Four best practice tips for every clinical receptionist

Posted on 17th November 2014 by Andrew Perillo

A great clinical receptionist has patience, skill and dedication. But it takes a deeper knowledge to support clinicians in providing the highest-quality patient services.

Medical professionals dedicate their lives to providing a highly-qualified service. They try to give each patient the time and attention he or she requires, while treating as many people as possible. It’s a true juggling act and, in most instances, time is the biggest issue.

Patients have the right to access medical facilities simply and easily. A clinical receptionist makes this possible. She provides the extra administrative service that a clinician, who’s focusing on patients, can’t always offer effectively. She represents the clinic as a helpful, friendly voice who understands the sensitivity and confidentiality of clinical services and acts accordingly. Yes, she answers the phone, but in reality, her job is far more complex.

Receptionists employed by MyRuby, offer many years of experience acting as clinical receptionists to a wide variety of clinics across the UK. They understand what it takes to maintain the best standard of receptionist duties in healthcare clinics. Here are their best practice tips for providing great clinical receptionist services:

1. Be flexible

The medical profession is a diverse industry. Every practice operates differently according to many factors including its specialism, size, location, and whether it’s a private or public service. Individual clinicians work in different ways. Some, for example, treat patients in the clinic, some visit patients in their homes. Their priorities for patient bookings vary, as do their preferences for handling cancellations. They use different diary systems and implement different policies for taking on new patients.

A great clinical receptionist gets to know individual clinicians and their habits, working practices and schedules. Her knowledge and relationship with each medical professional helps her handle more complex situations with patients. She knows the discrepancies between private and public practices and can work with one professional or multiple professionals with different diaries or schedules, confidently adjusting her booking processes accordingly. She understands what the clinician expects of her and deals with most administrative tasks or problems so that he or she doesn’t have to.

2. Follow processes

A great clinical receptionist is experienced in working for many different practices in different fields. Her knowledge gives her the edge on less-experienced employees and enables her to make more informed judgements. And she can draw on a wide repertoire of best practices and apply them in work with new clinics.

Individual clinics implement their own structures and processes to deal with day-to-day tasks such as patient registration or communication with external organisations. These processes also help clinics comply with a multitude of regulations and promote a consistently high standard of service. A clinical receptionist can adapt to and follow these processes when dealing with every call or situation. And, with experience behind her, she can also suggest or introduce improvements in processes to improve the working lives of professionals, boost efficiencies in the business or enhance patient services.

3. Be an expert in diary systems

There’s far more to managing a diary than answering calls and filling appointment gaps. A receptionist can explain practice requirements for new and temporary patients. She books the right length of appointment according to the type of treatment or the patient’s stage in the treatment cycle. She adjusts her handling of cancellation requests according to the needs of each clinician. And she handles private or public clinical bookings according to different billing processes. For private practices, the receptionist can advise patients on medical insurance information, as well as make calls to health insurance companies to apply for funds or reimbursements.

A great clinical receptionist is trained in and can switch between many different online diary systems used by today’s clinicians. These systems, which include PracticePal, PPS, ClinicOffice, Quinec, and BookingBug, offer practical tools and functionality that help clinicians manage their diaries more efficiently.

4. Handle unusual situations with care

A great receptionist understands the urgency of medical situations, and can handle multiple re-bookings tactfully and efficiently if a clinician is called away suddenly or off sick. She gets to know patients and knows how to best deal with specific ‘patient cases’. Her priority is to ensure clinicians’ diaries are fully occupied. She maintains a smooth flow of patients by sending out appointment reminders to maximise attendance but she also knows what to do in the event of a DNA (did not attend) case.

Many medical professionals keep an audit trail of their administrative processes, from calls taken to bookings and cancellations. These can be kept as daily, weekly or monthly records and it’s the receptionist’s duty to provide them in a format that suits the clinician.

MyRuby offers more than just a great clinical receptionist

With pressure on clinics to provide the highest standard of care, clinicians are turning to receptionists to carry greater responsibilities. But they’re looking for cost-effective alternatives to hiring full-time members of staff. Outsourced telephone receptionist services such as MyRuby offer a smarter, more practical way to provide a complete receptionist service or support existing administrative teams.

MyRuby provides telephone answering and diary management services to primary and secondary healthcare clinics. A MyRuby receptionist offers a quality service as seamlessly and professionally as a full-time receptionist working under the same roof as the clinician. She supports professionals regardless of their specialist field, the breadth of their administrative needs or their location. She understands the clinical profession and applies her knowledge from the start, unlike a permanent employee in training. She forges strong relationships with patients and with clinicians to become a vital part of their working day. But unlike a permanent member of staff, a MyRuby receptionist is always available and is a fraction of the cost of a permanent employee.

Set up is so simple, your MyRuby receptionist can start today. For more information about how a MyRuby receptionist can enhance your healthcare service call MyRuby on 0800 988 0977.

