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Front Office Management

Front Office Management

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Front Office Management

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  1. Front Office Management Jeff Steele, LDO, CPOT Spokane Community College

  2. Objective • Explore the duties and responsibilities of the front office staff and manager • Prepare the student for management position in a clinical or optical situation

  3. Managing the Practice • Staff management • Delegation and Time Management • Telephone Management • Scheduling/ Appointment Management • Patient Record Management • Fee Management

  4. Management of the Practice • Collections management • Managing Patient Recalls • Managing Patient Follow-up • Inventory Management • Computers in the Practice

  5. Important Message!!! • Loyal, well trained staff members are the most valuable management mechanism for any practice.

  6. Staff must be motivated and willing to learn • Technical skills can be taught • Importance of enthusiastic, professional staff with positive attitudes

  7. Staff Training Program • One article or chapter of technical book per week or month • Allocate time during weekly staff meeting • Study time offered during office time

  8. Delegation and Time Management • Well managed time means money • Utilizing staff is like doubling your time… • Doubling your time means generating more income

  9. Delegation, Delegation, Delegation “ The road to genuine efficiency is paved with delegation even though most of us are dragged into it kicking and screaming in a futile effort to maintain what we perceive to be control” Robert Nelson, economist

  10. Excuses For Not Delegating • My staff lacks experience • It takes more time to explain than to do the job myself • A mistake by one of my technicians will be too costly • My patients will pay more attention to me • There are just some things I shouldn’t delegate to anyone

  11. Excuses For Not Delegating • My staff lacks the overall knowledge necessary to make proper decisions • They are already too busy • They just aren’t ready to accept more responsibility • I’m concerned about lack of control when I delegate • I enjoy keeping busy and making my own decisions

  12. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses • Delegation needed for quality vision care • Provides better service • More productive use of professional time • Profitable bottom line

  13. Part of The Management Team • Staff help better manage all areas • All contribute different things • One coach

  14. Telephone Management • Opportunity calling • First point of contact with the practice • One person should be assigned the task • Minimum of 2 phone lines are needed • Answer before the third ring

  15. Telephone Management • Define an initial greeting • Every employee to use this standard greeting

  16. Telephone Management • Identify the practice • Identify the person answering • Offer an opportunity for the patient to continue speaking: “How may I help you?”

  17. Develop Telephone Scripts • Scripts can be used by staff members to answer the most commonly asked questions • Use as guides ( not word for words)

  18. “Hold On, Could You?” • Do you care for the patient standing in front of you first? • Do you take care of the caller first?

  19. Exercise good judgement • First case: “Thanks for your patience” • Second Case: “Thanks for your patience”

  20. Telephone Management • Screen calls based on urgency or importance • Provide priorities for interruptions • Take messages whenever possible to avoid interrupting the office patient flow

  21. Telephone Management • Politeness • Kindness • Consideration • Respect • Smile! • Use the patient’s name

  22. Get the Whole Scoop • Pull patient’s chart and attach telephone message the chart to provide needed background information • Staff can manage many of the telephone inquiries and questions • Delegate when possible • Locate the info immediately or offer to return the call once you have the needed information

  23. Scheduling/ Appointment Management • Ensures smooth, efficient day to day flow • Effective scheduling is managing time well

  24. Scheduling Appointment Management • Time parcel • Allocation by type of appointment • Allocate specific time blocks to new patients, follow up exams, C/L disp, refitting C/L

  25. Scheduling Appointment Management • New patient comprehensive exam = 1 hour • New C/L fitting = 1/2 hour additional • Patient care & handling instructions = 1 hour • Follow-up = 15- 30 minutes • Additional time for elder or child = 15 minutes

  26. Scheduling Appointment Management • Scheduling the first appointment correctly is critical to gaining a lifelong patient

  27. Scheduling Appointment Management • In today’s busy world… the first appointment is best scheduled within one week • Later - The patient may forget, or schedule conflicts occur

  28. Scheduling Appointment Management • To ensure the patient arrives for the first appointment and impress them with quality care • Fax or email a map or directions • Mail, fax or email an office brochure • Mail, fax or email a note of welcome • Send the website address • Telephone or mail in advance the complete the health history information

  29. Scheduling Appointment Management • Confirm the appointment 1-2 days prior • One person should be responsible for keeping the appointment book full • The key-the flow- the daily operation of the practice - IS The APPOINTMENT BOOK

  30. Scheduling Appointment Management • Never rely on memory • Computerize appointing system • All patient files are easily computer linked • In a smaller practice, a manual system works

  31. Scheduling Appointment Management • Offer two appointment times • First available , one alternative • Keep the practice busy • Ensure the patient turns up based on their selected convenience

  32. Scheduling Appointment Management • Reconfirm 1-2 days in advance • Offer method of reconfirmation at time for appointment setting • Discourage “drop ins” as they will interrupt daily flow

  33. Smart Scheduling • Single most effective means to establish efficiency with the patient OR NOT • Shows respect

  34. Smart Scheduling • The commodity of the new millennium is time • If only I had more time, I could do more…… • Time has great value….

  35. Smart Scheduling • “Fill up” the patient’s time if needed • Utilize staff, educational materials • Make “use” of the time…. Value it..

  36. Smart Scheduling • Be observant • Be flexible • Your time is the patient’s time

  37. The Reception Area • Utmost importance to office ambiance • The first /overall impression of the office • Office flow and efficiency is evident

  38. The Reception Area • Nothing succeeds like success • A small area, filled with people, comfortably, is more impressive than a large area that is empty • Balance perception, patient flow, workload to achieve a pleasant profitable, schedule

  39. Managing Patient Records • Alphabetical • simplest • alpha sequence • according to last name • watch for spelling errors! • Results of mis-filing

  40. Managing Patient Records • Numerical • More complex • Assign patient file numbers • Corresponds to cross-reference • Tracks more recent patients • Former patients can be reassigned • Old # = need for recall

  41. Managing Patient Records • Color Coding • Nearly impossible to misfile • Contrasting color stands out • One letter designated as color • A=red, B=blue, C=green • If numeric, color identify patient segments

  42. Managing Patient Records • Daily Task • All staff should be able to file • One person to take lead to manage • File each day to prevent pile up • File each day to prevent lost charts • Identify those charts that doctor has

  43. Fee Management • Written fee statement • Clearly indicate total • Clearly indicate breakdown • No charge items separated • Fees as package or individual items

  44. Fee Management • Fee Agreement • List out items • Patient review & type of payment noted • Patient signature for agreement of responsibility

  45. Diplomacy & grace Believe in your fees Use skilled staff Discuss fees comfortably Encourage payment at time of service Offer variety of payment plans Most common : 50% down, 50% on next visit Monthly payments accepted by discouraged Fee Management Payment Policies

  46. Collection Management • “Accounts Receivable” • Large amount is detrimental • Collect at time of service or delivery • Costly staff time to collect later

  47. Collection Management • Send out billings routinely • 30,60,90, then to collections • Accept credit cards • Offer credit card instead of payment plan • Medical Bills are last

  48. Patient Recall Management • Patients busy, need reminder • Recall ensures ocular health • Eye health is important • Keep reminder simple, efficient

  49. Patient Recall Management • Encourage attitude of regular follow-up • Set the recall appointment “now” or • Notify when you will recall • Preappoint and then remind • Notify by mail, email or telephone • Combine methods • Reinforce why the should return

  50. Patient Recall Management Telephone Benefits • Immediate • Book appointment in one step • If no answer, implement another method • Have script, “This is, Dr. indicated, would MTF be best?”