Why Great Receptionists Matter in a Pediatric Office

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We’ve all experienced an unpleasant, rude front-desk person. This initial interaction changes the hue of an entire experience, either putting us in a cheerful mood or a sour one. No matter if you are a gynecologist in Maple Shade or a pediatrician in Denver, having a professional and pleasant receptionist is crucial to the overall success of your practice. While they are the face of your office, receptionists maintain a lot more than sign-ins and check-outs. 

Here is a list of standard receptionist duties: 

  • Greets and informs patients
  • Obtains the correct insurance, HIPAA forms, and medical information before a visit
  • Keeps patient files up-to-date and organized with labs, pre-authorizations, and other important documents
  • Schedules first-time appointments and follow-up appointments 
  • Manages billing issues 
  • Takes down any medical-related questions for the doctor 
  • Helps maintain a steady stock of office supplies and materials
  • Helps keep the waiting room clean and organized 
  • Assists other receptionist 
  • Manages other miscellaneous duties when needed

Because receptionists do a lot of work around the office, they can make a difference in your day-to-day operations, as well as contribute to patient satisfaction. This list details how they influence your practice.

Represents Your Office as the First and Last Point of Contact

A receptionist is often the first line of contact with your practice. They are the ambassador of your office and for you. This role requires a people-person, one who is helpful and has the skills to de-escalate a problem when patients are upset or concerned. When things go wrong, it is often the receptionist who cleans up the mess. 

And when a new patient reaches out, you will want an employee who is willing to take the time to answer all their questions in a succinct and friendly manner. They should prepare new patients on what to expect and what paperwork they need to complete before an appointment. A helpful receptionist can encourage new patients to schedule an appointment, where an unpleasant interaction with your front-desk can be equally as discouraging. 

Detailed Message Taking 

A helpful receptionist will answer any office-related questions that they can, such as office hours, pre-authorization concerns, insurance questions, directions, and other front-desk related issues. However, patients will often call with a medical query, and it is the receptionist’s job to transpose those inquiries for the doctor. To do this as efficiently as possible, they should find out as much background information as possible without being invasive. Write down what the patient is asking simply and straightforwardly. They should have an excellent eye and ear for detail to write down the proper contact information, patient availability, and their medical questions. An illegible or confusing message might require the patient to retell their story again to the provider, which can cause frustration with the way their concerns are mishandled. A receptionist that can easily communicate a patient’s question on a message slip can save a lot of time and energy. 

Easing Patients Anxiety 

Receptionists can also help keep patients happy. If a patient’s calls are returned promptly and the receptionist can relay information in a confident, friendly way, the patient will have more faith in your office operations. Patients often have serious health concerns, which can cause a lot of stress. Making sure their appointments run smoothly respects their lives and will reflect your practice’s professionalism. A good receptionist can also manage certain operations on their own without having to distract other employees. A helpful reassuring face can put your patients at ease and set the stage for a successful appointment they will be happy about. 

Stays Organized 

A miss-scheduled appointment can derail an entire day creating long wait times, clogging up the waiting room, and force the provider to stay late. Since it’s a receptionist’s job to schedule and reschedule appointments, they will need to do so accurately. Double-booking appointments can cause the same issue and often scheduling systems will not catch these errors.

A receptionist helps the office stay organized in other ways as well. They physically keep the front-office clean and welcoming, charts should be properly put away, and the desks should always be free of clutter. They also are responsible for ordering important office supplies. Running out of printer ink, for instance, can cause a big delay in completing other daily tasks. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep the office flowing. 

Knowing that a receptionist keeps an office running properly, it would be wise for offices to put plenty of time and effort into finding the right candidate, no matter what field of medicine you are in. Whether you’re an ENT in Morristown, NJ, or a pediatrician in Jacksonville, FL, your office will benefit greatly from a whip-smart, caring, and detail-oriented front desk employee that both you and your patients will love.