A dental front office is a busy place and the staff have specific duties. The most important part of being a part of a dental front office team is ensuring that patients get the attention they need. Today, with COVID-19 and social distancing mandates, most dental offices have limited the number of front office staff or have just one person working part-time at the front desk. This would mean that the limited staff or sole dental receptionist would have to handle dental office management tasks in addition to making time for patients. Fortunately, there is a solution – hiring a virtual office assistant. With the right virtual office support, the front desk can focus on each patient the moment they step into the office and create a lasting impression on them. A positive patient experience is critical for the success of the dental practice.
Are your front office staff overwhelmed with non-patient duties?
In many dental offices, the responsibilities of dental front office staff include:
- Answering the phone
- Welcoming patients on arrival
- Patient appointment scheduling and cancellation
- Completing and filing insurance forms
- Document creation, scanning, and filing
- Filing dental billing records
- Processing mail
- Verifying patient insurance eligibility
- Explaining dental programs
- Addressing patient payment inquiries
But many of these are non-patient duties and handling all of these tasks can be challenging when multiple phone lines are ringing nonstop and people are waiting to check-in and check-out. If the front office is overwhelmed with such responsibilities, they will be unable to take care of people face-to-face.
The real focus of the dental receptionist should be on creating a warm welcoming atmosphere and making the patient experience as comfortable as possible so that dentists can concentrate on patient care and treatment. They should greet patients pleasantly as they arrive for their appointment. Making eye contact as they talk to patients is important to show that they are paying attention to them. They should focus on answering their questions in the best possible way and address any concerns patients may have calmly and efficiently. Phone etiquette is also crucial to create a good impression. To ensure a seamless patient experience, front office staff need to support patients all through their visit to the check-out process, which often includes scheduling future appointments.
It’s obvious that assigning too many duties to front office can interfere with making patients feel welcome and comfortable. This is especially important in the present situation where dental offices may be short of front office staff. This is where hiring a virtual assistant can prove really useful.
How a Virtual Office Assistant can help a Dental Office run smoothly
A virtual office assistant can handle non-patient responsibilities efficiently so that dental office receptionists can do what they do best – focus on putting patients at ease and making them as comfortable as possible. The HIPAA-secure remote support that a virtual assistant can provide includes:
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Verifying all patient social, demographic and clinical data, patient consent forms, health insurance forms and payments, which will reduce administrative processing time.
- Claims submission, including dental insurance eligibility verification prior to the office visit.
- Explanation of benefits (EOB) management
- Dental billing and coding for accurate claims processing and optimal reimbursement.
- Claims follow-up and management of claim denial/delayed payments.
A virtual office assistant can also help with patient communication, referrals, and general accounting and administrative procedures.
The bottom line: If you want to see your dental office front desk function in an organized, efficient manner, consider hiring an expertly trained and experienced virtual office assistant. As dental offices tackle the challenges of opening with limited staff, this remote support can save time, money and resources.