Keeping the front desk organized, fully stocked, fully functioning, and visually appealing is not always easy on the busiest of days.  If you have ever worked in a busy medical office you understand the craziness that can become your space.  Some people can thrive with a desk piled high with papers, messages, and other miscellaneous items.  It never made me feel good to work under those conditions.  I had to find ways to minimize a messy atmosphere.

When your desk is clear you reduce the chance of losing important information or adding information into the wrong patient chart.  You can be easily distracted by everything else that you need to do and lose focus of the person in front of you.  Perhaps organizing your space to make it more suitable to your needs will resolve some of your "desk mess".  Here are some simple ways to improve front desk function.

  • Don't be afraid to move things around.  You often have a small space to work with or use of a shared space, get everyone on board and move equipment and supplies where they will be most beneficial to your daily activities.
  • Desk organizers.  I like desk organizers that fit file size folders.  The stand up versions often take up less space.  You can label a few folders that you review everyday during your down time, early in the day or towards the end of the day.  Keep the papers off your desk and in a designated area.  Here are some label ideas:
    • Complete By End Of day
    • Call Backs
    • Insurance Update/Billing
    • Make Copies
    • Data Entry
  • Label everything. Labeling can be time consuming, but if you do it once you will only need to make changes once in a while. Why do we want to label things? This is a simple system for waiting room and office supplies, and frequently used documents.  You can place labels inside of cabinets where certain supplies are held.  You never have to guess what is missing or what you might need.  Label document folders so that if someone uses the last, you can easily identify and make new copies.
  • Make a change to the process.  Perhaps you have patients walk in, sign in, and then stand and wait...and wait...and wait.  Perhaps this is the just the process of your office.  Does it have to be? Will you and the patient benefit if they were instructed to just have a seat for 2 minutes while you finish with the other person who you are assisting? Work with your management and other team members and see if you can change the process to better meet the needs of your practice.  Sometimes changing where and how people check in and out can also provide a better flow for the office.
  • Give instructions.  Patients and clients need to know what to do next and where to go.  If you are clear the first time, you can reduce the amount of people coming up to your desk and asking questions.  Are the restroom signs clearly visible? When patients complete there paperwork are they instructed to have a seat or do they end up asking you if they should go sit down?

Using some or all of these ideas can help increase the efficiency of your front desk and increase productivity.  An organized environment makes for a much more pleasant work experience.  What ideas have worked in your office or facility?


Medical Receptionists are usually the only people who see virtually every person who walks into their office.  If you have multiple providers, multiple medical assistants, and other staff they are most likely only going to see part of the population that enters the building that day.  The receptionist not only knows the patients, they know the mail carrier, the supply delivery people, the cleaning crew, vendors and anyone else who enters the building regularly.  The receptionist is expected to know if someone walked out of the building, how long ago, and if they checked out.  The receptionist is expected to know the names of all their colleagues no matter how large of a group or organization they are a part of.  They are not just the receptionist, they are sometimes the common denominator and the person who brings all departments together in one way or another.

As a Medical Receptionist you can witness events that are sensitive in nature.  Receptionists are there when people find out their insurance is no longer valid after a loss of a job or a missed COBRA payment.  Receptionists are there when people arrive in high spirits and walk away shattered because of the news or diagnosis they have been given.  Receptionists are there to calm irate or concerned patients in the waiting room.  The receptionist is there when patients can’t afford to pay there deductible.  Receptionists are there when anyone in the office requires their assistance.  Receptionists keep the office organized and also provide tons of information on a daily basis.  They can’t switch roles with a doctor, but I guarantee most doctors would not want to switch roles with the receptionist.

Medical Receptionists have the type of role that is very expansive in nature.  The responsibilities of the role can change and the expectation remains the same…She/he can do it all. Medical Receptionists provide support to management and practitioners and are well in-tune with the needs of their patient population. They are the bridge that connects people within the healthcare center, they are not “just the receptionist” they are a contributing factor in our vital healthcare system.