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Vet Clinic Policy

friend2animals
February 13th, 2010, 11:11 AM
Should Vet Clinic receptionists have full access to patient records? If so, why? If not, why?

TacoGrl
February 13th, 2010, 07:44 PM
I don't know the details of why you would be asking and putting receptionists down like that (perhaps I am misreading you), however, people who work with sensitive material usually sign a confidentiality agreement upon employment...most vet clinics are small and everyone does several jobs...if there is an issue with a particular employee, perhaps take it up with the vet. :shrug:

growler~GateKeeper
February 14th, 2010, 01:06 AM
When giving updates on the animals condition after appointments, surgeries etc it is the receptionist who is making the notes regarding the animal and asking pertinent questions to get a full picture health-wise to pass along to the vet, this way the vet can quickly see how the patient is doing & decide on further treatments.

If you called in to your clinic with a question regarding a medication that was given or something the vet mentioned & now you can't remember what it was, all of that is written in the file to which the receptionist can quickly inform you, if the vet had to personally answer every question from every client they wouldn't have much time left for appointments or surgeries.

As TacoGrl mentions if you have an issue with a particular employee, it is best to have it brought to the attention of the vet or office manager.

Macomom
February 14th, 2010, 07:19 AM
Additionally at my clinic, the receptionist takes payments and helps to make payment arrangements- he/she would need full access to the confidential financial in order to complete this process.

friend2animals, does the receptionist at your clinic have more/less responsibilities? Perhaps I don't understand the role of this person.

Jim Hall
February 14th, 2010, 10:02 AM
lol define receptionist i never saw a clinic where they had just a recptionist
everyone usually doing at least 2 jobs
i am a firm believer in the more info shared the better
and as i prev post if you have an concern with a particular individual you should talk to the vet about it

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 10:12 AM
All records are computerized at our clinic ~ it's all there on the screen for anyone to read. There are no "receptionists", just ("just" ~ ha!) Vet techs doing double-duty. But even if there was a receptionist, I don't get what the problem might be. :shrug:

ancientgirl
February 14th, 2010, 10:24 AM
At my clinic there are several girls who work at the desk. They aren't techs, but when they answer a call they have to ask questions about why you want to bring your pet in, and also I've been there when people have called about an emergency, so they do give some advice. I don't have a problem with them looking at my pets records. I know most of them are students and do have some knowledge of caring for animals.

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 10:29 AM
To those of you who apparently read this question in a dim light:

It was a straight forward question regarding policies. No where in this question, did I "put down" anyone. I find it curious that you would see it in this way - hmmm....

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 10:34 AM
Actually I read it that way as well Friends2animals. I think it's because you've put "receptionist" in italics. What's the problem btw?

Jim Hall
February 14th, 2010, 10:38 AM
ahh lol just curiosity lol its an intereting ? though and makes me wonder how for clinics go to check out anyone who works in the back office
THough i cant imagine how the B office having my pets info would adversly effect me.

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 10:51 AM
Should Vet Clinic receptionists have full access to patient records? If so, why? If not, why?

I worked as a receptionist for 5 years.
The answer is "yes".
In most clinics, the receptionist is the first and last line of communication with the client. They do the initial assessmenet (triage) of phone calls/requests for appointments, communicate information between vet-client/vet-tech/vet-pharmacist/vet-specialist etc. It's important to have all the pertinent information on hand for these discussions. It also saves a lot of time; if you call and want a presciption refill, for example, the receptionist can review the history, and quickly rule out things like "do you need an apointment first" etc. It keeps the vet free for more important work.
Receptionists are bound to confidentiality just as the medical professionals are.
I can't think of any reason not to give access to the files.
Receptionists aren't just live answering machines...there's a HUGE amount of knowledge required to do the job properly.

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 10:56 AM
In my experience, the larger clinics are run this way, whereas the smaller ones don't seem to be. And yes, sometimes vet techs do "double duty." It does make sense though, that even the reception staff should have duties beyond answering phones and message taking.

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 11:00 AM
Beyond appointment taking and asking the purpose for the appointment, the receptionist(s) or front desk office staff, has no other involvement.

So who prints out the itemized bill and who takes the money?

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 11:01 AM
I honestly have a hard time beleiving that the receptionist ONLY ever had conversations like "Skippy needs to get a booster shot? Fine, what day works for you?". Even to do that "simple" task, the file needs to be looked at to verify: when was the last time the pet was seen, what shots will be needed, was any other followup noted at the last appointment...all these things would influence the nature of and length of the appointment, and what prep might need to be done in advance (which would also be noted in the file or at the very least in the appointment schedule). You'd be surprised how often owners don't really understand WHY they're making an appointment or what it's for, of even if they really need one.
90% of the calls that come in to a clinic are more about questions (medication, do I need an appointment, refills, referrals, question for the vet etc.)...and the file would be absolutely essential for any of those things.
Unless the vet him/herself is answering every phone call, the front desk staff absolutely must have access to the file.

