You are who you hire. Sounds a bit like you are what you eat except it makes a lot more sense. We’ve all walked out of offices after meeting the staff at the reception because they were disrespectful or didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Good service is also why we keep going back to certain places. The impression you got of employees is almost always the impression you form on the person who hired them before you even get a chance to meet or see them.
For a doctor hiring the right office staff is an essential factor for the success of that office. We’ve all been in a doctor’s office and some of us realized that the office staff seemed disorganized and lost. How does that make us feel about the doctor? If you hire someone who isn’t organized then organization isn’t probably an important matter to you and no one wants to visit a doctor who isn’t organized because it’s a way of life. At the same time amazing office staff can paint a great picture of their physician and make your visits very pleasant. Let’s take a look at the duties of office staff, how to hire the best personnel possible, and the things to look for when hiring.
Working at the front desk in a clinic isn’t easy and there are lots of tasks to be fulfilled. One of these is to make patients feel welcome. It’s pretty logical that if the people working in a place annoy you that you won’t be going back. It doesn’t matter if the doctor is the best doctor in the state; nothing is worth putting up with people who make you uncomfortable. If a doctor doesn’t realize that his or her staff are why patients are leaving then the practice could end up suffering. At the same time being pleasant and welcoming is great for business. Especially since waiting hours are infamous for being long at a doctor’s office it helps to have people who are concerned about your comfort and make the wait less agonizing.
One of the major points in the job description of someone working at the front desk would be scheduling appointments. This can be a major nuisance for patients if the scheduling is done incorrectly and lots of mix ups happen. No one wants to take time out of their day to visit the doctor only to be told that there’s been a mix up and that they should come again tomorrow or next week. Frustration with the front desk especially for a patient who’s in pain could lead to that patient being vocal about the issue in the doctor’s office and there’s no way a scene is good for practice.
Your office staff should also be great at handling bills. You need people who make sure you get paid by talking to insurance companies in order to receive your billings. Otherwise you’ll be working and not receiving the full amount you deserve. They’ll also be responsible for communication between your office and other offices and hospitals. This will include emailing, faxing, and copying documents. A lot of the duties of your staff rely on communication skills so that’s something to keep an eye out for while hiring. Of course these aren’t medically trained personnel so it goes without saying that they won’t play any role in the diagnosis or treatment of patients.
So how do you hire the best people to help your practice flourish? It won’t be an easy task and it will definitely take time if you want the results to be satisfying. The first step is to let people know you’re hiring. One of the ways to do this is through an ad. The ad you post should be a little specific about the kind of person you’re looking for. It should include job requirements, duties, work schedule, compensation, and additional skills needed such as communication skills. You should also make the ad appealing in order to attract people. This can be achieved by mentioning a little about your practice. These ads can be posted in sites such as LinkedIn or even in the newspaper.
You’ll also need to pay a little higher than others if you want to hire the best. You can use a website such as salary.com in order to get an estimate of how much office staff usually make then add a little more to that. Think of it as an investment in your practice. You pay a little more in order to hire people who can take your practice to new heights. You’re paying a little more but exceptional personnel will bring in more money to your practice.
It would be wise to look for applicants who have done this before. Working in a medical setting can be a little different than other businesses so hiring someone who already knows how things works will save training time. While interviewing applicants be attentive and try to analyze the person you’re interviewing and find out their kind of personality. You could do this through role-playing. You can pretend to be an aggravated patient and see how the applicant will react.
The way an applicant shows up for an interview should also be something you pay attention to. You want someone well groomed and who shows up on time. Of course there’s a risk that someone looks better for an interview than they do in the 2nd month of the job, but if someone shows up to an interview looking messy then there’s probably not going to be much improvement on that.
It’s important to take your time when hiring and not rush into hiring the first applicant you find impressive. Think about it and meet everyone, maybe the last applicant you see turns out to be the best. Don’t forget to call an applicant’s references in order to make sure everything they say is true and to find out what their previous employers think about them.
Hire someone who knows their finances. Billing can be a tiring matter with all the insurance companies and different payment methods. If the people you hire aren’t very good at it then you could end up not being compensated for what you do. They should also be comfortable asking for money. Some patients aren’t insured and pay for themselves. So it’s important that your staff aren’t shy to ask for money from patients.
As we mentioned earlier in the article your office staff will have lots of responsibilities. Some people can’t handle more than one task at a time and that’s okay, but you shouldn’t be looking to hire them. You need someone who’s comfortable multi-tasking so they can handle all of their duties without dropping or messing up any of them. This will definitely make life much easier for you. You’re also going to need to find someone who can use your software. Documentation is a basic part of any medical practice and you probably already have documentation software set up for your practice. You can add to your ad that you’re looking for someone with previous experience in using that software which will save you training time.
Basically hiring the correct personnel is one of the most important things you will do for your practice. They’ll push it forward or bring it down. They’ll have lots of responsibilities such as scheduling appointments, billing, collecting payment, and making patients feel comfortable and at home. It’s important to take your time and not rush into finding someone to hire. Find people who know what they’re doing, preferably have done this before, have experience, know the works of a medical practice, and have great communication skills. Be prepared to pay a little extra for an excellent applicant, but think of it as an investment in your practice.