Tips for your front end workforce
Whether it’s a medical practice or any other type of business, there is nothing as critical as patient/customer relations.
What helps distinguish thriving medical practices from others is the interface of patients with your front desk staff. After all, it’s here where they handle the incoming phone calls, network with would-be patients and are the first impression when it comes to your medical practice. When patients have questions, require further info, and so forth, your front desk is the ambassador for your practice.
That said, what can a medical practice do to assure that their front desk people are up to the task?
As we proclaim in the title, never underestimate the importance of the front desk staff. Every patient ought to feel appreciated and all staff – not only clinical staff – needs to maintain a duty to take care of your patients. Generally, front desk staff are especially high turnover positions, so it’s tough to acquire well-informed and proficient staff who will stay long term.
Make certain of positive initial impressions
The secret to fashioning a positive first impression is to deliver appropriate training and create an environment for front desk success. For one example, you may want to think about relocating the phones to a space concealed from reception, so the reception staff are not answering calls at the same time they’re taking care of patients face to face.
Be deliberate when assigning blame
The flip side of living on the front lines is that the front desk frequently shoulders the blame when matters don’t take place corresponding to plans. If the physician is running late on appointments, or the lab is backed up, the front desk is forced to answer for these mistakes. There is no perfect solution but offering a unified message throughout your practice is essential to defending the front desk staff.
Plan for routine patient appointments
Write some basic unadorned scripting to assist your front desk ask for payment and help keep long calls focused. Help your staff prioritize and even split work among your team consistent with their strong points and interests.
Okay, now what are some of those more specific tips to allow your staff to become more involved with patient relations?
- Manage patient requirements with a smile. This may well appear as if it’s straight out of a textbook; also, it seems fairly simple that service ought to be delivered with a smile, yet how often are your front desk able to manage it? According to a study, 42 percent of patients are offended by uncooperative and bad-mannered employees. Most of us have dealt with the front desk member who scarcely smiles and looks as if he/she couldn’t care less about the patient experience. This type of indifferent manner is not acceptable in your practice and must be dispatched.
- Prove to patients that you care. Be certain your front desk grasps the notion of “care.” Nothing produces your practice “ambassadors” and generates lasting personal connections more effectively than a medical practice alive with employees who honestly are concerned about patients and demonstrate it. Attached to this sympathetic manner is the fundamental skill of listening. Train your front desk to listen to patients’ concerns and take action correspondingly.
- Be professional at all times. Incensed patients come and go. Make certain your front desk remains constantly calm, professional and respectful. Make sure they don’t become flippant, demeaning or indifferent, even in the face of the utmost challenging patient. An unsympathetic mindset just won’t do. Make sure a patient’s visit is a pleasant memory, so they’ll be looking forward to coming back.
- Know your patients. Nothing enhances a personal touch such as a medical practice that remembers its patients. From doctors to support staff, every member ought to recall those patients’ names with whom they intermingle frequently. This extraordinary touch is guaranteed to yield immense fruit – recognizing your patients also ties into your simply inquiring about their health. These tiny acts may not result in instant reputation building, but over time your employees’ behavior will be remembered and will add to the actual care they’re receiving.
Tweak your revenue cycle performance starting with the front desk
Your patients need to see the value in their healthcare experience every step of the way. Presenting well-mannered and professional staff, clean and well-lit waiting rooms, and front desk staff who have training on explaining procedure costs, insurance procedures and medical billing will go a long way to implant trust in your patients. Teach your front desk staff to direct their attentiveness on each patient, and to make eye contact while respectfully but decisively asking for payment.
The front desk staff normally doesn’t see the end result, so it’s imperative to tie them into the entire revenue cycle process. Present your front desk staff with basic metrics such as percentage of co-pays collected, authorization denials and insurance denial rates to provide a reason to ask for money, accurately acquire authorizations and correctly enter insurance information. This way, they can actually see the impact they have on streamlining the revenue cycle.
Education, along with familiarity of processes, can help avoid any confusion or delays in payment. For instance, if a patient has a large debt balance, help your front desk staff fine tune how they can tackle that conversation so as not to embarrass the patient. Teach them to try to find credit balances or possible misapplied payments so they can recognize common errors and know how to correct them.
Working the front desk is frequently a tough job, demanding patience and the capacity to multitask. Plus, it’s a critical role to revenue cycle – asking patients to pay upfront and securing data to advance the claim through the rest of the cycle.
If you enhance the efficiency of your front desk staff, you will in turn improve the patient experience.