Where Professionalism Begins and Ends

January 13, 2009
Donna Weinstock

Several weeks ago, I was sitting at a dinner meeting when a new acquaintance asked me what I did for a living. I mentioned that I was a healthcare consultant who worked with physician practices to improve processes, patient satisfaction, and efficiency.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting at a dinner meeting when a new acquaintance asked me what I did for a living. I mentioned that I was a healthcare consultant who worked with physician practices to improve processes, patient satisfaction, and efficiency.

Boy, did I open a can of worms. She went on to say how unprofessional many of the staff members were at her physician’s office. The entire table began to discuss what their receptionists say and do at the front desk. The staff discussed personal issues, talked about other patients, and often ignored the patients.

One receptionist did not bother to look up to welcome the patient. Another person at my table described a receptionist who actually took a personal call on her cell phone while a patient waited to schedule a follow up appointment. I heard a story about a person who walked into an office and was greeted by a receptionist who was eating oatmeal.

It made me think: how much time and training to we devote to our front desk staff? They are the first and often last impression given to your patients. The contact they have with your patients is an essential part of the practice’s image.

It’s important to schedule a review course or seminar for staff to discuss what to say to patients, what can and can not be discussed at the front desk, and how to keep the office environment professional.

Personal telephone calls should never be made from the front desk, especially when a patient can hear. Food should not be allowed at the front desk. Take the opportunity to “role play” with the staff to deal with specific front desk issues.

As a practice, you want to portray an image of professionalism. Include your staff in building that image.

Please email me at donna@officemanagementsolution.com to share your thoughts and suggestions on how you keep your office personnel professional.

donna@officemanagementsolution.com