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Written Communications and Mail Processing. Chapter 13. Introduction. Written communications are a reflection of the physician and his or her office staff. All written communications should be professional, accurate, complete, and effective in getting across the intended message.

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Written Communications and Mail Processing


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Written Communications and Mail Processing Chapter 13

    2. Introduction Written communications are a reflection of the physician and his or her office staff. All written communications should be professional, accurate, complete, and effective in getting across the intended message.

    3. This chapter will examine: • Responsibilities of the medical assistant with regard to equipment and supplies • Common sizes of letterhead stationery • Parts of speech • References for the medical assistant’s library • Answering business correspondence • Value of communications portfolios • Letter styles and parts of a business letter

    4. Importance of Written Communications • Promotes a good impression of the physician and the office staff • Enhances the art of effective communication • Promotes better healthcare by providing accurate information about and to the patient

    5. Types of Written Communications • Letters • Memorandums • Orders for supplies • Email • Facsimiles • Medical records • Instructions for patients

    6. Writing Skills and Composing Tips for Business Letters • Keep the length to about one page. • Carefully organize the letter. • Read the letter several times to determine what needs to be addressed in the answer. • Highlight questions asked or materials requested. • Decide on answers to questions. • Verify information.

    7. More Writing Tips • Keep sentences short. • Put only one idea in each sentence. • Eliminate superfluous wording. • Use layman’s terms. • Match the physician’s degree of formality.

    8. Sentence Errors Three main errors in sentences: • Sentence fragment • Run-on sentence • Comma splice

    9. Letter Styles Four basic styles • Block • Modified block or standard • Modified block indented • Simplified

    10. Block Letter Style • All lines flush to the left margin • Very efficient • Less attractive

    11. Block Letter Style (cont’d)

    12. Modified Block Letter Style • Dateline, complimentary closing, and typewritten signature all begin at the center. • All other lines begin flush with the left margin.

    13. Modified Block Letter Style (cont’d)

    14. Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs • Identical to block except that the first line of each paragraph is indented five spaces.

    15. Modified Block with Indented Paragraphs (cont’d)

    16. Simplified • All lines flush with the left margin. • Salutation replaced with all-capital subject line on the third line below the subject line. • Omit the complimentary closing. • Enter an all-capital typewritten signature below the body of the letter.

    17. Simplified (cont’d)

    18. Spacing and Margins • Business letters are usually single-spaced. • First typed entry goes on the third line below the letterhead. • Typing on continuation pages begins 1 inch from the top. • Side margins 1 to 1½ inches on each side. • Minimum of 1-inch margin on the bottom.

    19. Parts of Letters • Heading • Opening • Body • Closing

    20. Heading • Includes letterhead and dateline. • Usually centered at the top of the page. • Includes the name of the physician or group and the address. • Usually includes the telephone number and medical specialties. • Dateline consists of the name of the month written in full, the day, and the year.

    21. Opening Consists of inside address, salutation, and the optional attention line. Inside address • Starts flush with left margin • Contains name and address of the person to whom the letter is addressed

    22. Opening • Use courtesy titles. • Follow names with academic degrees. • Do not use both a courtesy title and a degree that means the same thing. Incorrect: Dr. Rick Tips, M.D. Correct: Dr. Rick Tips Rick Tips, M.D.

    23. Opening Salutation • Introductory greeting • Flush with left margin • Second line below last line of address • Usually followed by a colon

    24. Opening Attention line • Optional • Flush with left margin • Second line below inside address

    25. Body • If used, subject line is placed on the second line below the salutation. • Includes message of the letter.

    26. Closing Includes: • Complimentary closing • Typed signature • Reference initials • Special notations

    27. Postscripts • Place emphasis on an idea or statement. • May express an afterthought. • Follow letter style when using postscripts.

    28. Continuation Pages Heading for continuation pages includes: • Name of the addressee • Page number • Date Headings begin on the seventh line from the top of the page.

