Image of a smiling team member: The front desk is the face of your dental practice

The Face of Your Practice

Front Desk Team Members

Whenever one thinks about the way a doctor’s office should be run, they should compare it to the parts of a body. If the doctors and medical staff are the hands, and the billing coordinator is the brain, then the front desk is undoubtedly the face. The front desk position is a vital aspect of any practice because it is the first and last contact for a patient. That is why it is imperative that the individual chosen, can balance the tight rope of running an above standard patient care facility and a successful business. First, they need to understand that the relatively intimate relationship between patient and doctor sometimes includes their actions. For example, if a patient calls to make a problem focused appointment and they fail to ask any questions about the problem; the patient fails to see the office as sympathetic or as pro-actively engaged in helping with the issue. However, if your front desk team members ask more questions, they can not only make the patient feel confident that they have found an office that cares about their well-being and that they will receive a solution, but they’ve also prepared the provider with what they will be dealing with, before the patient comes in.

It is also imperative that during the patient’s initial visit, your front desk team member should enter all of the health information gleaned from the initial paperwork, into the practice software of choice. This will insure important things like allergies and ailments are highlighted, and can ensure a safe environment and effective treatment for all patients. Also, it decreases the chance of provider liability.

Secondly, the front desk needs to gather information that ensures compensation for services rendered. This can be done by taking insurance information during the first contact over the phone.Once the patient has supplied the associate with the information, the front desk should verify that the patient is still active under their respective plan and that the services to be provided, are covered. This should be done before the patient walks into the office, to ensure that the office will be compensated for the services the patient will receive. It is also important to make sure that the patient is aware, before they arrive for their appointment, that they will be fiscally responsible for whatever the insurance policy does not cover. By continuing to keep the patient aware of the intricacies of their plan they start to see your office as an ally, and will be more willing to do the right thing and make sure their account is balanced.

The important thing to remember, is that the front desk team member should be articulate and aware of the needs of the provider and of the billing coordinator, in order to ensure that both are being met. They need to understand that patients deserve the utmost care, and that by supplying the provider with tools such as accurate x-rays, health histories, and accurately filed documents they are ensuring this. They also need to understand that the practice is also a business, and to ensure the office is running efficiently, compensation needs to be received.

Genise Kelley

Coach, The Dental Business

About Mary Fisher-Day

Founder and CEO of The Dental Business.