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 11:05 AM
I would think however, that to some extent, the receptionists would be required to have pet care knowledge...

Wow, really? :eek: You think? :rolleyes: Holy crow I don't think you have any idea what this job actually entails....

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 11:44 AM
Yeah... italics draw attention to it. That was my intent. I wanted to make sure that replies would be specific to my question - And they have been - thanks btw:thumbs up
No problem here, mummomumm.

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 11:47 AM
Yeah... italics draw attention to it. That was my intent. I wanted to make sure that replies would be specific to my question - And they have been - thanks btw:thumbs up
No problem here, mummomumm.

Gotcha! It's a curious thing to ask. I've never thought twice about it. I mean, I trust these people with my MASTERCARD :eek: for dawg's sake!

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 12:19 PM
"Gotcha?"

My question had nothing to do with payment options, or type of credit cards - not by a long shot.
Now, this comment is entirely irrelevant to the thread...



This thread has run it's course.

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 12:25 PM
"Gotcha?"

My question had nothing to do with payment options, or type of credit cards - not by a long shot.
Now, this comment is entirely irrelevant to the thread...



This thread has run it's course.

Gotcha = I understand.

My comment re: my credit card refers to my trust level in the security and confidentiality of the information I provide them / they have access to. As this seems to be at the heart of your question, it is indeed relevant.

As I said before, I find it's a curious thing to ask "just out of the blue" and based on the responses, obviously I'm not alone in that sentiment.

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM
My question had nothing to do with payment options, or type of credit cards - not by a long shot.

.

What DID your question have to do with? :confused: I'm still unclear why the question was being asked...

mummummum
February 14th, 2010, 12:40 PM
This thread has run it's course.

:laughing: Guess I've been told or will that be editted out too! :laughing:

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 12:41 PM
:laughing: Guess I've been told or will that be editted out too! :laughing:

:laughing:

14+kitties
February 14th, 2010, 01:10 PM
F2A - Has there been a breach at your vet office with the receptionist breaking confidentiality? If that is the case then please talk to your vet and make him/her aware of it. I think that may be what your original question was getting at.

Kay9
February 14th, 2010, 02:36 PM
So what if her thread conveyed a concern about a receptionist (albeit subtle)--maybe she has a good reason. Y'all don't have to get uptight about it.

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 03:07 PM
Sigh...
I posed a question that has confused people. This was not my intention.

The larger clinics have more staff, and sometimes there seems to have been confusion regarding diagnoses, since they have full access to the vet's records. Diagnosis that have caused me undue stress and worry. Diagnosis that belong to another pet and owner:confused: For me, it is a matter of talking to the appropriate person about my pet's condition. The more people involved, the more chance of a potential mix up - apparently.

As far as informing the vet about potential breaches, or any other sort of problem, is something I am actually very diligent about.

friend2animals
February 14th, 2010, 03:09 PM
Thank you Kay9:thumbs up

Frenchy
February 14th, 2010, 03:15 PM
Y'all don't have to get uptight about it.

uptight ? :confused:

they're just trying to understand the question that's all !

Love4himies
February 14th, 2010, 03:20 PM
Should Vet Clinic receptionists have full access to patient records? If so, why? If not, why?

Yes, as they are the ones pulling the files, getting the files if there is a phone inquiry, and recording the initial conversation on the files before the vet visit.

Love4himies
February 14th, 2010, 03:22 PM
Sigh...
I posed a question that has confused people. This was not my intention.

The larger clinics have more staff, and sometimes there seems to have been confusion regarding diagnoses, since they have full access to the vet's records. Diagnosis that have caused me undue stress and worry. Diagnosis that belong to another pet and owner:confused: For me, it is a matter of talking to the appropriate person about my pet's condition. The more people involved, the more chance of a potential mix up - apparently.

As far as informing the vet about potential breaches, or any other sort of problem, is something I am actually very diligent about.

Only your vet should be discussing your pet's condition with you.

bendyfoot
February 14th, 2010, 04:54 PM
I have to disagree there, L4H...many times a vet will ask either a Tech or a receptionist to relay information to a client...the level of detail in that information will depend on the situation. A tech would probably discuss a surgical procedure...a receptionist would relay information about, say a fecal test result and required medication.

Jim Hall
February 15th, 2010, 01:19 AM
Diagnosis that belong to another pet and owner For me, it is a matter of talking to the appropriate person about my pet's condition. The more people involved, the more chance of a potential mix up - apparently."
ouch well i would raise hell my selF

friend2animals
February 15th, 2010, 11:40 AM
:thumbs up Jim

Love4himies
February 15th, 2010, 12:10 PM
I have to disagree there, L4H...many times a vet will ask either a Tech or a receptionist to relay information to a client...the level of detail in that information will depend on the situation. A tech would probably discuss a surgical procedure...a receptionist would relay information about, say a fecal test result and required medication.

That has never happened with my vets. I have discussed pet health issues "in general", but all the vets I have ever had, diagnosis and specific health issue discussions have been only been with the vet.

