5 Tips for Front Office Success

As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true when it comes to your medical practice. Your front office maintains patient flow, handles accounting, schedules appointments, verifies insurance, answers the phone, and much more. Most importantly, these are the first faces your patients will see during every visit. Maintaining a roster of top-notch front staff is key in keeping an office running smoothly, patients happy and driving revenue. Below are five tips that will set up your front office for success.

Professional manner.

Being professional goes beyond greeting people as they walk through the door. Train your office staff to be courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful upon initial contact with patients. A positive and helpful attitude can go far when dealing with sick or frustrated people. Ensure your staff is aware of all office expectations and priorities. The front office should be willing to go above and beyond for each and every patient whether it’s by phone, email, or in person. In addition to a professional attitude, maintaining an acceptable appearance and clean waiting room also makes a huge impact. Implementing these habits will drive your practice and make sure that your office stands out among many other choices.

Ensure consistency.

Make sure that your front office is consistent. Whether it’s with patients, physicians or other employees, continuity is key. Develop a script for frequently asked questions within your office. This helps things move in a timely manner and ensures people are receiving quality and consistent answers.

Implement checklists.

When you have a busy medical practice, it is easy to overlook important issues. While checklists may seem old-fashioned, it is important that they are applied and followed. In order for your staff to stay on top of their responsibilities, develop a daily checklist that includes details of required tasks to avoid misinterpretation. This will ensure there is a balanced workload for each staff member and will increase productivity.

Steady communication.

Front office staff needs to be in constant communication with each other as well as medical staff. Communication among the practice helps in reducing errors, completing tasks, and handling potential conflicts before they arise. In addition, your staff needs to be in constant communication with their patients. This helps reduce the number of no-shows, cancelled appointments, and grievances.

Financial policies.

It is essential that your front office is well-informed about the practice’s financial policies in order to explain them clearly to patients. All front office staff members should address financing options when patients call to make appointments and upon first visits.  Doing this ahead of time prevents confusion and assists in keeping the office flowing smoothly.

To keep your patients happy and returning, the front office is key to your practice’s success. The front office is the “face” of your practice and it is crucial that the employees are well-trained, knowledgeable and happy. Patient loyalty is built on first impressions so by having a successful front office, you’ll achieve a successful medical practice!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
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