Your patients and bottom line matter a lot, so does your team. They are your most loyal brand ambassadors, they are the first face and voice to greet your patients, and they set the tone of your waiting room and entire clinic. If they are overwhelmed, your patient experience will suffer. If they feel unappreciated, your clinic will pay the price.
Your front desk team is some of the most underestimated members of any urgent care clinic’s team, but the work of front desk staff members makes or breaks clinic operations. Here are three simple steps to help them turn your clinic into the most efficient urgent care clinic in town.
Analyze Front Desk Responsibilities
The first step toward change is knowing what you’re dealing with. Ask your front desk staff members to keep track of tasks they perform throughout the day, then analyze the data.
Are they inundated with tasks that aren’t related to their main job? If you find that the front desk staff is busy managing your urgent care clinic’s social media accounts, making people coffee, or helping doctors when they’re supposed to be welcoming patients, it’s time to re-distribute responsibilities in the clinic.
Sometimes you’ll find the front desk staff is only doing tasks they’re supposed to do, like answering the phone, but these tasks are keeping them from providing top notch service for in-clinic patients. In this case, it might be best to have one person who gives her full attention to the phone, and another who gives her full attention to onboarding patients who enter the clinic. Despite the myth, multitasking is inefficient and makes us less able to perfect tasks in the long run. For example, “people assume that the skill of a surgeon is primarily in the steadiness and precision of his or her hands, and there is some truth to that. But the proficiency of surgery is the ability to single-mindedly focus on a single patient and complete a series of tasks, all in the pursuit of a given outcome that may take many hours to finish.”
Now that you know what your front desk staff spends time doing, you need to verify how much time is allocated to each responsibility. You also need to know what interrupts their schedule, and how accurate or inaccurate they are in scheduling.
Whether there’s always a lot of work left for next week, or the staff often finds itself with nothing to do, you need to help them learn how to manage their time better, so your urgent care clinic can become more efficient.
By analyzing the schedule, you can know when you need more employees and when you need less. Similarly, when the schedule is written down, it’s easy to see which tasks are prioritized in the day to day activities, and make changes to ensure prioritization of the most important tasks.
If there’s no set schedule, brainstorm what needs to get done for your urgent care clinic to thrive. Next, take some time to measure how long these tasks last. Then, prepare a schedule and make it available to everyone on the team, so everyone knows what needs to be done by which date or hour, and no one can forget.
Use Tools to Boost Front Desk Efficiency
Whatever is keeping your front desk from being more efficient – chances are, there’s a way to reduce the friction they feel by leaning on technology and services for support.
Use project management and team collaboration software products to make sure everyone’s on top of their responsibilities and their deadlines, plus see how different tasks support the greater efforts of the front desk team.
Use technology to facilitate patient communication too. Automate text messages or emails with reminders to patients, instead of calling them multiple times. Similarly, by using a software that processes paperwork, insurance, and even billing, you are reducing the amount of error-prone work your front desk staff needs to worry about. This will save your front desk staff a lot of time figuring out and chasing down payment collections down the line.
As mentioned above, the first step to change is knowing what goes on at your front desk. Ask your staff members to write down how they spend their work time throughout the next couple of weeks.
Then, analyze which responsibilities get attention and which ones get left behind, and create a team schedule that prioritizes your top goals for your urgent care clinic.
What area do you think takes up too much team time?
- Signing patients in to the clinic?
- Communicating wait time to patients?
- Processing paperwork?
- Getting and processing insurance?
- Getting feedback from patients?
- Managing patient feedback?
Solv can help and increase patient flow and satisfaction in the process. 80% of front desk staff would recommend Solv to a friend or colleague because it is easy to use, takes one hour to set up, dramatically reduces front desk work, and provides actionable insights and feedback.
“The paperless feature has decreased wait times and improved the efficiency of our front desk staff. This has improved staff morale and produced positive patient experiences”
VP of Marketing & Customer Service, Urgent Care for Kids
Learn more at solvhealth.com/for-providers