Eight reasons to use online diary for your clinic

Posted on 3rd November 2014 by Andrew Perillo

More and more clinics providing primary and secondary healthcare services are switching from paper diaries to online diary solutions.

As any clinician will know, there’s far more to managing a diary than just answering calls and filling appointment gaps, and online diaries are quickly becoming the most efficient, practical option for clinics worldwide.

In today’s complex practice environment, the tools clinicians and clinical staff use have become smarter and more intuitive, making clinics run more smoothly, putting them in a better position to deliver a higher standard of service and care to their patients.

If you’re still using a paper diary, you need to stop and ask yourself why. We’ve outlined eight big reasons for switching from a paper-based diary to an online alternative.

1. Solve diary synchronisation problems

Each day, clinicians book and see multiple patients, any of whom may choose to cancel or reschedule their appointments. Such schedule changes happen frequently. But synchronising paper diaries is confusing, error prone and time consuming.

An online diary solves the problem because multiple users can share information, view live appointments, and make alterations that others can view in real time. If a change is made in the office, an out-of-office clinician can access the diary from any location and view the change instantly. For practice teams working across offices, countries or even time zones, working together is easier.

2. Improve patient management

An online diary comes with a database where the user can record and access patient information quickly and easily. This means that the booking process is faster for patients because, as the user enters patient details into the diary, the system automatically populates empty fields with existing customer information.

The user can access all patients’ or third-party organisations’ details from one screen. Information is presented in a single page, so when clinicians are speaking to patients, they can see if a new appointment needs to be made or a payment is outstanding. Full encryption and backup, which is available in online diary systems, keeps patient records secure.

3. Easily manage external communications

A clinic can assign any number of third-party contacts, such as GPs, insurance companies, solicitors and hospital consultants, to its online diary. These details are instantly accessible for the purposes of billing, letters, e-mails and other correspondence.

Professional-looking communications are easier and faster to produce because the diary offers templates for emails and Word documents. And every time one of these documents is created and sent, it’s automatically added to a patient’s or organisation’s record, enabling more efficient record keeping and saving the clinic time and printing costs.

4. Ease the clinical practitioner’s day

An online diary records all patient information in one place. Practitioners can access notes and appointment records and add new appointments on a single screen. They can view their up-to-date schedules and easily plan their working days.

Different systems offer specialist features designed to meet the needs of clinical practices. PPS, for example, has a Treatment Episodes feature, which manages episodes of care from initial referral through to discharge, and enables the clinical professional to quickly record diagnosis details and outcomes. Practitioners can set limits on cost or number of consultations and set treatment milestones. They can design custom assessment forms to reduce typing and incorporate body charts, diagrams, pictures or x-rays with patient records.

5. Improve marketing communications and grow revenue

Online diaries can automatically send recall notices to patients who are due for an appointment, saving administration time and helping the clinic to generate a regular flow of patients and boost income.

Data stored online can be used by clinics for marketing campaigns. For example, clinicians might choose to group data according to which patients are due for an appointment, which patients use specific services, and which patients are within a certain age group. This helps them to better target their marketing activity or customise client preferences, such as how patients like to receive information.

6. Simplify your appointments and bookings process

With its simple drag-and-drop features and support for cut and paste, the online diary is extremely easy to use, displaying available free appointments at a glance. It helps clinicians or their receptionists to reduce the number of ‘no shows’ through SMS appointment reminders which are easy to send.

Users can view schedule activity, such as the clinic’s calendar, in different ways such as by day and by week. They can also colour code appointments to make schedules easier to read.

7. Reduce manual accounting tasks

Patients can book and pay for appointments online without the need for administrative support. Meanwhile, clinics can profile appointment fees using a comprehensive income module which automatically displays the fee as each booking is made. Within the module, the user can manage tasks such as raising an invoice, taking a payment, raising patient credit notes, or printing invoices and receipts. The system also manages third-party invoices, and records expenses and detailed audit trails. It can even link to PayPal to eliminate merchant fees for payments.

8. Generate detailed reports for informed decision making

An online diary enables the user to run detailed reports which can be used to support more informed business decisions. With these customisable reports, clinicians or other users can analyse a clinic’s income or view customer invoicing details. They can view reports on open patient cases and medical conditions, they can break down appointments by practitioner or referrer, run detailed stock reports and analyse audit logs.

There are many different online diary systems available for today’s clinicians, each with individual features that suit different types of business. These diary solutions, which include PracticePal, PPS, ClinicOffice, Quinec, and BookingBug, can be customised to meet the needs of your practice and help clinicians and staff work together and with patients far more effectively.

If you don’t use an online diary, you might be surprised to learn that set-up is easy. We’ve helped many clinics make the move – quickly. It’s simple and the rewards are numerous. We provide telephone answering and diary management services which has given us great insight to all of these diary systems. One thing they all have in common – they save time and improve efficiency.

For more information on telephone answering services for your clinic, or moving from a paper diary to an online diary, MyRuby can help. Please contact us on 0800 988 0977.