Courtesy Calls

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A man speaking on a phone in a medical office

Low-risk patient concerns flagged

Dr. Jones opens her email inbox one morning and finds she received an email from the CPSO. The short note asks her to call one of the College’s advisors to discuss a non-urgent matter.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Jones phones the number provided. The polite woman on the other end thanks her for calling and explains a patient has called the College, unhappy with the length of time he waited in Dr. Jones’ waiting room before his appointment. The College advisor makes it clear this is not the launch of a formal complaint, but simply a courtesy call to flag the concern for the doctor.

The doctor acknowledges her schedule was thrown off the rails that day in order to accommodate a seriously ill patient who called earlier that morning. She realizes patients were left waiting an unacceptably long time.

After speaking with the physician, the College advisor contacts the patient to provide an update. He expresses satisfaction with the physician’s response and is happy to let the matter rest.

CPSO has made close to 500 such courtesy calls to physicians about low-risk, non-clinical matters since it began the practice in early 2019, with both patients and doctors appearing to appreciate the informal nature of the calls.

“Courtesy calls allow us to address concerns quickly and to the satisfaction of both the caller and physician ,” said Jill Weroski, Supervisor of the Public Advisory Service. Ms. Weroski said she has fielded calls from patients concerned about such issues as a rushed appointment, a tactless comment or a receptionist who isn’t wearing a mask properly.

She said the overwhelming majority of physicians have been gracious in her conversations with them. “They just appreciate that the concern is being flagged for them in a professional, but low key manner that allows them to rectify the issue.”

The courtesy calls are another example, said Ms. Weroski, of the College’s adoption of right-touch regulation.

Courtesy Call Statistics

81% of courtesy calls are about seven issues:

  • 134 about Medical Records
  • 90 about Inability to Contact Physician
  • 85 about Communication Issues
  • 25 about Third Party Reports
  • 19 about Fee Issues
  • 12 about Concerns about Office Staff
  • 12 about Office Practices

Time to Resolve
80% of courtesy calls are resolved within 14 days:

  • 135 in 0-2 days
  • 93 in 3-5 days
  • 70 in 6-8 days
  • 36 in 9-11 days
  • 33 in 12-14 days
  • 92 in >14 days