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I have been in dentistry for longer than I care to admit and I see some of the same mistakes made over and over. One of the most prevalent is what happens when there is staff change over. When a Hygienist or Assistant leave you hire a new employee, they are under the direct supervision of the Doctor. The Doctors supervision makes sure the Assistants and Hygienists get properly acclimated to the practice and get any additional training that is needed, making sure these hires well integrated into the practice.

But what happens when the front office needs to be replaced, because the front desk person is fired or they quit. Either way hiring a new front office person is never easy, the transition is often bumpy, and training is most often non existent. You hope that they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk from the interview.

The front office position is so important for any office. It all starts with the first phone call, how that call is answered makes the difference of whether the clinical staff even gets to see the patient. Making sure the systems are in place, and running smoothly is usually not what the Doctor wants or is even able to do. Most clinicians know when it is not working but not how to make it work properly. These are just some of what the front office is responsible for on a daily basis:

Phone (1st Impression of Office), Financial Arrangements, Scheduling Efficiently, A/R Control, Verify Insurance, Recall, Treatment Presentation, Outstanding Insurance Claims,
Check Out/Collect Co-Pay, Maintain Conversion Rate

If your front has been fired then it is even more important to have a check-up of your systems. Checking that everything is caught up or setting up a plan to get the systems where they need to be is important.

If your front desk person is not trained properly, then the mistakes of the last front desk person are compounded, the new staff member does what he/she has done before (right or wrong). If they are a good hire and are not trained they will get frustrated and leave.

Thus we begin the cycle again. When you hire new Front office staff make sure they are trained properly and have support. If you don’t have someone at the front who can do the train bring in an outside consultant to train, they can also look at all of your systems and make sure they are running properly.