The Front Desk…Manning the fort effectively

The Front Desk…Manning the fort effectively

front desk

I recently had the opportunity to review all the stuff we do at the front desk.

It made me realize how important that front desk staff person is to the center.  Not only are they the facility gatekeeper, they are the worried caregiver soothers, traffic cops, surveyor greeters, reps without appointment managers, and the information desk.

They are also answering phone calls, collecting money, and checking our patients in with a smile.  They are the face of the center.

Help them continue to do a great job or do their job better with the following…

  • If they are responsible for the phones, does the back up person know to answer when they are with a patient?   Make sure the back up person has a specific cue so no phone calls get missed and patients aren’t interrupted.
  • If they are greeting sales reps/vendors, after verifying that they are scheduled or can meet with you, they should be signing in and out, and have completed any facility paperwork required.  Remind them not to be complacent with the “regulars”, as the regulations apply to all.
  • If they are placing name bands on patient’s wrists, have them request that the patient review the information on the band before placement.  No sense using it for your “two identifiers” checkpoint if the information isn’t correct.  I recently was a caregiver, and the patient never looked at or was asked to look at their band.
  • Do they know what to do if a surveyor comes in?  Who is your designee in your absence?  A little role playing will help with the process.  I once had a surveyor arrive before me unannounced, and the front desk person did not think to get the Clinical Director as my designee until they called me.  My Director smoothed it out nicely, but it was an additional unnecessary stress.
  • What about disgruntled people, or worse?    Another good scenario as part of your emergency drills, including how to get help when needed.  I placed building security numbers on all the phones, as well as a process to alert others to trouble.
  • All the forms.  Between the Operative Consent, Advance Directive attestation, Privacy Notice attestation, Rights and Responsibilities/Grievance process attestation, caregiver check, Financial agreement, Ownership Disclosure attestation, and copies of insurance card(s), the list is lengthy.  You may want to combine your forms into one or two documents, as long as each part is signed off/initialed.
  • Re-visit the walls.  Are all your licenses and notices still hanging, reviewed, and up to date?  Make sure they look presentable.  They,  like your front desk staff, help make the first impression you want.
  • Hopefully, there is a great dress code policy, as well as a no gum, no food, hide the drink rule.  Establish the rules early to save uncomfortable conversations later.

Hopefully, you have a Rock Star at your facility in the post.   Make sure to have them help you review your front desk processes, and thank them for doing a great job.


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