By Hope Matheson, TheraOffice Account Manager
The gateway to your clinic...
Hiring can be one of the most exciting—and challenging—times for a business owner. You invest a lot of time in screening, interviewing, and choosing the perfect fit for your practice. Front desk staff are, in a way, the face of your clinic. They may be a patient’s first point of contact with your business, they manage the workflow for the rest of the staff, and they ensure that everything in the patient’s experience flows smoothly. So, it goes without saying that it is important for your front desk staff to be well-trained and comfortable with their position.
Your training suite will be as unique as your practice is, but having an outline can help you to get started designing the perfect program.
Your Clinic and Workflow
The first thing your new front desk person will need to know is how you like your practice to be run. A tour of the office and an introduction to the staff can be a great place to start but consider also discussing the culture in your office. How do lunches work? Do you celebrate birthdays? What is the procedure for taking time off?
It can also be helpful to discuss relevant information about the building (Does it get cold in the winter? What is your cleaning procedure?) and the mechanics of the business. (Who changes the ink cartridges for the printer? How do you make sure your clinic is HIPAA compliant and all patient information is secure?)
Finally, make sure to explain to your new staff member what the workflow in your clinic is like. While it is standard to discuss the responsibilities for their job, consider also discussing some of the responsibilities of the rest of the staff. When an employee understands where their job falls within the flow of the rest of the company, it can help to instill a sense of belonging and investment in your success.
The Ideal Patient Experience
The day-to-day realities of your practice can get messy, but it is best to start your new front desk staff with an understanding of the ideal experience for your patients. Consider not only the logistics of this experience (procedures for answering the phone, scheduling appointments, intake), but also how you want your patients to feel. What is important to your practice? Where are your priorities? Do you prefer phones to be answered right away, or do the patients at the desk take precedence?
From the big picture to the smallest detail, your front desk staff should always strive to ensure that they care for every patient as you would care for them yourself.
And, of course, make sure your front desk staff understands the nitty-gritty details of using your EMR system. Most EMR systems will have training options available for your staff, but it helps to give them an overview of how you use it as well.
In addition to showing your new team member the features they will use every day, consider also showing them some of the more complex or custom areas of the software. These are things that tend to get glossed over in training but can do wonders to help maximize your staff’s efficiency down the line. What tricks do you use to increase your own efficiency? What neat feature did you only discover after using the software for some time? Do you have any unique customizations in the system? Do you use any non-standard add-ons or integrations?
And, of course, it can help to discuss some of the big picture questions as well. Why do you choose to use this EMR over others on the market? What makes it a good fit for your unique practice? Not only will this help the employee to better understand the EMR, but it can also give them some valuable insight into the workings of your clinic and what matters most to you.