Sib.HuskyMom
February 15th, 2010, 02:02 PM
That has never happened with my vets. I have discussed pet health issues "in general", but all the vets I have ever had, diagnosis and specific health issue discussions have been only been with the vet.

I suppose that every office is probably run a little differently. At the office I go to, the receptionists are also vet techs and are very helpful at giving information and answering questions.

For example, my old dog had congenital heart disease and was on several types of medication each day. Some had to be given with food, some on an empty stomach. Some once a day, some twice a day, etc. If I ever had any questions about the meds, I would call in and speak to the receptionist. She could look through my file, read the vet's notes, and re-confirm info for me. Of course if there was anything she was unsure of, she'd go talk to the vet and then either of them would get back to me.

On the other hand, when I call my insurance broker for a question, I wouldn't expect to hear advice from the receptionist :laughing:

I think the real issue here is the fact that an error was made by looking up the wrong file, which caused un-needed stress to the OP. In my opinion though, it simply comes down to human error. And as unfortunate as it was (and it should certainly be addressed with the vets office), it was probably a mistake that could have been made by anyone - a receptionist, a vet tech, or a veterinarian just having "one of those days".

I'm sorry for stress that this caused you F2A. I hope you were able to get it resolved.

friend2animals
February 16th, 2010, 09:12 AM
Yes, it was clarified - for the most part. Although, I think I should have received an apology...

friend2animals
February 16th, 2010, 09:14 AM
My experiences with vet clinics have been the same as L4H - until recently.

Macomom
February 16th, 2010, 09:15 AM
friend2animals, getting misinformation must have been very stressful. I hope that you did not mistakenly take action on it (like meds or something).

Once at my vets, I took home a vial of medication with a label for a cat on it.
I didn't realize it right away. I was really scared that someone had given the cat the dosage on the label intended for my dog- it was a painkiller, I think.
Anyway, I called back and the labels had been switched, but both owners got the right meds. It was straightened out, but scary stuff.

friend2animals
February 16th, 2010, 09:26 AM
No. Meds or any other type of treatment were not involved. It was just a very serious, fast moving and fatal condition that had been relayed to me about my pet.

This is sad news for the other pet and owner. I hope the owner of the afflicted pet did not receive my pet's information:eek::crazy:

Macomom
February 16th, 2010, 09:51 AM
How long was it until you found out they had given you the wrong info?

friend2animals
February 16th, 2010, 12:37 PM
I had to wait approximately 6 hours until I was able to speak with my vet directly. Needless to say, it was the longest 6 hours...


PS. The funny thing is, is that I had phoned the clinic earlier that day for something entirely unrelated, and received a call back (within 10 mins) from a different staffer than I had first spoken with - at which time I was informed of my pet's "diagnosis".
I suppose the important thing is that my pet does not have this condition.

Macomom
February 16th, 2010, 12:53 PM
friends2animals, I would personally be very upset as well. I am a complete crying mess when it comes to stuff like this, and 6 hours of turmoil must have been very upsetting.
I am glad for you that it was a misunderstanding, but I can only imagine how horrible those 6 hrs were :(

kathryn
February 16th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Maybe I can add my :2cents:

1. To answer the original question, yes. It's the same way in human doctors offices.. or hospitals or whatever. When you call to make an appointment at the dentist, who answers the phone? The receptionist. If you were to ask 'am I due for a checkup?' she wouldn't say hold on let me find the doctor so he can check your file.. no, she would pull up your file and say 'yep you are due for a checkup your last one was 15 months ago'

2. HIPPA Laws prevent human patient information. Whether these laws apply to animals is sketchy, but overall it's really mostly meant for people. It's up to the individual animal hospital to practice discrepancy in their own way.

3. In my PERSONAL experiences, as a volunteer with an animal shelter, I help out in the spay/neuter clinic. I essentially have unlimited access to patient records and often help file them, fill them out etc. It's not really a problem.. why would it be? So Mrs. Jones had Fido neutered today.. wow that's some really secretive information there.

4. As for your particular situation, your vets office policies regarding what happened clearly show they need a lesson in patient etiquette. Here is the deal- only a veterinarian can diagnose, prescribe or perform surgery. The rest is a grey area. I am allowed to do alot of things under the SUPERVISION of a veterinarian. I am allowed to vaccinate animals, even for rabies, as long as the vet is there with me. You are also allowed, as a tech, to perform dentals (pull or clean teeth), sedate animals, draw blood, euthanize etc etc. In some areas you need to have a degree or certificate for this, but not where I live.


So legally, if an animal comes and and the vet I am working with that day says.. hmm this animal has (insert medical condition here). I am legally allowed to call the animals owner and say 'the veterinarian says your dog has an umbilical hernia (common condition we see), would you like it repaired?'.


In private practice.. and heck even at the shelter, it is considered a professional courtesy for the veterinarian to personally call the animals owner to discuss test results or to give bad news. If some kind of terrible condition was discovered while the animal was being fixed it would be the vet or clinic manager calling.. surely not the receptionist.


Hopefully that clarifies a few things...