In a practice with many physicians or dentists, these tasks become a mammoth workload and ultimately affect the patient experience.
So, here are some ways to save time & improve efficiency of your front desk.
1. Develop a Better Phone System or Outsource Appointment Calls
Here’s a front desk strategy that works wonders. Eliminate, reduce or streamline the phone traffic on the front desk!
Rather than having a prompt system for the patient to choose from, have 3-4 separate phone lines. One in case you have in-house appointment system. Second for the billing staff whose direct line number should be mentioned on the bill for the patient to contact in case they have questions.
A third line is for the physicians or nurses to be used when patient is calling for medical advice after visit. And fourth one for the manager who handles calls from suppliers, physicians themselves and the rest.
You can also outsource appointment calls.
The whole point is to lessen instances when calls are picked up after 10-12 rings or critical information is missed because of the rush to answer or re-direct calls.
2. Pre-Register Patients
Avoid rushed and poor patient interactions by switching to a pre-registration system either online or completing before patient’s first visit.
Paperwork takes a lot of time and handling it on the same day as the appointment, increases wait times at the front desk and creates a bottle neck.
Another step is to outsource insurance verification services to an RCM company like Astron EHS. This will ensure accurate and advance verification and on-demand needs will also be met for walk-ins, enabling you to attend to more patients efficiently.
3. Involve Patients with Emails
Emails are a very effective form of communication and almost everybody uses them. They are faster to send too!
Emails can be used to send appointment reminders ideally 2 days before the scheduled date, and yes, they are HIPAA compliant too as you don’t need to include name of the patient.
It helps your staff avoid multiple calls to reach patients in case they are at work or around other people and cannot answer for privacy reasons.
4. Streamline Patient Paperwork
You can speed up the intake process at the front desks by adopting a more efficient way of gathering information such as patient history. This will also reduce the traffic at the front desk and make for a calm, well-organized patient experience.
Some ways to achieve this is by:
- including certain patient forms as part of online registration process
- Remove questions from patient history that don’t make sense for your practice
- Avoid asking patient to fill insurance details when you are making a copy of their insurance card anyway
5. Automate Prescription Refills
A lot of the calls received by the front office staff are about prescription refills. This means the one who answers must pull up all the patient information, forward it to the nurse’s station, follow up with the pharmacy and attend follow up calls from patient thereafter.
Rather you can streamline the system, allow for leaving a voicemail directly to the nurse for a refill and the staff can attend them together at end of the day.
6. Online Patient Portals
Not all patients may be open to adapting to an online patient registration, appointment or payment portal, but even if some do, it will mean more time on your staff’s hands to handle other complex tasks.
Your front desk reflects the efficiency of your practice. All the mentioned ways may not be for every practice, but even if adapting one can make a difference, it is worth it!
Get in touch with us at Astron EHS, for faster and secure healthcare revenue cycle management services.