When considering a medical practice’s most outstanding employee, bust people believe that would be the doctor. However, this may not be as accurate as you might think. The doctor has received the most education and has more privileges than, generally, any other employee of the practice.
However, it is important to realise that you end up spending more face time with other types of staff. When you consider where your impression of the team for a healthcare facility comes from, you may realise that you interact more with the following professionals:
- Front Desk Executives
The front desk executive, out of all the employees as mentioned above, probably leaves the largest impact on the patients’ perceptions of the business.
A person makes their first impression about a person or a place within 0.03 second of seeing that person or place. The funny thing about first impressions is that they are extremely hard to change.
The front desk executive is the patient’s first contact at the office. These professionals provide patients with their first taste of the office staff. If the front office manager is rude and distant, the patient is likely going to maintain a negative opinion about the practice.
Front desk managers can impact the attitude of the patient for their entire visit. If they keep a positive attitude, then the patient is more likely to leave with a favourable opinion of the office. More than that, however, engaging with patients in this way from the beginning helps ensure that they have a pleasant experience all the way through the visit.
Think about when you first wake up in the morning. If one thing happens at the beginning of your day, something as simple as being unable to find the shoes you wanted to wear, can make you irritable and make the rest of the day a horrible experience. The same happens with a patient’s experience with the front desk clerk.
A Little Bit of Everything
Front desk executives also, arguably, have the most responsibilities of anyone in the office. On top of the fact that they may be the staff member that has the most contact with patients, they also are responsible for a lot of things that ensure the healthcare agency runs smoothly. Some of the duties that a front desk executive in healthcare is responsible for include:
- Acting as a Receptionist
- Gathering information from patients
- Scheduling Appointments
- Being able to use office equipment
These professionals engage in many receptionist duties. They are responsible for greeting patients as they enter the building, answering any questions or concerns that patients have initially, answering phones, telling patients where they should go (if they need to go elsewhere) and keeping the front part of the agency tidy.
They also verify the information provided by the patient and typically are the ones responsible for handing out new patient forms.
Front desk executives are also responsible for collecting a patient’s copay, dealing with insurance claims, and (sometimes) assigning the costs that correspond to the object of the visit. These executives are also responsible for scheduling appointments and making appointments when patients are referred elsewhere.
On top of all this, they may be required to fax documents, copy relevant paperwork, print labels, operate a phone system that contains numerous lines, and other general computer system tasks.
Multiple front desk executives are further assigned any duty that is not assigned to someone else which means they may have to take out the trash and clean the bathrooms as well.
Because of the many duties held by front desk executives, it is critical that they are well trained in how to do their jobs adequately. They not only give the patients their first impression of the establishmentbut are also responsible for ensuring everything is organised and running smoothly. Most front desk executives should receive the following when they begin working in a healthcare facility:
- Some formal training with a knowledgeable trainer.
- Clear policies that define their role within the business.
- The regular meeting to discuss new things that need to be done or reinforce the training that they have already received.
The most important aspect about the front desk executive is their attitude. They have numerous responsibilities, and the job itself can feel overwhelming and stressful. However, it is critical that the front office manager has a positive attitude.
These executives are a direct reflection of the practice. It cannot be stressed enough that these employees provide the first impression of the office staff to patients. Many times, patients complain more about the front office executive than any other member of a healthcare agency.
For this reason, the best front desk managers strive always to conduct themselves the following ways.
- Treating everyone with kindness and empathy.
- Doing everything they can to go to ensure patients are happy and everything runs smoothly.
- Trying to anticipate what the patients may need (such as tissues or hand sanitizer) and have it readily available.
- Always seeking to engage and interact with patients and showing interest in what the patients are saying.
- Always maintain a calm demeanour.
- Smile constantly.
- Know about the surrounding area and have some basic information about the office patients may be referred to.
- Creative, you never know what might be needed.
- Energetic and happy to be there.