Five Factors to Consider When Hiring Healthcare Receptionists
If you’re searching for new receptionists to attend the front desk of your healthcare practice, you may have a checklist of traits to look for in your applicants. However, unlike receptionists in other industries, healthcare receptionists require a unique set of skills to handle the specific needs of operating a medical front desk.
Here are five factors you need to consider when hiring your next healthcare receptionist:
1. Flexibility with duties and responsibilities
Healthcare receptionists do everything receptionists typically do, such as:
- Facilitating the check-in and check-out process
- Scheduling future appointments
- Answering patient inquiries
However, healthcare receptionists can bring much more value than that by taking on administrative tasks that are usually on your provider’s plate. This can significantly benefit your providers by allowing them to focus on their work, making them more productive and energetic.
Some administrative tasks that receptionists can take over for your providers include:
- Answering phone calls
- Responding to patient emails
- Managing data entry
They can also upsell services and packages to your patients, bringing more profit to your practice.
These additional responsibilities, however, depend on your specific needs. You can either require the applicants to have such experience from the get-go or provide the training for them after being hired.
2. Knowledge of HIPAA regulations
Any employee of a healthcare practice is capable of violating HIPAA regulations. This is especially the case with healthcare receptionists, as they handle sensitive patient data on a regular basis when:
- Checking in and out a patient
- Scheduling future appointments
- Doing data entry
The ideal healthcare receptionists have extensive knowledge and experience in observing HIPAA regulations. This cannot be stressed enough: a simple slip-up during work can compromise your practice’s ability to operate.
Here are a few examples of how healthcare receptionists can violate HIPAA regulations:
- Leaving the desk computer open while the screen is displaying confidential patient data
- Easily accessible passwords written on small pieces of paper for reference
- Sharing patient documents with unauthorized individuals
An excellent way to test an applicant’s knowledge of HIPAA regulations is by quizzing them on situations. Ask them if specific scenarios may lead to a HIPAA violation. This leads them to apply their understanding of HIPAA. If they answer correctly, you need not worry about them as they handle sensitive patient data.
3. “What do you do when…”
One of the most challenging aspects for receptionists is managing the customer experience. Sometimes, they may need to deal with difficult or challenging patients who might be unreceptive to your provider’s opinion.
The following can happen if left unchecked:
- Said patients will look elsewhere for their treatment.
- Your providers become frustrated, resulting in burnout or even turnover.
- Other patients see how poorly complex situations are handled in your practice, lowering patient retention.
This is why having skilled receptionists is vital. They serve as the frontline of your practice and can help diffuse situations to maintain the customer experience. Thus, you need to look for healthcare receptionists who can adapt to complex situations and identify solutions on the fly. Besides being able to reduce cancellations, they can maintain or even improve patient retention.
To assess whether an applicant is capable of this, ask situational questions that put their knowledge to the test. Some examples of questions include:
- What do you do when a patient expresses dissatisfaction with the provider’s advice?
- What do you do when a patient claims to have an appointment scheduled at a specific time, but another patient has that slot?
- What do you do when a provider is suddenly unavailable for a scheduled patient appointment?
- What do you do when a patient insists on scheduling their future appointment for when the provider is unavailable?
- What do you do when a patient suddenly appears and demands to see a provider who is unavailable?
4. Culture fit
Finding medical receptionists who are good is one thing; finding medical receptionists who are a good fit is another. As skilled as an applicant may be, if they’re unable to assimilate into your company culture, it can lead to an internal issue for your team.
For a healthcare practice to flourish, it needs its employees to work together harmoniously. This is especially the case with your receptionists who need to coordinate with providers to find appointment schedules that fit the preferences of both the provider and the patient.
That’s only one part of culture fit. Other aspects include how well the applicant:
- Can get along with fellow receptionists
- Can follow internal policies
- Can maintain the team workflow
5. Remote work setup
Your applicant pool will most likely be limited to your local area. While you may find a great healthcare receptionist near your practice, you can miss other potentially more skilled or better-fit receptionists from far away. The clear challenge is being able to access them. It can be difficult to find far away applicants who are willing to relocate.
Alternatively, you can opt for a remote work setup for the receptionist position. This is possible by using a virtual live streaming receptionist platform like WelcomeWare. Besides allowing you access to the best-fit healthcare receptionists for your practice, WelcomeWare provides many benefits like higher utilization and better ROI.
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