An Unorganized Front Office Means an Unhappy Patient: 7 Ways to Streamline Operations
When a patient walks into your office, does he see loose files, phones ringing off their hooks, and employees scrambling because there was not enough help? Or does he see a front office that runs smoothly and efficiently?
Your Front Office Should make the Right First Impression
A disorganized office makes a patient uncomfortable. They might even worry about a dentist’s ability to provide quality dental care if she cannot even keep the front office organized.
An unorganized front office makes the workers uncomfortable too, and this discomfort ultimately results in poor efficiency as workers exhaust themselves trying to keep up. The hectic pace and passion for exceptional patient care can make the front office of a dental practice a very stressful place to be. Disorganization causes most of this stress, according to the American Association of Dental Office Managers. The association goes on to say this disorganization usually indicates outdated management systems. Disorganization causes inefficiency and ineffectiveness that affects everyone involved, including the dentist, front office workers and patients.
The inefficiency and ineffectiveness caused by disorganization make patients very unhappy, as they can result in appointments that run later or longer than scheduled, rescheduling, rushed care and an endless variety of mix-ups and misunderstandings.
Seven Ways to Streamline a Front Office to Make Dental Patients Happy
- Get Weave’s Team Chat feature to improve communication between workers and use Weave’s two way texting to communicate with patients. Good communication among co-workers streamlines operations and improves patient care. Weave replaces your phone provider with unlimited lines along with unlimited long distance and local calling; it even comes with texting. Weave also syncs with your dental software so the patient’s information pops up on a computer screen when the client calls your practice – no more putting the patient on hold to look up his information.
- Digitize your billing and scheduling. For best results, use Weave software that integrates all the essential patient information into one convenient location that all workers can access. This software allows employees in all departments to participate in improving organization in the front office and elsewhere in the practice.
- Improve inventory management. Nothing stops patient flow quite like running out of A2 composite or other essential materials. Review and streamline your inventory control policies and discuss delegation of ordering responsibilities. Assess and catalogue all the items in your dental office to ensure their necessity and effectiveness within the practice – dental office technology changes and outdated items may cause disorganization.
- Provide standard training for every member of the front office team. Creating a set of standards puts every worker on the same page and improves inter-office flow.
- Create clear job descriptions to reduce confusion. Job descriptions ensure the completion of all tasks and help each worker determine the individual tasks they need to complete.
- Require cross training, where team members of the front office staff learn how to each other’s jobs. Cross training ensures the completion of every task, even if a worker is out of the office for a time. It also helps office members look at the function of the office as a whole rather than just focusing on their own jobs. Cross training encourages teamwork and cooperation that streamlines office flow.
- Perform routine job reviews and provide incentives for staying on track. Job reviews are also a great time to get valuable feedback about improving efficiency from the front office workers. Encourage your front office staff to come up with their own innovative ideas for improving efficiency.
Make your patients happy with an organized and efficient front office. Organizing your practice can make every moment of the dental experience, from walking in the door to leaving with a healthy smile, an efficient, comfortable and happy experience for your patients.