Many practices have an "us versus them" mentality amongst admin and clinical staff. Clinicians often underestimate the importance of what the front desk does and the impact of efficiency and thoroughness on the practice. Having a solid front desk management system can ensure an exceptional patient experience as well as underestimate the financial impact that their front desk has on their organization. While revenue is the sum of all of the work that your entire team does every day, clean and consistent front desk practices can ensure an uninterrupted flow from patient visit through to claim payment, reducing denials, increasing payments, and ensuring that no revenue is left uncollected. Below are five common front desk mistakes that can cost you revenue and changes you can make to fix them.
NOT COLLECTING PAYMENTS OVER THE COUNTER
If a patient has a copay, coinsurance, deductible or any existing balance on their account, by not collecting their payment when they check in, you run the risk of not collecting it during their appointment. This puts extra work on your billing team, and you run the risk of not collecting it at all.
NOT CLUSTER BOOKING
Cluster booking is a strategy the front desk can use to help manage the case load. This process involves the front desk staff analyzing the schedule at the beginning of the week and trying to reschedule evals later in the week to earlier in the week. The benefits of this technique include: 1. Helping the patient by addressing their problem sooner 2. Creating more patient visits for the week because that patient will schedule follow up appointments 3. Creating open eval slots later in the week.
NOT TRACKING WHERE NEW PATIENTS ARE COMING FROM
One of the key ways Marketing is able to measure the effectiveness of their efforts is from the marketing tracking sheet. Every time the front desk gets a call, they should be asking how the front desk found your clinic - was it a physician? Which one? Oh you saw us on Facebook? A friend told you about us? This is crucial information for the marketing team to determine which efforts are most effective in driving new patients.
NOT COMMUNICATING OFFICE POLICIES
If a patient cancels or no-shows regularly, the front desk needs to communicate that with their clinician to find out what’s going on. If they’re unwilling to reschedule in the same week, the front desk coordinator can and should educate the patient on how this impacts their plan of care. Patients should be reminded of the policies they received in the welcome to the practice folder at their evaluation. By not enforcing these policies, the front desk is enabling the patient and undermining their treatment as well as the therapist’s schedule and time.
Brian Gallagher, PT is the founder and CEO of MEG Business Management, LLC. He has more than 27 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation and 19 years in business and specializes in Physical Therapy practice management and executive coaching nationwide. As a licensed business management consultant, Brian has helped hundreds of business owners nationwide improve their business operations through proper restructuring to achieve improved systems of efficiency and productivity as well as marketing and sales with effective public relations which have proven results for double-digit growth year-over-year with businesses around the country.