Front desk staff are some of the most critical employees in your practice. For one thing, first impressions matter in every business, and your medical practice is no different. Your staff need to provide excellent customer service, make your patients feel comfortable and relaxed before their appointment, and show that your office is professional. However, besides assisting your patients who just came in or are leaving your office, and answering the phone, the front desk staff must be able to accomplish extremely important tasks, to ensure you get paid. These tasks include registering patients and obtaining accurate insurance information, verifying benefits, and inquiring about prior-authorization and referral, before the appointment can begin. They should be able to explain the possible financial obligation to the patients in a manner that is compassionate and friendly and won’t turn your patients away. Read below for our top recommendations for a successful front desk operation for your practice!
Greeting patients is a critical element of the patient experience and it has an effect on patient satisfaction levels. Training your front desk personnel in how to answer the phone, register patients and direct patients from place to place is essential. The last thing that you want is a bottleneck at the front desk and patients who feel like they are not being well taken care of!
Be sure to provide initial and on-going training that specifically addresses customer service skills, your office protocol and expectations, as well as HIPAA and compliance. If your staff are compassionate, knowledgeable, and show extra care, it will lead to happy and satisfied patients, who will stay with your practice and refer their friends and family.
Mastering the “Front Desk Tasks”
Front desk workers are often the ones responsible for managing doctors’ schedules, answering phones, registering patients, obtaining and verifying insurance and benefits, as well as explaining potential financial obligation to patients. These tasks, if not properly organized, can be overwhelming and done poorly, if in addition to it, staff are greeting patients. When errors occur, they can lead to billing problems, slow cash flow, frustrated patients, and extra work for everyone. To avoid these difficulties, it is extremely important that your staff are well trained and organized. Provide substantial training on the software for scheduling, registering, verifying eligibility and benefits, and figuring out financial responsibility. Make sure you develop the most efficient workflow, and if necessary, add additional staff to delegated tasks. Your front desk employees need to know in what order tasks should be done and what are the most imperative responsibilities and which ones can be accomplished later.
Meet regularly with your staff to understand what’s working well and what needs improvement. Have an office manager periodically observe the staff, to see areas that could use additional training and/or assistance. Find ways to support and help your front desk employees, so they also feel appreciated and want to perform at their optimal capacity. Their success is essential to the well-being of your business!
Finally, every worker in your medical practice needs to understand the rules and regulations laid out by HIPAA. What can workers discuss with patients at the front desk? What information can be given out to a spouse or parent? How can medical records be delivered to patients? HIPAA violations can lead to serious fines, so every worker needs to fully understand what can and cannot be said or done.
Make Your Medical Practice Even Better with Medical Business Partners
Medical Business Partners conducts customer service and healthcare staff training, including best customer service skills, workflow development and implementation, and job responsibilities. In addition, Medical Business Partners performs coding audits with educational sessions, leads trainings and boot camps for staff and physicians, and analyzes ways to improve cash flow and billing operations. To learn more about their coding and billing services, start-up consulting, credentialing services or other ways they can help you increase your revenues, please contact us through their website or by calling (202) 390-3966.