Do you find that you struggle to find “doers” to work in your front office? Constantly having to reorient your front office staff to getting patients fully scheduled, showing up, and paying their bill?
Are you frustrated over the lack of confront, lack of motivation, lack of know-how?
What are the titles you use for your front office staff? Do you use receptionist, medical receptionist, or front desk representative as the main title? How about the person in charge of all your insurance handling and collections? Do you call them the medical billing specialist, coding specialist, or billing representative? If so, you could be attracting the wrong people for the position which in turn leads to your frustration and lost time hiring, training, retraining….and hiring again…when they don’t work out.
For those who know me, you know that I love to look up words to have a better understanding.
Here’s the definition of the word receptionist:
a person employed in an office or other establishment to answer the telephone, deal with clients, and greet visitors
Here’s the definition of representative:
a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others, in particular
When someone applies for a job, the first thing they see in the job ad is its title. The title you give a front office position will determine who applies for the job. And if you hire for a receptionist or a representative, you’re going to get exactly what you’re hiring for!
Let’s take a look at a few common front office job titles and what they could mean to someone looking for a position:
- Receptionist: answers phone, routes calls, welcomes or greets clients
- Medical Receptionists: Works in a medical office – does the same as ‘receptionist’ only with patients
- Front Desk Rep: Sits at the front desk
- Biller: Sends bills – this doesn’t even indicate that they’re responsible for collecting what’s due…
- Coding and Billing Rep: understands insurance coding, sends claims
What’s missing from the titles listed above?
They don’t offer a good descriptor of the expectations of the position. Someone who applies for a receptionist position in a business or in a medical office will likely have the perception that their main duty is answering the phones and interacting with whoever is on the phone. Someone who applies for a job with the title of biller or coding and billing rep may have the perception that they will be sending bills and claims, properly coding for payment. With each of these, the one thing that’s missing is that they don’t describe or even come close to describing what someone has to ‘do’ in their position to get their product.
About 5 years ago, I finally got sick of interviewing people who just couldn’t and wouldn’t be able AND willing to do the job I was hiring them for. I felt like I was wasting a TON of time and money trying to find the “right” people for the position and while I didn’t mind investing time in the recruiting and hiring process, I didn’t want to waste it on people who I was never going to hire.
I decided that we needed a complete recruiting and hiring program that weeded out the losers and brought higher quality applicants into my in-box. When I created this program, it weeded out a ton of people who were just looking for a “J-O-B” and it helped me find potential hires that were vested in working for a living. This program significantly cut down on the unwilling candidates as well as the lost time and money that comes from hiring people who only want to do a small part of what you need in exchange for their salary.
To begin to weed out the losers, I established a set way of doing things, from the ads we post, the process that continuously weeds out people who would become a problem if we hired them, and even by using much more specific job titles for the front office staff. I offer this training program to private practice owners and one of the very first things I have them do is define the position’s responsibilities AND create a title that describes what is expected.
What are the responsibilities of our front office staff?
If they’re in direct contact with patients, they need to be able to consistently get their product – which by the way, is ‘people helped’. To achieve their product, they’re constantly managing patients’ schedules: ensuring they’re scheduled for their plan of care, that they’re showing up as scheduled, that they’re paying their bill, and on and on…this isn’t a stagnant job position. It requires constant movement, interaction, planning, coordination, organization, and efficiency.
So, what would be a good title to call that position?
When we made all our changes, we started using ‘Patient Care Coordinator’ for our front office staff.
Here’s the definition of coordinator:
a person whose job is to organize events or activities and to negotiate with others in order to ensure they work together effectively
What do you think now?
Does ‘coordinator’ make it clear that there are some pretty high expectations and does the position title of ‘Patient Care Coordinator’ provide a better description of the front office position? For us, it not only made sense, but it really weened out the losers that were applying. This title makes it clear that we mean business, it demonstrates that we aren’t going to let someone sit around and answer the phones but instead that we expect them to constantly coordinate our patients’ care.
Now, how about using ‘Medical Billing Coordinator’ for the person who’s in charge of everything related to billing? What do you think about that one? Does it make it clear that they’re not just “checking insurance benefits” or “filing claims”? Again, SUPER important position and by making it clear what we needed, we decreased the wasteful contacts that weren’t going to work like we needed them to!
To build a better front end to your practice, you need to start with better staff who are interested, motivated, and willing to learn and take action each day.
I offer my recruiting and hiring program as a 1:1 course and coaching program for practice owners and managers. It is also a bonus for those practices that sign up for my Basic Patient Care Coordinator Program.
My goal is to help you implement consistent actions identify your needs, weed out more those who aren’t a good fit, and help you build a strong team who will help you achieve your dream, your mission, and your values without YOU having to be the one to do it all.
Want to learn more? You can schedule a Discovery Call here to learn more. Don’t waste time recreating the wheel – schedule your free call and get started building a better team today.
Wishing you the best, today and always!