Empower Your Practice
Journal for Practice Managers

Practice Management System: The Best Ways to Train Receptionists

Michael May
November 13, 2019

When you are running a healthcare business like a private clinic, your colleagues' job satisfaction is absolutely vital. It influences the patient experience much more than you might have realised. The human interactions at the reception desk represent your first impression on many patients, so you need to make working there as straightforward as possible.

Selecting a practice management system (PMS) is one of the most effective ways to improve work efficiency and job satisfaction in one fell swoop. All you need to do is learn how to train your colleagues to get the best out of your chosen system. In this post, we'll explain exactly how your receptionists stand to benefit and how you can make sure that they do.

practice management system for receptionist

How to Start the Journey to Paperless Practice

Main clinics struggle under the sheer weight of paperwork they have to handle to provide their services. Using the right practice management system in your clinic is a huge step toward streamlining your entire workflow, improving the patient experience and ultimately increasing your revenue. With the right training on how to use a practice management platform, admin staff will have many of their currently time-consuming tasks automated in a digital fashion.

In order to increase acquisition and retention rates, you need to engage with your patients and take them along on the journey. Use these simple principles to get started.

Once you have a patient's mobile phone number and email address, you can:

  • Send out automatic reminders at your chosen time intervals to boost patient retention rates as you don't waste time slots on no-shows.
  • Share useful information about discounts, promotions and new services specific to patient subgroups, e.g. those over 55 years of age

__sms and email from pms__ Your practice management system ought to offer automated and manual patient communication options

Adding an appointment to the clinic's schedule should be a matter of a couple of clicks:

  • Your PMS should support colour-coded tags in appointments and patient records to alert you to appointment status, patient specifics like allergies, and payments due.
  • A more organised daily workflow raises job satisfaction and influences the patient experience. The result - much higher patient retention.

colour-coded tags in pms A practice management system with colour-coded tags makes for easy admin work

Patients want access to online services more than ever. It's the perfect opportunity to boost patient acquisition as you make your services more accessible than others:

  • Link your online booking to your website and social media accounts to take the load off your phones.
  • Allow patients to select a convenient time slot that suits them perfectly.
  • Add as much information about the doctor as possible

online booking pms Practice management system integration with transparent online booking

A greater number of online services means there's less to do at the actual reception desk:

  • Reducing the burden of continuous phone calls means your receptionists can spend far more time helping patients face-to-face in the waiting room.
  • This has a wondrous effect on the patient experience and helps to create a great first impression.

How to Optimise Your Workflow for the Digital World

All practice employees need to be up to speed with the work culture that you have fostered, and going digital is a great opportunity to make some changes. This can be tough if you don't approach it right, but once everyone sees they pulling in the same direction, each and every role within the clinic becomes easier to fulfil. Make sure your colleagues have a clear understanding of precisely how to use your practice management software features. This makes all the difference in the world.

Going paperless is a demanding challenge but when done right, it offers you an excellent chance to get the most out of your receptionists. Here's what you ought to consider when making the leap.

Going digital is the perfect opportunity to clean away the cobwebs and reinvigorate your colleagues:

  • Take a serious look at your clinic as a business and a place of work.
  • What would you like to change about your existing way of working?
  • What would your colleagues change if they could?
  • Discuss your current workflow with the Medesk team. We will help you transition to a digital platform and optimise your whole approach all at the same time.

Prior preparation is everything. In fact, it's the key to a much more efficient workflow down the road:

Rely less on your memory and more on smart tools that keep you on track at all times. You don't want to be chasing things up last minute! Focus on:

  • Categorise all of the different aspects of your admin work with coloured tags and marks.
  • Handle all your tasks in order of urgency so you never leave a patient waiting.
  • Reduce stress levels with clear and transparent task management.

task handling pms Practice management system features must include task handling options

How to Leverage Training Options

Receptionists are frequently required to be expert multi-taskers and this is no different when using a medical practice management software. It’s simply part of the job and cannot be avoided, so it’s best to get on top of the matter right from the beginning and ensure that all employees are well aware of how to manage their workload properly. The more balanced and controlled your workday, the better your quality of work and the happier you are. This all feeds back into improving the patient experience and encouraging patients to come back time and time again.

