site calling from and a return number he or
she can be reached.
Example: “This is Jennifer, from UW Health Sun Prairie. I am calling at 9am on Monday, Jan 24th to
see about changing an appointment time for Sally Smith, please call me at 555-5555 (repeat number),
between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Thank you.”
If there is more than one person in your department with the same name, a last initial will be provided.

C. Leaving a message to inquire about a missed appointment:
Employee will leave his/her first name, credentials, company and site calling from and a return number he or
she can be reached.
Example: “This is Jennifer from UW Health Oregon. I am calling at 9am on Monday, Jan 24th
regarding Sally Smith’s appointment. Please call me at 555-5555 (repeat number), between the hours of
8am and 5pm. Thank you.”
If there is more than one person in the same department with the same name, a last initial will be provided.

D. Leaving a message concerning test results:
Employee will leave his/her first name, credentials, company and site calling from and a return number he or
she can be reached.
Example: “This is Jennifer from UW Health 1 S. Park St. I am calling for Sally Smith at 9am on
Monday, Jan 24th. Please return my call at 555-5555 (repeat number), between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
Thank you.”
If there is more than one person in your department with the same name, a last initial will be provided.

E. When returning a call to a patient:
Employee will leave his/her name, credentials, company calling from and a return number he or she can be
reached.
Example: “This is Jennifer, from UW Health Middleton. I am calling for Sally Smith at 9am on
Monday, Jan 24th. Please return my call at 555-5555 (repeat number), between the hours of 8am and 5pm..
Thank you.”
If there is more than one person in your department with the same name, a last initial will be provided.

F. When leaving a message on an answering machine or at the patient’s home.
The employee WILL NOT:

A. Leave a specific department name that may in any way breach patient confidentiality. This does not
include the clinic name.

EXAMPLE: Jennifer calling from the OB/GYN department at 20 S. Park St

B. Leave a specific reason for the call that may in any way breach patient confidentiality.

EXAMPLES: using the terms lab results, missed appointments or test results.

C. Leave lab, test results or any specific information regarding medical information and/or advice on a
patient’s answering machine.


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FLOATS:
When it is necessary for a float covering in a department to leave a message, they will leave the first name of
the person responsible for receiving the return call when the float is not available.


WRITTEN BY:

Ronnie Peterson, RN, MS, Manager of Clinical Support
Sandy Schumacher, Health Information/Medical Records Director
Tammie Heimlich, Health Information/Medical Records Trainer
LaVay Morrison, RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator

REVISED BY:
LaVay Morrison, RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator

REVIEWED BY:
Diane Cook, Health Information Manager, UWMF

REFERENCE:
Administrative Medical Assisting 6th edition, 2008 By Marilyn T. Fordney, Linda L. French, Joan Johnson
Follis, Delmar Cengage Learning, pg 164-169.

AUTHORIZED BY: Richard Welnick, MD, Medical Director, Ambulatory Clinic Operations, UWMF
Sandra A. Kamnetz M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine


_______________________________________________________________________________
Medical Director, UWMF

________________________________________________________________________________
Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine