There are many vaunted roles in the healthcare industry that often get their due credit, but at the same time, innumerable others are toiling every day for little or no recognition of their hard work. Below is an insight into how the front desk executives can change the picture of a healthcare organisation.
Front desk executives are paramount in the healthcare sector, more so than anywhere else. But often enough they are either completely ignored or their contributions largely discounted. These people work at the front desks and receptions of our hospitals, clinics, and even the local general physician’s chambers.
Patients usually get frightened of the unknown the moment they enter the waiting room of a hospital or a clinic. The only way to get through this is a warm and welcoming figure that would gladly receive you and welcome you into the hospital.
Learn from the hotel business
This is where the healthcare industry should take a cue from the hospitality industry.
- To most people, front desk executives are representative of the whole organisation, and it is paramount that the person is seen to be trustworthy and reassuring and that they exude confidence, something that will be reflected in the organisation as well.
- A lot of people feel that the first interaction once you get past the gate is important, and it leaves a taste in the mouth that lasts long after that initial interaction phase is complete. This is why it is important to remember that the front desk’s duty is far more than simply answering the phone.
Increasing privatisation of health care has reduced the bedside manner of most professionals, and meeting deadlines and reaching targets has become the norm in the industry. So this increases the need for professionals who will single-mindedly tend to patient’s comfort, over and above the care provided by doctors.
A little story
Going beyond patient needs, another important duty of front desk executives is to keep the office running smoothly. An example would carefully illustrate the necessity of the ubiquitous front desk staff at hospitals and clinics.
- A famous nephrologist in the city usually sees up to a hundred odd patients every week, at his house as well as at an upscale nursing home. His visiting hours at the upscale nursing home are well managed and almost always on time and never late.
However, it’s a completely different story at his home.
- Patients often have to wait for over six to eight hours despite having made an appointment over a fortnight in advance. The scheduling system is medieval with queues formed on the day of the visit, all of which contributes to a collective pandemonium.
The moral of this short story was the sharp contrast in the two operations. They were both run by the same doctor and had the same level of professional healthcare being catered to patients.
So, where was the problem? The difference was in the way the office space was managed, and the paperwork was taken care off.
This is exactly where the role of front desk executives comes in, and we get to understand how important this role is in the larger scheme of things.
Areas to Monitor For satisfactory services
Three important places where the front desk acts in the most efficient manner to keep the whole hospital as well the healthcare industry functioning are:
Billing and Coding
Billing and payments are probably the most integral and undervalued part of any hospital. Copayments and insurance papers often have the whole industry on tenterhooks and lives can depend on this.
Most hospitals and healthcare providers depend on insurance paperwork to get through on time even before they go ahead with the most minor of operations on patients. An important thing to remember is that insurance companies often have different codes or formulae based on which they decide if the claim is worth processing or not and the execution of this lies solely with healthcare front desk employee.
This is again, one of the many duties that front desk employees in the healthcare industry take on.
The example above spelt out exactly how important the role of the front desk is in scheduling appointments and managing the whole office on a timetable. But it goes far beyond even that.
The front desk is brilliant when it comes to pro-actively helping patients find the correct doctor or mapping patient problems to certain specialisations and doctors in that field. Most patients do not walk into the hospital with all knowledge at their fingertips.
They need a lot of help in navigating the list of visiting doctors and deciding who is best suited for their immediate problems. This is where the role of the front desk employee gains more prominence.
Outside of mapping patients to employees, these people are also instrumental in ensuring that patients get to cut through all the bureaucratic red tape and reach their final destination on time. This is something that daunts most patients’ families and dear ones.
Minor Office Equipment Usage
Hospitals are getting more high tech day by day, and you need efficient and smart people to be able to operate office equipment that most doctors don’t bother to learn and also, do not have any real need to learn or understand. A well-oiled front desk can take care of all photocopying, calling and printing needs that anyone in the hospital might have.
Add to this a basic knowledge of how most primary healthcare equipment works, and you get the perfect front office assistant working right for you.
X-Ray machines and the like are easy to operate and having a healthy knowledge of the same only adds to the indispensability of the front desk executives.
The crux of the matter is that hospitals, over and above their primary role in providing quality healthcare, also need to perform the all-important function of acting as an office to hundreds and thousands of people on a regular basis.
The smooth running of an office very desperately requires adept functioning and smooth running of the bureaucracy. In all of this, the front desk is a vital cog in the whole machine.
Primary Keyword: Front Desk Executives
LSI Keywords: healthcare establishments, healthcare organisation, privatisation of health care, front desk staff at hospitals, hospitals and healthcare providers, healthcare front desk employee, well-oiled front desk