Most medical practices and hospitals are understandably very busy places. Patients might have all sorts of problems, but doctors don’t have time to deal with non-medical problems. Hence, it becomes vital that there are efficient front desk executives to help deal with these issues and queries. In general, they greatly aid in the smooth functioning of the establishment.
Some of the specific ways in which they help are as follows:
Scheduling Appointments Accurately
Front desk executives or receptionists are entrusted with the vital responsibility of scheduling all appointments with the doctor. In a way, they are running the healthcare establishment.
This can be done by maintaining a physical diary or a computer record of patients’ requests. After referencing the doctors’ free hours, they need to assign patients certain times and numbers.
They thus need to have unquestionable organisational skills. They also need to be able to comfortably make their way around a computer. Specifically, they may need good word processing and spreadsheet skills.
It’s incredibly important to schedule appointments without irregularities, for obvious reasons. Health is an important issue, and to serve as many people as possible, scheduling needs perfection. Moreover, patients never like to wait unnecessarily for hours.
Building Rapport With The Patients
Before they meet the doctor, the front desk receptionist is the patients’ access point to the medical facility. They go to them for answers to any questions or doubts they might have. Thus receptionists need to project a kind and friendly demeanour at all times.
Occasionally, patients have very serious problems. These can be diseases like vitiligo, albinism, or others which might affect the patients’ self-confidence. Some diseases like STDs might be very embarrassing to admit and talk about, especially to a stranger. Just look at this example.
Thus the executive has to be considerate in dealing with the patients. They need to understand the sensitivity that a situation may demand and act accordingly.
Even in other, less serious situations, patients can be understandably concerned and hurried. It is the receptionist’s job to be patient with the people, no matter what their questions are.
This is important because it affects the general atmosphere of the facility, especially the waiting room. A positive and amiable receptionist can make patients feel instantly at ease, while the opposite can do much damage.
And this atmosphere affects the chances of patients coming back to the establishment. So from the point of view of the doctors or managers, hiring a pleasant and efficient front desk executive is of the essence.
Handling Billing Related Queries
Doubts about the bill can be more common than you expect and sensitive issues in themselves. Medicines and visits to the doctor are admittedly costly, and they aren’t getting any cheaper. Given this context, it isn’t surprising that people want to clarify even the slightest financial query.
Receptionists are in charge of this as well. They need to be able to maintain impeccable records of the bills, how much each patient was charged, and if the patient bought any medicines from there. Again, organisational and computer skills are an asset.
Patients need to be given copies of the bill to ensure there are no communication gaps.
And most importantly, if anyone does have doubt, the receptionist should be understanding and calm in resolving the issue.
This is incredibly vital because if financial queries aren’t adequately addressed or looked into, patients will feel that they are being ripped off. This breaks the trust between the healthcare provider and the patient. And no one will entrust their well-being to someone they don’t trust.
And yet, once again, we see how the receptionist can have a great and lasting impact on the number of patients coming or returning to the healthcare establishment.
Getting The Patients’ Medical Records Ready For The Doctors
The current situation of healthcare in the country is that every medical practitioner and the hospital is swarmed with people with diseases misleadingly ‘benign’ and frustratingly ‘common’. One cannot stress enough how important it is to advise as many patients as possible per day.
To do this, the doctor-patient time needs to be limited to only the necessary stuff. Only the advice and the questions. Other stuff like showing medical records can be dealt with by the front desk staff to increase efficiency.
They need to take the patients’ medical records, decide with the patient what is relevant to their present condition, and make a modified list. And this relevant, efficient medical history is then passed to the doctor when it’s their turn.
This effectively utilises the waiting time. But one also needs to understand the nuances of this task.
A patient’s medical history is among the most private information about themselves. And it’s difficult to share it with someone who’s not your doctor. So receptionists need to be understanding and approachable.
Keeping The Reception Organised And Presentable
As the old cliché goes, the first impression is the last impression. While the veracity of this statement is questionable, one must indeed admit that first impressions tend to last.
Patients need to feel comfortable at the healthcare establishment. This includes the reception, waiting room, doctor’s office, test room, and others. The whole idea behind a hospital or medical practice is to help people and solve their problems, and discomfort can hamper the process.
Since the doctors are concerned with the medical aspect of the process, this job too falls into the already full hands of the receptionist. They have to make sure that the reception area is organised, clean, presentable and aesthetically calming.
If you’ve noticed any paediatrician’s office, there are often pictures of cartoons and other fun stuff kids like. That’s all under the receptionist’s management – they need to create a welcoming atmosphere.
So, in a nutshell, while the doctor’s job is to treat the patients, it is the receptionist’s job to make them feel at home. And since the multiplicity of doctors has often meant the patients have options, it can be easily argued that a responsible receptionist could make all the difference.
Medicine and health is a serious issue. And their job requires front desk executives to be caring, kind, polite, calm, patient, well-organised, and more. It is, to make an understatement, no mean task.
LSI Keywords: healthcare establishment, healthcare provider, front desk executives, front desk staff, front desk receptionist