8 Responsibilities of the Front Desk in a Medical Office
The front desk staff is usually the first contact the patient has with your office. They are not just answering the telephone or greeting patients. They are also responsible for scheduling appointments and obtaining patient demographic information. They need to be able to keep up with the fast-pace of a medical office as well as pay great attention to detail. Here are 8 responsibilities of the front desk staff.
Welcomes Patients and Visitors
A front desk person welcomes and greets all patients and visitors, in person or over the phones. As everyone knows, first impressions are lasting ones. The first impressions your customers receive about your medical practice are often from your office staff making them crucial to the success of your organization. Providing high-quality care and excellent customer service will prevent loss of revenue for the medical office due to a high level of patient satisfaction.
Answers the Phone
Front desk staff answers the phone while maintaining a polite, consistent phone manner using proper telephone etiquette. Having good phone manners is a simple task. To have good phone manners simply means being professional and treating others the way you want to be treated if you were the caller. It is important for your medical office staff to consistently offer a polite, consistent phone manner. When a patient calls in, the way in which the front desk personnel handles the telephone call determines how your facility is perceived.
Maintains the Reception Area
Keeping your medical office clean is not just about the way it looks. A clean medical office is essential to keeping employees and patients safe and healthy. Keeping the medical office free from germs is more than just about what is on the surface; it’s about having a healthy, sterile environment to prevent infectious diseases.
Maintains Patient Records
Front desk staff is responsible for registering new patients and updating existing patient demographics by collecting patient detailed patient information including personal and financial information. The cycle of a patient account originates with the initial entry of patient demographic information which includes patient demographics and insurance information. Invalid information can delay payment.
Facilitates Patient Flow
Front desk staff keep things moving by notifying the provider of patients’ arrival, being aware of delays, and communicating with patients and clinical staff. If the patients of your medical office are not happy with the entire process, they may not come back. Providing high-quality care and excellent customer service will prevent loss of revenue for the medical office due to a high level of patient satisfaction. Patients will very likely continue to come back as long as they are satisfied with the entire process.
Front desk staff handles inquiries in a courteous manner. A technique called “active listening” is a helpful tool to ensure that understanding is complete. In this technique, the listener will rephrase the information they heard in their own words. If this information is correct, the exchange is complete, if not the sender of the information can correct any misunderstandings at this time. This exchange takes only a little more time and is an efficient tool for creating accountability because everyone involved in the exchange knows that expectations were clear and understood.
Maintains Office Supplies
They keep medical office supplies adequately stocked by anticipating inventory needs, placing orders, and monitoring office equipment.
Protects Patient Confidentiality
Front desk staff protects patient confidentiality by making sure protected health information is secured by not leaving PHI in plain site and logging off the computer before leaving it unattended. Maintaining patient confidentiality not only makes patients feel secure about being treated at your medical facility, it is also the law. Any organization that accesses patient health information is considered a covered entity and is required by law to comply with HIPAA provisions or face civil and/or criminal penalties. It is imperative that medical records remain confidential and cannot be accessed by people that do not have proper authorization. Disclosures made regarding a patient’s protected health information (PHI) without their authorization is considered a violation of the Privacy Rule.