Ob-Gyn Coding Alert


3 Tips Clarify How Your Ob-Gyn Practice Should Communicate

Hint: Slow down and be clear

If you’ve ever wanted to be a better communicator in your practice, you are in luck. Recently at AAPC’s virtual ELEVATE Leadership Conference, during the session “A Practical Guide to Client Communications,” speaker Jaci Kipreos, CPC, CPMA, CDEO, CEMC, CRC, COC, CPCI, gave practical advice for how to hone your communication skills. For example, paying attention to your tone is key.

Follow these three tips to improve your communication skills.

Tip 1: First, Listen Well

“Listening is the key to success, and I can’t stress that enough. No matter who you’re speaking with, you have to listen first,” Kipreos said.

In your mind, you may know the things you want to say when talking about your personal business, representing a firm, or if you’re representing your company. But, before you jump in and start talking, start listening, Kipreos advised. Listen to who you’re talking to. Get a feel for how they sound and what they want.

“I’m a fairly good listener, but when I first started out with a lot of clients, I thought I needed to tell them right away what they needed.” Kipreos said. “As soon as they would say something, I felt like I had to jump in and let them know, ‘Oh, yeah. I know what you’re talking about.’ But I’ve learned to just stop, pause, breathe, and listen. Let them take it in. Let them pause. Maybe they have questions for me, and eventually it’s going to come around to be my turn to talk.”

Ask questions: Sometimes you may have a client who doesn’t want to talk right away, but you will have key questions to ask that will generate conversation, Kipreos explained. When they begin to answer, you must, listen, listen, listen. “It’s the most important thing.”

Tip 2: Convey Your Tone With Care

Tone is also important, Kipreos said.

Tone sets the pace and comfort of the communication and provides an opportunity to demonstrate that you care and are listening, she said. Plus, you always have the ability to change the tone of the conversation.

In setting the tone, you can approach a conversation so it feels relaxed or confident or conveys the assurance “I’m going to anticipate and meet your needs.” Tone is all the ways in which you communicate in an interaction, beyond words alone — a certain attitude or feeling.

“If someone is very excited and says, ‘Oh my gosh. I just got a letter from a payer, and they want money back.’ We need to set the tone such as ‘You’re going to be OK,’” Kipreos said. “You have that ability to talk to someone, to calm them down, or to get them to realize the importance of something.”

Kipreos added that your voice, facial expressions, and motions all convey messages to people and establish the tone for the conversation.

“If you start talking over top of somebody, if you start talking really fast, or if you get really excited, they’re going to feel it too, so you set the tone,” she added.

Tip 3: Timing is Key

Kipreos is an auditor and described how setting the tone — and focusing on listening, clarity, action, and resolves — can affect an interaction with a client once the audit is complete. In this instance, she focused on how tone, together with timing, can really demonstrate respect.

If the audit produced an exciting finding and she’s eager to tell them or has a lot of questions, she must slow herself down. “I really have to be quiet, slow it down, and be clear, because, if I get too wrapped up in all my questions, sometimes I’m not hearing the answers,” she said.

“Part of going through this listening, clarity, action, and resolves with my tone is remembering that, through all of this, I still should be listening to their responses, too — and making some nice comments, and thus, setting the pace.” she said.

“This is your opportunity to show that you care and you’re listening, so repeat things to make sure you’ve heard correctly,” she said.

Silence is golden: Don’t be afraid of silence, either, even if it feels awkward in a virtual meeting. For example, if you’re taking notes, but are worried it may appear like you aren’t paying attention, you can easily explain: “I’m writing notes right now, so I’m kind of quiet because I want to make sure I get all this” or “I’m going to send you an email that covers everything we’ve talked about, and I want to make sure I caught it correctly.” It’s OK to say “‘I didn’t quite understand that, can you step me through that a bit more?’ — that’s your tone of showing that you are listening, but you care enough to want to get it correct,” she explained.

Other Articles in this issue of

Ob-Gyn Coding Alert

View All