As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true when it comes to your medical practice.
Your front office maintains patient flow, handles accounting, schedules appointments, verifies insurance, answers the phone, and much more. Most importantly, these are the first faces your patients will see during every visit. Maintaining a top-notch front staff roster is vital in keeping an office running smoothly, patients happy, and driving revenue. Below are eight tips that will set up your front office for success.
Being professional goes beyond greeting people as they walk through the door. Train your office staff to be courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful upon initial contact with patients. A positive and helpful attitude can go far when dealing with sick or frustrated people. Ensure your staff is aware of all office expectations and priorities.
The front office should be willing to go that extra mile for every patient, whether it’s by phone, email, or in person. In addition to a professional attitude, maintaining an acceptable appearance and clean waiting room will make a significant impact. Implementing these habits will drive your practice and make sure that your office stands out among many other choices.
Enable online scheduling.
There is no better way to set your front office up for success than by lightening their workload. One way to help your front office staff is by implementing an on-demand, 24/7 online portal with scheduling functionality. Here’s how a simple “Book an Appointment” button can streamline operations for your front desk:
- Your administrative team, no longer picking up phone calls every minute of the day, can focus on the task at hand and help patients who are physically in the office.
- Your patients who do need to call the practice to ask essential questions enjoy little to no hold time because the phones are not ringing off the hook with appointment requests.
- Your front desk staff needn’t worry about scheduling errors or playing phone tag with appointment-seeking patients who call after hours or during lunch.
As a bonus, you’ll likely find you attract new, young patients with this feature. As we all become busier and more tech-savvy, the less our younger generation wants to talk on the phone. They’ll feel confident booking their online appointments without having to say a word. Online scheduling is not something to put on your wish list for next year. Implement it ASAP!
Modernize your paperwork process.
Another way to lessen your administration’s workload is by modernizing the paperwork process. How much paperwork does a new patient complete before his first visit with you? If you’re giving out a book to your newest patients, then why not let them do that work at home?
Put those forms online or email them out to new patients in advance. Even if only half your patients take the time to complete these ahead of time, you’ll still shave minutes off every one of those visits. Your time is valuable, and so is your patients’.
Make sure that your front office is consistent. Whether it’s with patients, physicians, or other employees, continuity is critical. Develop a script for frequently asked questions within your office. This helps keep things moving smoothly and ensures people are receiving quality and consistent answers.
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When you have a busy medical practice, it is easy to overlook important issues. While checklists may seem old-fashioned, they must be applied and followed. For your staff to stay on top of their responsibilities, develop a daily list that includes details of required tasks to avoid misinterpretation.
This will ensure there is a balanced workload for each staff member and will increase productivity.
Front office staff needs to be in constant communication with each other as well as the medical staff. Communication among the practice reduces errors, completes tasks, and handles potential conflicts before they arise.
In addition, your team needs to be in constant communication with their patients. This helps reduce the number of no-shows, canceled appointments, and grievances.
Cross-train your employees.
Cross-training is challenging because it requires an initial investment, and, well, there’s a learning curve. But if your best front desk administrator calls out sick, or quits you’re going to want a well-trained employee to be able to fill those shoes quickly. And unfortunately, that’s going to require a little work.
While the process may seem daunting, inefficient, and expensive at first, it’s likely well worth it. Try to get as much training in as possible during slow times at the office.
Implement financial policies.
Your front office must be well-informed about the practice’s financial policies in order to explain them clearly to patients. All front office staff members should address financing options when patients call to make appointments and first visits.
Doing this ahead of time prevents confusion and assists in keeping the office flowing smoothly.
To keep your patients happy and returning, the front office is key to your practice’s success. The front office is the “face” of your practice, and it is crucial that the employees are well-trained, knowledgeable, and happy.
Train your front desk to cultivate healthy habits and have useful strategies to prepare them for these situations. Ensure the patients get the most from their experience from the minute they walk through the door, including a knowledgeable, organized, and smiling front office staff.
Patient loyalty is built on first impressions, so by having a successful front office, you’ll achieve a successful medical practice!
Tags: front desk staff, front office, medical office management, medical offices, national organization of rheumatology managers, NORM, office management Posted by