You know the saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Your front desk staff is the first to greet your patients, respond to their needs, and show what it will be like to be part of your practice.
A chaotic front desk leads to frustration and poor patient interactions while an efficient one can increase both patient satisfaction and practice revenues.
- Pre-registration: Whether by email or patient portal, all practices need to have new patients pre-registering and completing paperwork prior to their first visit. The front desk bottle-neck created by new patients filling out a stack of insurance and history forms can derail your day.
- Outsourcing appointment calls: Outsourcing is now quite common. It is simple to set up a phone tree to direct all appointment calls to a line answered by a reputable call center. And, as a bonus, it is far less expensive than employing an extra staff member to field those calls.
- Take a hard look at your patient paperwork: One of the easiest ways to save time at the front desk is to streamline patient paperwork. Does the patient history form make sense? Or, are you going to be asking all those questions again when you do your review of systems? Should they be filling out insurance card information when you will be making a copy of the card? Holding onto old paperwork standards can slow down your office flow, reduce number of patient visits, and decrease patient satisfaction.
- Automate your prescription refill system: Calls for prescription refills can be one of the biggest time sucks for your front desk staff. Fielding the call, getting all the information, and forwarding it to nurses is often just the beginning. Pharmacy follow-ups and second and even third calls from patients can be the standard. Instead, streamline the system by having your front desk forward patient calls for refills straight to the nurses’ voicemail, with a recording to inform patients that all requests will be handled by the end of the day. Pharmacy calls can be sent to a separate voicemail with instructions to send an electronic refill request or fax. These requests can be handled in one to two batches during the day to increase efficiency.
- Patient Portals: With a portal, patients can sign in to request appointments, print copies of records, pay bills, and ask questions…all things that your front desk would normally have to spend time on the phone handling. Not all patients will embrace the portal but the ones who do will drastically reduce the strain on your front desk staff.
More than any other area of your practice, your front desk has an impact on efficiency and patient flow. By implementing these five front desk time savers, you will reduce the burden on your front desk staff and increase both the performance and revenues of your practice.
About the Author
Adria Schmedthorst is a writer focusing on the medical device, technology, software, and healthcare industries. Adria is the founder of AMS Copy and a healthcare professional herself with more than 10 years in practice. She now uses her knowledge of the industry to help companies achieve their goals of writing content that speaks to the hearts and minds of medical professionals. She has been featured in blogs, written articles, and other publications for the industry, and ghostwritten books for doctors in both the United States and Australia.