Review the front-desk job at your medical practice

Find out how to make the most of the practice's front-desk employees.

Q: We've recently had trouble with our front-desk/receptionist position. We've tried a couple different employees, but they didn't last long, so we now usually rotate the position among several staff people. But no one likes that solution either. What should we do about filling this position?

If that's not practical, consider stationing two workers at the front desk, one to perform "hello" functions and another to handle "goodbye" work. The "hello" receptionist greets patients and is the primary telephone operator, taking messages and making appointments. The "goodbye" receptionist acts as the cashier, dealing with exiting patients for their reappointment needs. The "goodbye" receptionist also collects payments, assists with insurance questions, and arranges appointments for diagnostic testing.

The best way to improve your front-desk worker's performance is to restructure the job to make it less stressful. Concentrate on providing positive rewards for great work.

Answers to readers' questions were provided by Judy Bee, Practice Performance Group, La Jolla, California. She is an editorial consultant for Medical Economics. Send your practice management questions to

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