Do You Know All You Need to Know About Your Medical Practice?

Once you hear the words “your hired” the excitement sets in.  You are ready to learn and get started with training.  At most, you learn about your employer through their website, information from the interview, or someone you know who may work there.  But how much information are you actually getting? Is it enough?

Once you have trained and learned the requirements of your position you are able to provide support to your patients and coworkers.  That is the goal, knowing what to do and how to do it. Great, but how can you further connect with your patient population? There are many ways that people connect with others through their healthcare journey.  

Let’s discuss what you should know about your practice to better serve your patients.  You must understand the span of services that are offered to understand the population you will encounter daily.  Understading the services and what they require of the patient will aide in areas including scheduling, addressing call volume, and at check out.  Understanding the age groups you serve will also help determine some of your most common challenges and best solutions. It is also important to understand if there is a high volume of outside referrals coming in or if your patients are often referred out.  You will then be able to address requests confidently because it is an expected need of your patients.  Depending on the area you are in you can also determine how people most travel to appointments at your location, major highways, public transportation, or walk. All these things just improve how you interact with people as a member of the front desk. Can you give general directions or the closest bus stop?   Do you know the top insurances your office accepts? You should eventually know the majority payors for your facility without looking them up.  The more knowledgeable and comfortable you are in the space of your practice the better you will be able to support your patient population and build a trusting relationship between them and your office.  

You also need to know the information that will help you better communicate with your providers on a daily basis. Understanding what they have to accomplish between each patient is a start.  This way you can gauge the best times to ask questions or have provider requests addressed.  You need to know when an interuption is warranted and what can wait.  Do they have office hours for consults or returning patient calls that differ from there general schedule? This will also help you better guide your patients who have physician specific questions.  You want to have as much knowledge of the inner workings of your office so you can work within them to produce the best outcomes and be efficient.  Depending on the type of medical office you are a part of you may also apply this to your nursing and management team.  Know the best time to communicate and which issue are a priority and what can be addressed later or at the end of the day.    

Lastly, you want your process to be respected as well.  If you are working directly with a patient in the office or on the phone and recieve constatnt interuptions that are not a high priority. Make sure you share the best way for other members of the office to communicate with you when you are with a patient or working on a project.  Perhaps you create a front desk resource for the other people in your practice to allow more cohesive interactions. There are several ways to communicate in an office setting.  Dont be afraid to use them.  

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Medical Receptionists and Patient Interaction

 

Medical Receptionists often have this natural ability to remain calm, professional, and supportive of their patients’ needs.  What if you find those abilities to be more challenging.  Basically, you struggle when patients become upset or dissatisfied, or perhaps you become very defensive or taut during interactions with your clientele.  There is no perfect way to handle certain situations that arise within your office and at the front desk but you can make a difference with your response, reaction, body language and overall demeanor.    One of the most important pieces of advice is to not take it personally.  it is often hard to separate yourself and your feelings from your job responsibilities.  When you have a passion for what you do, you may find it very unnerving when people are not happy with the service and address you directly about it.  On the other hand, if you are not passionate about what you do but work very hard to complete your responsibilities you may be more likely to find yourself on the defense.

How can you keep calm during challenging situations?

Listen-Before you make any assumptions.  Giving your undivided attention during a patient interaction can be very indicative of the potential outcome.

Take Notes-This generally applies if the patient has a complaint or an issue that you must share with another colleague such as a manager or physician.  You want to make sure they have enough information to take corrective actions.  It also improves the communication and reduces the chance of the patient having to repeat the entire situation again.  Lastly, it allows your management or provider the ability to resolve any concerns and be prepared in the event they have to speak directly with the patient.

Express Understanding-Always let your clients know that you understand.  You may not “know how they feel” but you can understand their point, their concern, or their grievance.  Ask how you may help them have a better experience.  Let them know that you will have the situation reviewed by management if needed.

Get Assistance-If you have been working in an office long enough you learn when to recognize a patient who is being abusive or rude.  You know what acceptable behavior looks like for your practice setting.  If you feel threatened or unable to positively respond to a patient it is your responsibility to request help or a witness.  Have management step in when needed.  Do not provoke an unhappy patient.  Remain professional and calm.  You will have more success when you are thinking clearly.

Focus on Solutions-Whenever you encounter a problem in the office you should immediately consider ways to solve it.  Instead of being engulfed with the negative aspects of the issue or the attitude of parties involved, do your best to offer ways to mitigate, resolve, or be supportive in the situation.  This works well with patients and coworkers.  When a fire starts you try to put it out, not spread it.  It only takes one person to be the change. If you can deal with adverse situations without taking things personal you will have a much more fulfilling career.

Most interactions within the medical office are quite cordial, professional, and without many complications.  It is when something does take a turn for the worst or becomes an unusual occurrence that you must be prepared to handle what comes in your direction.  “You are the Bridge” and you have the opportunity and deserve to make the best of every day.

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