Cell Phone Etiquette In A Business, What Is Your Policy?

We have been thinking of putting up a sign in our office with cell phone restrictions for our patients while they are in the office.  Is this right or not?

Let me explain to you what happened today and maybe you can help me decide…I still have a hard time believing it happened.

I took a patient back to the treatment room to prepared them for the doctor.  Iwas doing an intake on the patient’s condition, I was in mid-sentence when the patient (who is around 75 years-old) cell phone went off in a loud musical tune.  I was trying to speak to the patient and get the information that the doctor would need and expected, while the patient was fishing in their pocket for the cell phone.

Once they retrieved it…they raised their hand to stop me from speaking and said into the phone…”hello….Robert…Robert….Robert who?…Oh yes…..”  I waited a minute to see if he would hang up the phone from Robert, whom he apparently did not know very well, but he did not hang up.

I needed to move on to other patients and told him quietly that the doctor would be in soon, but he really did not pay attention and just waved his hand for me to leave.  I was stunned to say the least.  What if the situation was turned around and I or the doctor would have answered our cell phone while they were trying to talk to us about their problem, they would have been livid to say the least.  I started thinking about the fact that it was not too long ago that we did not even have cell phones, what did we do then?  We waited until we got home to take care of our calls.

So tomorrow I think I will put up a sign in each treatment room saying “Please turn your cell phone to silent or vibrate while in the office and only answer it if it is an emergency, thank you.”  While this was not the first time this has happened in the office, it was a gentle reminder to me to remember to do the same when I am in other places of business.

What type of polices do you have in your place of business regarding cell phone use?




6 thoughts on “Cell Phone Etiquette In A Business, What Is Your Policy?

  1. I am neither for nor against the signs or a policy. As a patient, it would not bother me in the least to see that sign. However, I doubt that it will address your issue. I am fairly confident that this is someone that would have taken that call regardless of the sign or your policy. I think where you need to put some thought is what are you going to do if this happens after you put the policy out? Sorry, that I do not have the answer on this one, but I can certainly sympathize.

    • I appreciate your comment and we do not want to be hard-nosed with our patients because there are times when they may have to wait for the doctor in the treatment rooms and for many time is money. We want to make sure we handle this correctly, and if people would just use common courtesy we would not have to post anything at all. Have a great day MBN

  2. I think it would be appropriate to have a sign or signs to address this. One thought that comes to mind is that the waiting area and the treatment rooms might need to be handled differently. It sounded like you were just talking about the treatment rooms, but I just wanted to make this distinction. I could see some customers complaining if there were too many cell phone restrictions in the waiting area.

    In the treatment rooms, I actually believe this could be viewed as a patient safety issue. You need clear communication to make the right decisions with patients. And cell phones can interrupt the communication process which could potentially increase the chance of mistakes. Perhaps this could be included on the sign, so patients know that the policy is for their well-being?

    Though, I can see where MBN is coming from regarding what to do if somebody doesn’t follow the policy. Maybe there are some answers with how the movie theater industry handles this? I’m guessing they would handle the situation by asking the person to leave the movie theater and talk on their cell phone outside in the hall.

    • Thank you for the in put, our waiting area is small and people can just step out the door, but it is a different story in the treatment rooms and people tend to talk very loud when on their cell phones. Belive it or not we had a patient who was talking on their cell when the physician went in and she told him, “i will be done in a minute” Have a great day.

  3. My doctor’s office bans it. I agree with policy. Shame we need one but far too many disrespect privacy and space of others. Need to make a call – leave the office and speak outside. I’m squarely aligned with you.

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