The reception area is the first visual impression customers get of your practice or hospital, not only in appearance but what processes you have in place. The physical reception location, as well as your phone reception procedures, are a representation of your office. The first interaction potential customers have with your business is often over the phone. MedCall Plus has worked with providers and hospitals for over 25 years and has identified five reception best practices to help you put your best foot forward. These medical reception best practices apply to both phone and in-person techniques.
1. Use the Patients First Name
A person’s name is the greatest connection to their identity and individuality. Make a habit of using your patients’ names when they visit the office. This rule also applies when you have callers; since there is no visual connection, using their names makes it more personal. In his famous book How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie stated that “a person’s name to them the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” This medical reception best practice and personal touch helps create a bond between your practice and patients.
2. Confirm Patient Information
Although this medical reception best practice seems simple, accuracy is vital. When gathering new customer information, always confirm it, especially if they call through the phone. Confirming prevents miscommunication with important information. Some of the most vital information to confirm is as follows.
- Home and billing addresses: without these, invoicing can be difficult.
- Call back information and email: If a call drops or they miss an appointment, you want to be able to contact them.
- Insurance information: If your receptionist transposes even one number wrong, it can set back getting paid by months.
These details are necessary to avoid issues in billing collection and customer service. To confirm, always read back the information and get verbal confirmation from the customer.
3. Keep Reception Clean and Organized.
Your reception area represents your practice, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Keeping a clean and organized workspace also helps with staying on top of the workload and having a clear mind.
Keep the reception area looking nice. You want patients to feel comfortable, which means ensuring things stay clean and updated. Floors should be vacuumed/swept daily, surfaces wiped, and trash emptied. Also, if the paint starts chipping or furniture gets damaged, update/ replace it. A neat, clean reception area in the medical field can ease customers, especially if they have an extended wait time.
Keep electronic and paper filing systems organized: If patients see that you are not keeping their information secure, they lose trust instantly. You will also have difficulty accessing information if there is no filing system that lets you sort and organize customer information. Consider investing in an electronic filing system.
4. Use Scripts for Phone Calls.
Create a script your receptionist can use to ensure all callers get accurate answers. Scripts can help for several different reasons; the top few are:
- Decrease training time: The system easily guides receptionists through each call. It provides them with a custom script with the exact information they need at the time they need it. Updates can easily be made to the script if there is a change in patient or visitor policies.
- Increase productivity: Instead of putting the caller on hold and searching for answers, staff who use scripting can find the information they need in just a few clicks. Therefore, proper scripting can resolve many calls within a few minutes.
- Promote consistency and reduce errors: Scripting ensures that the correct customer info is collected, giving the caller the most updated information. Scripts also keep receptionists from violating regulations since they will always know the next thing to say, taking the proper action at the end of the call. Read our blog to learn more about scripts that can benefit your practice.
5. Preregister New Patients
Once a new patient is gained, don’t wait until the last minute to get all their information. Send them a preregistration link in advance via your EMR. This way, you collect as much information as possible before their initial consult and save everyone time. If you can do this, you will significantly reduce errors and free up your receptionist’s time.
A fully staffed reception helps you stay caught up and process patients faster. However, some things, such as maternity leave, sick days, and vacations, can result in an understaffed reception. If doing all these medical reception best practices regularly seems daunting, outsource when necessary. A short-term and often more efficient tool is an answering service. MedCall Plus is the healthcare industry’s leading provider of Telephone Answering Services and Call Center Support Services. With over 25 years of medically focused communication management expertise, MedCall Plus provides solutions that empower our professionally trained agents to become a seamless extension of your practice.