Don't be afraid that computer literacy will let you down. There's plenty of training out there and it doesn't have to cost a pretty penny to get the support you need.

pms training options Practice management system training should be freely available

With Medesk you can:

  • Read step-by-step manuals and video guides to take the initiative and get to grips with all the features in your own time.
  • Request on-screen tutorials on any topic you need, whether it's how to manage invoicing, how to control online booking or whatever else comes to mind.
  • Use Live Chat to make certain that IT is never an obstacle when you use Medesk. Our specialists are on hand throughout the day to provide expert support with custom screenshots and videos.

How to Organise Your Work Online

Colour-coded Tagging

In order to maximise your receptionists' potential, it’s worth understanding what takes up most of their time. Your chosen medical practice management software solution should use colour coding, which assists your workflow in all sorts of ways. Based on this, you’ll be able to build up spreadsheet reports that demonstrate exactly what’s going on. When you combine this hands-on approach with colour-coded tags, it’s rather simple to work out what’s going wrong and learn how to fix it.

Create colour-coded tags to mark different tasks. It's always worth using tagging as a means of understanding where you can improve.

To this end, you could try tagging:

  • Reasons for incoming calls

    • Is there information missing from your website?
    • Are many bookings still coming through by phone?
  • Complaints/feedback

    • Is it about a specific colleague or service?
    • What can you do about it?
  • Documents

    • Do patients need repeat prescriptions or physical copies of invoices?
    • Are you providing patients with all the necessary paperwork at the right time?
  • Callback requests

    • Is there information you could have shared at the time of a patient's visit?
    • Is there enough on your website to embolden patients to book online directly?
  • Online bookings

    • What proportion of bookings are coming in online?
    • Which acquisition channels are most cost-effective?

How to Foster a Workplace Culture That Really Works

As well as making sure that your receptionists don’t fall for all the usual traps associated with a busy workload that’s crammed with a wide range of tasks to be completed simultaneously, you would be well-advised to acknowledge and reward staff once they get the hang of things.

paperwork in private practice

Take an approach to that encourages your colleagues to do their very best at all times. Here's how you get the most out of your receptionists:

  • Employ positive reinforcement as a vital tool when training employees at all levels.
  • Everyone likes to know they are responsible for a job well done.
  • The classic approach of an "employee of the month" hall of fame works well in healthcare just as it does in other spheres.
  • Go one step further and show everyone exactly what your star colleague did with your practice management system to stand out.
  • Put receptionists in touch with specialist tutors via live chat to help them navigate a practice management system and maximise your clinic’s potential.

Bringing it All Together with a Practice Management System

Following on from making your colleagues feel great about their efforts and rewarding them accordingly, you would do well to capitalise on their performance. When it comes to practice management systems in healthcare, there’s always something extra that can be done with the right knowhow. You are sure to have some receptionists that really take a shine to your chosen platform and you may as well put them forward for further free training. You never know, you might even find a new practice manager among your own people.

By combining the best of traditional training methods with a direct, on-screen approach, Medesk provides your receptionists with all the support that they need to make your practice excel. We work hard to optimise your workflow and give you the chance to reap the rewards of a properly balanced and efficient workload.

After all, when you and your team are satisfied at work, your patients and your business only stand to benefit.

How to Train Receptionists - Checklist

There's a lot to take in when it comes to selecting a practice management system. Ensuring your receptionists are up to speed is one of the most challenging aspects of it all, so here's a handy 10-step checklist to keep you on track.

1. Discuss your current workflow with receptionists. What could be changed?

2. Create booking confirmation and automated reminders via SMS and/or email

3. Use colour-coded tags to organise appointment information

4. Add online booking options to take receptionists off the phones

5. Allow patients to choose time slots and reduce time spent on handling cancellations

6. Make a step-by-step guide to filling out patient records in full

7. Link tasks by appointment and patient record

8. Leverage all the online training offered by your PMS provider

9. Keep track of your receptionists' progress

10. Be ready to adapt and willing to change

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