How to Hire a Great Receptionist for Your Medical Practice

Did you know the person sitting at your front desk could be your patient's first impression of your practice? This vital team member does more than just deal with check in​, help with insurance questions, and answer phones. They also handle extremely sensitive information and ensure patients feel comfortable about their appointments. A great medical receptionist understands their role as a practice ambassador and can maintain a mature, discreet, professional demeanor even under pressure. Plus, finding someone well-versed in practice management software wouldn't hurt.

Here are a few things to remember when interviewing candidates for your front desk: 

Personality is key
Your receptionist sets the tone of your office, so you need to consider what kind of personality is most compatible with your practice. Someone upbeat and bubbly, for example, may be best suited to a practice with many younger patients. However, a front desk person who is patient, calm, and good at communicating may be more reassuring for elderly patients. If your office encounters patients during a difficult situation, you may want to find someone with counseling experience who is sensitive to the needs of others. 

Multitasking is a must
Regardless of their personalty type and area of expertise, every receptionist must understand how to multitask effectively. This means your new hire needs to be extremely organized both inside and out. For example, imagine the phone begins ringing while a patient checks in. At the same time, one of the doctors demands to see a chart and another patient asks how much longer they'll need to wait. A great receptionist would know understand how to respond, but how do you find this person during the interview process?

According to Robert Half, a professional staffing firm, when looking for a new receptionist ask candidates how they would prioritize several tasks and look for signs that they're detail-oriented people who thrive on task completion. Additionally, the source adds that receptionists must have great interpersonal skills. They should know how to get along with a wide range of people and a wide range of demands. 

Tech-savvy is a plus
Getting up-to-speed on how to use Practice Management (PM) or Electronic Health Record (EHR) software may sound intimidating, even to the most computer literate. However, the faster your front desk person is comfortable with the technical aspect of their workflow, the faster they'll be able to address everything else. That's why, according to Software Advice, it's important to only train employees on tasks that they're actually going to use. A receptionist may need to know how to attach a scanned document to a patient's EHR chart, but teaching them how to submit an electronic claim could lead to confusion. The source recommends conducting an assessment of your new employee's level of computer proficiency before you start the training process. 

Hiring a receptionist can be a simple process as long as you understand what qualities will best suit your practice. Be sure that you know what you want before bringing in someone new, and do not be afraid to ask for input from other staff members. As long as you stay informed, finding the right person to complete your team will be a breeze.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is a NueMD writer currently living in Atlanta, GA. She enjoys commas, hot dogs, and long walks on the internet. 

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