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Navigation of Digestive Disease Associates Phone System:


BY: Deb Sands, RN Director of Outpatient (Hospital) Services

Since its invention, the telephone has been an important tool in the medical practice, particularly for all physician offices.  Approximately half the phone calls made to a physician office during regular consulting hours are for clinical problems and most can be handled effectively over the phone without an immediate office visit.  Prior to today’s technological advancements, a physician’s office phone would be answered by a staff member, as most practices were 1 to 3 physicians and staff consisted of 4 to 6 personnel.  Now, the phone is answered by a ‘voice prompt message’, giving you multiple options to choose from, in order to get your questions or health concerns addressed. The question is: WHICH DO YOU CHOOSE?  The other scenario may be: a telephone operator answers the call and often expects you to know exactly with whom you need to speak!  Both scenarios are challenging.  It is frustrating to our patients, who are often desperate to get in contact with a live person for help with an acute illness, exacerbation of an existing condition, a medication refill, medication authorization, or an individual concern or issue with some specific suboptimal situation. 

As frustrating as it is, there are benefits to the technological phone/computer advancements seen in medicine today.  The changes in running a practice have become more difficult and challenging.  The model of the small specialist, or general medical practice, has become obsolete in 2015, and physician practices need to have their services available in multiple locations for timely and effective administration of medical care. Rest assured, we are dedicated to the needs of our patients, and it is for this reason Digestive Disease Associates covers care of our patients in multiple locations:

Outpatient Services:  office visits and procedures for ambulatory patients who are not hospitalized

  • Digestive Disease Associates Medical Office (Office visits)
  • Berks Center for Digestive Health (Endoscopy location)
  • Spring Ridge Surgical Center (Endoscopy location)
  • Reading Hospital Medical Center (Endoscopy location)
  • Penn State/Saint Joseph Medical Center (Endoscopy location)

Inpatient Services:  rounding on hospitalized patients and performing endoscopy procedures on a daily basis.

  • The Reading Hospital & Medical Center
  • Penn State/Saint Joseph Medical Center

The advancements of today's phone and computer technology allows your care and medical needs to be communicated to your primary provider in the outpatient setting, or the hospital systems in reference to hospitalized care. We, as your gastrointestinal health care providers, want you, our patients, to have a positive and fulfilling experience in addressing your medical, scheduling or financial concerns. The main purpose of this blog is to assist you in navigating our office phone system.  Below you will find a cheat sheet to help you understand the phone communication system for our different departments.  






Expected Response Time

Triage -  Ext. 132 & 144

Sick calls, medication refills, prep issues, medical concerns

15 minutes to 2 hours

Scheduling - Option 5 or direct dial (610) 685-4020

Schedule appointments, procedures, recall appointments

24-48 hours

Billing Queue - Option 4 or direct dial (610) 685-4016

Payment/Billing questions

Within 24 hours

Medical Records – Ext. 124

Medical record release to Insurance Co. or another provider

24-48 hours

Medication Authorizations – Ext. 238

Need medication prior authorization/re-authorization

By the end of same business day

ASAP Appt. Scheduler – Ext. 210

Appt. referral to DDA by doctor or emergency provider

Within 2 hours of message retrieval

Post Hospital Appt. TRHMC/SJMC – Ext. 135

Post hospitalization Appt. with DDA provider

Same day as message retrieval


We, at Digestive Disease Associates, are dedicated to our patients and their experience with our practice, from the first phone call to when you are walking out of the door!  We are here to address our patient's needs, concerns, and questions in an efficient, respectful, effective, and timely manner.  We want your experience with our practice to be positive, pleasant, and restorative in our pledge to your improved health.  This starts with your first experience when calling us!  You can be confident that we will handle your phone call with the utmost care to manage your needs.