5 WAYS TO IMPROVE FRONT DESK FUNCTION

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?

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