By Marvin Luz, senior director of revenue services, Greenway Health.
Nearly all medical practices face the complex challenge of ensuring patient satisfaction while maintaining the engagement and well-being of their staff. The reputation and success of a practice hinges on continuous improvements being made to heighten patient satisfaction, however the service provided by the front office staff at each practice plays a significant role in ensuring performance goals are regularly exceeded and quality patient care is delivered.
To foster an environment that strengthens the importance of both increased patient satisfaction and staff fulfillment, it is important to first look within. Outlined in this article are three simple tips from Greenway Health that providers can implement for their front office staff members to boost staff morale and patient satisfaction.
Emphasize the importance of excellent customer service
According to MGMA, 52% of medical groups report scheduling or customer service as the top front desk training challenge. While great customer service is extremely important for medical practices, it is not always top of mind. The front office staff are the first people to connect with patients, so their focus should be on creating an excellent experience. Take the time to train front office staff on how to properly greet patients, handle requests, and communicate successfully.
To take it a step further, try cultivating a patient-centered approach. Encourage the front office staff to actively listen and show genuine interest in patient concerns. Additionally, consider implementing enhanced accessibility tools to the current healthcare service offerings like online appointment scheduling, patient portals, and telemedicine. By simplifying these front office administrative practices, patients will appreciate the user-friendly and accessible nature the practice has to offer.
Train staff on all office policies and procedures
By being transparent with the expectations of the practice, staff members can adhere properly to the wishes outlined by their leaders. It is important to ensure policies and procedures on collections, patient statements, appointments, safety protocols, and emergency steps are fully documented and presented to staff regularly. Having all employees informed on these same policies and procedures builds consistency and standardization across the practice, reducing the risk of potential errors. This proper training protocol also instills confidence in front office staff members, as they feel well-prepared for their duties and can rest assured each task has been accomplished to the standards of the practice.
Coach staff to handle patient information properly
Front office staff members play a crucial role in maintaining the privacy and security of patient information. These members handle patient records, insurance, details, and other personally identifiable information. When handling this information, it is vital all team members understand the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and patient privacy laws to protect the medical records of patients.
HIPAA compliance should especially be top of mind for front office staff since they will be handling sensitive patient information. Take the time to emphasize the legal and ethical obligations associated with HIPAA, as the measures outlined in HIPAA help maintain the trust between patients and healthcare providers. It is crucial that all front office staff members understand and adhere to HIPAA guidelines to protect patients’ rights, maintain the integrity of the practice, and prevent potential legal ramifications.
Increasing patient satisfaction and staff happiness is an ongoing process requiring a proactive approach from medical practice teams. By emphasizing the importance of excellent customer service, training staff on all office policies and procedures, and coaching staff to handle patient information properly, medical practices can enhance alignment between their patient satisfaction and their front office staff’s morale. By implementing these changes into your practice, patients will feel more satisfied with their experience and staff members will feel autonomy to deliver a positive patient experience resulting in a thriving practice.