Your front office serves as both the first and last impression that your patients see, so it is important that they are as efficient as possible in providing a great experience for your customers. On top of keeping your customers happy, you want your staff to be as productive with their time as they can be so that they have a positive attitude performing their daily tasks. And if your staff have been stuck in the same routine for a while, it might be hard to realize where the workflow could be improved. So we've compiled a list of 5 ways your front office could be wasting time, and how your practice management system can help fix that to create a better workflow.
5 Ways Your Front Office Workflow Might be Suffering
1. You're still using spreadsheets or appointment books to schedule appointments.
Outdated solutions, like spreadsheets and appointment books, take up more time and allow more room for mistakes in your practice. Practice management software helps you not only schedule patients, but it also allows for the opportunity to reserve the necessary resources that will be needed for each appointment, such as doctor, staff, or room. Plus, scheduling with software provides the opportunity to use a web scheduler to connect with your calendar online, so that patients can see which appointment times are available before requesting a visit.
2. Your staff calls patients to remind them of appointments.
Taking time to call each individual patient can take up tons of time, leaving your front desk staff unable to interact with the customers that are actually present in your practice. Practice software allows you to set up automated reminders to send to your patients, equipped with confirmation features, so you know ahead of time whether a patient is going to show up. This also allows for the customization of text or email reminders, so patients can choose which method they prefer.
3. Your staff calls payers or checks payer sites for patient eligibility.
This is another big waste of time for the front desk staff. Claims management solutions built-in, or integrated with practice management systems, help do the verification work for you. Plus, the real-time updates let you provide your patients with more accurate information on how much of the payment they will be responsible for.
4. Your patients fill out paper forms for their pre-appointment paperwork.
Paper options slow down everything in the front office and can cause your office to run behind schedule. Patients can be slow to fill out forms in the waiting room, and if your staff has to then enter them manually into your management software, you are delaying your practice even further. Using a patient portal allows your patients to fill out all the necessary forms online, before their appointment, so that no time is wasted in the waiting room.
5. You leave it up to your optician to collect payments.
A lot of practices leave it up to their optician to collect payment as the patient checks out with their glasses, but we think it is best to leave this task to your front desk. Your optician should create an invoice and give it to the front desk for check out. This way your optician can see more patients, and your front desk staff can pre-schedule any necessary follow up appointments and set up recall actions.
Don’t let your front office slow you down. Make sure that you are utilizing a practice management solution that allows for online scheduling, and is equipped with claims management, a patient portal, and patient engagement tools.
To help your staff stay productive and keep your office workflow running smoothly, you need to make sure that your optometry software is up to par. But how do you determine which software can do that? You have to ask vendors the right questions! Download our list of questions to help get the full picture from vendors before you buy.