Frequently Asked Questions

Can I leave messages for a patient at his or her workplace?


It is acceptable to call a patient at work and leave a message, but only if you have the patient’s permission. You should leave only your name and the office number. Patients should be made aware that phone messages at work may not be confidential. If the patient wants more detailed messages left at work, get permission in writing and clarify how much information to reveal in the messages. The amount of information to be left should be documented in the medical record.

In situations where a patient has requested that the physician communicate with him/her by alternative means or at an alternative location, the physician must accommodate that request, if reasonable. For example, HIPAA considers a request to receive mail from the physician at a post office box rather than at home, or to receive calls at the office rather than at home as reasonable requests, absent extenuating circumstances.

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