The front office of your medical practice is the first impression people get when they come in the door, so you want it to be organized and patient-friendly. Medical Economics lists front office employees as some of the most important people at your practice. As such, you want to make it as easy as possible for your front office employees to get their jobs done.

Typical front office challenges
The typical front office employee has to be able to handle a number of tasks including answering the phones, communicating with medical personnel, scheduling appointments, handling patient information and medical billing, all while providing a positive and friendly environment for customers. This can be a heavy workload at times, and morale in the front office can suffer. The quickest way to improve how your front office employees feel is to reduce their workload. 

How challenges are usually handled
In many practices, when the front office gets stressed and begins to feel overwhelmed, the whole practice suffers. To help the front office, many physicians and physician assistants end up spending a large portion of their time in the office – and sometimes outside of the office – doing paperwork. This kind of environment can lead to stress, low morale and a high employee turnover rate. 

How technology can help
The right kind of technology can help alleviate some of the stress that the front office has due to excessive amounts of paperwork. When the right type of technology is implemented, everyone who works at the practice can focus the health and well-being of their patients.

EHRs and front office management software options can automate some of the scheduling processes by providing an online scheduling option to patients. Online scheduling is fully automated and removes some of the front office staff's workload. All the patient has to do is view the available appointment slots on the practice's website and sign up for an opening. Of course, there will still be some patients who prefer to schedule appointments over the phone. 

Pre-visit requirements, such as insurance verification, can also be done through software tools. The process can be designed so that the patient enters in their insurance data so that it is verified before their visit. This is one less thing the front office staff will have to preform once the patient arrives. Using technology to help front office workers with pre-visit patient information and processes will help the rest of the patient's visit go smoothly.

Medical billing software assists with filing medical claims with insurance companies and determining co-payments, co-insurance, deductible amounts and outstanding balances. A quality EHR system will provide all the relevant patient information for the correct billing forms. Optimized software should help your practice stay HIPAA compliant and streamline the billing process so your front office can improve patient engagement. While there will most likely be a short lull in productivity during the time that the front office workers are learning the new system, once they've become comfortable with these tech tools, productivity should rise.