    29. Physician usually signs: Letters with medical advice Letters to medical societies Referral and consultation reports Medical reports to insurance companies Personal letters Medical Assistant signs: Routine letters Orders for office supplies Notifications to patients about surgery or hospital arrangements Collection letters Letters of solicitation Signing the Letter

    30. More Types of Written Communications Telephone messages • Name of the person being called • Name of person calling • Caller’s contact telephone numbers • Reason for the call • Action to be taken • Date and time of call • Initials of person taking the call

    31. More Types of Written Communications • Email messages • Faxes • Memorandums

    32. Developing a Portfolio • Consists of sample letters that are used in various situations. • Letters can be added to the portfolio when created. • Store letters on the computer and make changes as necessary. • Saves time when composing correspondence.

    33. U.S. Postal Service • Independent establishment of the executive branch of the U.S. government • Operates independently of the government • Second oldest federally established department or agency in the United States

    34. Mail Processing Incoming mail usually includes: • General correspondence • Payments for services • Bills for office purchases • Insurance claim forms to be completed • Laboratory reports • Hospital reports • Medical society mailings • Professional journals • Promotional literature and advertising

    35. Opening the Mail • Follow office policy. • Do not open mail that is marked “personal.” • Use a methodic system to open and process mail efficiently.

    36. Annotating • Read each item of mail. • Underline significant words or phrases. • Note in the margin what action needs to be taken. • Code for filing if the letter needs no reply.

    37. Responding to Mail • Read through the annotations. • Draft a reply. • Review the original letter, and make certain that all issues have been addressed. • Allow the physician to review the reply, if necessary. • Make a copy for the appropriate file. • Send the correspondence.

    38. Mail Requiring Special Handling • Payment receipts • Insurance information • Drug samples • Vacation mail

    39. Handling Vacation Mail Determine: • Is this important enough that the physician should be contacted? • Should it be forwarded for immediate attention? • Should it be answered now, explaining the delay because the physician is out of the office? • Can the mail wait for attention until the physician returns?

    40. Outgoing Mail • Fold and insert letters correctly. • Address the envelopes accurately. • Follow OCR guidelines on envelopes. • Always use a return address.

    41. Cost-Saving Mailing Procedures • Use ZIP codes. • Presort mail. • Use correct postage. • Take advantage of bulk mail if possible. Bulk mail is a form of mailing large volumes of information which is presorted by zip code.

    42. Postage Meters • Most efficient way of stamping mail. Can print postage on adhesive strips or directly on the envelope. • Metered mail does not have to be canceled or postmarked, so it moves faster to its destination.

    43. Classifications of Mail Express Mail • Available 7 days a week, 365 days a year • Sunday and holiday delivery between major markets • For items up to 70 lb and 108 inches in combined length and girth • Fastest mail service offered by the USPS

    44. Classifications of Mail First-class mail • Letters, postal cards, postcards, and business reply mail. • 13 oz or less. • Current first-class mail rate is $0.41.

    45. Classifications of Mail Priority Mail • First-class mail over 13 oz. • Maximum weight 70 lb. • Always mark packages as priority mail if not placed in a box purchased from USPS.

    46. Classifications of Mail Bound printed matter • Advertising, promotional, directory, or editorial material • Must be securely bound • Cannot have the nature of personal correspondence • Cannot be over 15 lb

    47. Media mail Books Film Manuscripts Printed music Printed test materials Sound recordings Play scripts Printed educational charts Binders and loose-leaf papers Includes computer recorded media, such as CDs and diskettes. Media mail cannot contain advertising or weight over 70 lb. Classifications of Mail

    48. Special Services Insured mail • Insurance for coverage against loss or damages • Available for priority mail, first-class mail, parcel post

    49. Special Services Registered/Certified mail • Additional protection for all classes of mail. • Sender can request evidence/proof of delivery. • Registered mail can be traced. • Accounted for by number from time of mailing to time of delivery.

    50. Special Services Postal money orders • Convenient way of mailing money • Amounts up to $700