Transforming Chaos to Calm: Restoring Your Patients’ Peace of Mind
“No one told me this.” “Why do I need to fill out all of these forms?” “I thought my insurance covered this service.”
If you often hear these kinds of questions and comments circulating your waiting room, then chances are your office is operating in a state of chaos and dysfunction. Just like a household or any successful organization, rules and expectations must be clearly communicated in order for your practice to run smoothly.
With a few simple procedural changes, you can eliminate these common complaints and change your daily office flow from chaos to calm.
1. Customer Service. For the average patient, walking into a doctor’s office brings with it a certain level of angst. And this is particularly true for a new patient. But your office staff can take some simple steps to alleviate much of your patients’ anxiety and put them at ease:
- Offer a warm and welcoming environment that sets the tone for the remainder of the visit.
- Engage them with a friendly and sincere welcome from the front desk.
- To combat any internal resistance a patient might have toward disclosing his or her medical history and demographic information, explain from the onset that the required paperwork will verify insurance coverage and provide the necessary information for a more thorough doctor examination.
2. Signage. One of the simplest and least expensive ways to manage patient expectations is to provide adequate signage in the waiting area. Take a moment to sit in your own waiting area. Notice where your eyes wander—that’s where signage must be placed.
- A sign indicating that payment is DUE (not expected) at the time of service should be posted both on the wall and on the reception desk, so as not to be overlooked.
- Include visible signage indicating policies regarding appointment cancellations and tardiness.
Just by sitting in the waiting area, your patients should be aware of the most important policies set forth by your office.
3. Insurance Verification. While the patient is awaiting service, the front desk receptionist should verify all insurance information to clarify expected payment for that day’s visit.
- No patient should receive services without first knowing how much he or she will owe and when.
- Your office team can demonstrate even greater competence by providing the client with a printed invoice from your online system.
This entire process takes just a few minutes; but when it’s performed well and with speed, the patient will gain confidence in your knowledge of billing processes and have increased satisfaction with your overall practice.
4. Daily Cash Flow Tracking. In today’s tenuous economy, managing your daily cash flow is more important than ever. No matter how well you implement these first three suggestions, if you fail to keep a daily log of income, you are putting your practice in peril.
- Train your office staff how to be friendly yet firm when it comes time to collect payment for services rendered.
- Keep on top of your daily cash flow through good recordkeeping. With reliable accounting software, you will have access to a snapshot of your daily trends at the click of a mouse.
You are passionate about providing quality healthcare to your patients. Don’t let the chaos and disorganization of a poorly run office deter you from doing what you love. Once you apply these principles to your daily office flow, the results will be a more positive and peaceful doctor’s visit for your patients, and a more profitable and efficient practice for you.
Visit our blog again next week when we will discuss the importance of clinical documentation and billing reimbursement.