Front Desk Training Tips for Medical Offices
Medical receptionists work at the front desk of medical offices answering phones, greeting patients, and handling written and electronic communications. Medical office receptionists differ from non-medical receptionists because they must deal with patients as opposed to customers. Through effective training methods, medical office receptionists develop the necessary skills to address the busy atmosphere in which they work.
The bulk of the medical office receptionist’s training is done at the job site, but some employers may require receptionists to obtain formal training prior to employment. This involves completing either a two-year associate degree or a one-year certificate program through a community college or technical school. Coursework includes medical terminology, medical insurance coding and medical office procedures. If the physician regularly conducts interviews, the receptionist may need further training on how to handle media requests and interviews.
Appoint a Trainer
A medical office manager is usually given the responsibility of training medical receptionists. The manager accomplishes this by having the newly hired medical receptionist meet the physicians, nurses and other staff and take a tour of the building. The manager also prepares a written training manual explaining the medical office’s polices, procedures, etiquette, history and job expectations, which is given to the new receptionist. The manager may sit down with the new employee to review the manual or have the employee read it at her leisure.
Establish the Receptionist’s Role
Within the parameters of office policies and procedures, the medical office manager should establish the medical receptionist’s role. The office manager trains the employee by pointing out the different types of patients the employee will encounter, such as older adults who are ill or hard of hearing and irate patients. Managers explain other priorities, such as filing medical records, recording payments into the computer and keeping voice mail messages and personal phone call to a minimum. The office manager may also provide a list of other physicians, so patients are directed to other doctors if an appointment isn’t available.
Hold Regular Meetings
The office manager and staff may schedule weekly or monthly meetings with the receptionist to reinforce training with literature or visual presentations, identify problems and develop a plan to address deficiencies. New receptionists are prone to feeling overwhelmed or distraught during the first month of employment. Office managers need to reassure their employees that these feelings will dissipate as they gain experience on the job. Office managers may also assign another medical receptionist in the office to act as the new employee’s mentor.