Front office staff plays a big role in the success of a healthcare practice. Long before patients meet with you or other providers, they interact with your staff over the phone and in the waiting room. The same is true after an appointment: If patients have questions about a medical bill or similar item, they speak with your support or billing staff.
Front office staff must provide friendly, timely service to patients while also meeting the needs of healthcare providers. When you recognize all a front office staff person does, it becomes apparent that small- and medium-sized healthcare practices need to hire and support great people. What’s less apparent is how many people you need to ensure your front office operates smoothly.
Read on to learn how you can calculate how many office staff members your healthcare practice needs — and how automation can help keep staff at a minimum without compromising service.
Measure Hours of Work Needed by Front Office Staff
To properly staff your practice’s front desk, first consider all the tasks a front office staff person does. Some tasks to consider include:
- Booking and confirming patient appointments
- Checking in and out patients
- Verifying insurance benefits
- Accepting and processing copays
- Submitting insurance claims
- Returning emails and voicemails
- Fielding patient’s non-medical questions
- Maintaining and pulling files
- Processing new patient paperwork
- Managing practice marketing
- Processing feedback and satisfaction surveys
Next, consider how much time these tasks are likely to take. The easiest way to do this is to speak with your current staff, though you might also want to interview front office staff at a medical colleague’s practice for truly unbiased answers.
Once you have an idea of many hours of work need to be completed in a day, you can gauge how many staff members you’ll need. Add 25% to your final calculation to allow for breaks, emergencies, and inevitable lulls in productivity. Then, divide the daily hours needed by eight — the assumed shift of a full-time employee — to uncover the number of employees you need on a daily basis.
You’ll also need to consider the quality of employees you hire when deciding how many administrators to bring on. Highly efficient, experienced front desk staff might complete more work in a day than novice employees, but they will require higher pay.
Automate Office Tasks for a Streamlined Front Office
Although hiring more administrators can help you create a streamlined front office, so too can automation. Practice growth platform PatientPop helps healthcare practices automate administrative tasks including appointment scheduling and feedback solicitation.
Online scheduling gives your patients the power to book appointments without tying up phone lines. Automated text or email messages eliminate the need to call patients to confirm appointments while also reducing the likelihood of costly no-shows. And automated patient surveys help you gather important feedback to help your practice make necessary improvements and better understand its weaknesses.
With PatientPop, your front office can achieve more with fewer people. To learn more, check out “How to Automate Appointment Reminders and Routine Practice Tasks.”