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The front office staff delivers the first and last impression that every patient receives. You’ll find this role goes by many different titles, sometimes customer service representative, dental receptionist, front desk agent, medical office assistant, patient coordinator, office manager, or even patient service representative. However, the care given in this role — while not medical — is critical in the success of a dental practice. Duties often include answering phones, helping new patients with intake forms, verifying insurance plans, explaining dental programs, scheduling appointments, and resolving payment inquiries. And, of course, this role requires a friendly and engaging temperament that makes patients feel welcome at the practice.
DentalPost takes a look at what are the duties and responsibilities of a Dental Front Office staff member.
How much does a dental front office staff member earn, and what is the career outlook?
Are you looking to hire dental front office staff members? Here are a few tips from our trusted experts.
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The best candidate for a dental receptionist ought to possess either a high school diploma or a certificate of vocational training.
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The dental front office’s role in enhancing the smooth running of a professional dental office is far too impressive to ignore. Working at the front desk of a dental office, the front office team ensures ultimate patient treatment by providing dental professionals adequate time to administer dental care and patient treatment.
There are endless benefits that you could enjoy from being the face of the front desk at a dental office. They include potential job growth, varying job duties, flexibility, and professional interactions. Before deciding to work at the front desk of a dental office, there are tips that you have to keep in mind. Below are more details.
The dental front office job has the advantage of versatility. Besides dental practices, a dental front office team member can still work in different healthcare facilities such as clinics, dental schools, and hospitals.
The responsibilities of a front desk coordinator at the dental front office stretch far and wide. They include filling dental professionals’ work schedules, handling computer-related tasks, general administration tasks such as scanning, printing, communicating with health insurance organizations, booking appointments, sorting forms, billing, faxing, and software management, among other roles. A receptionist at a dentist’s office can also assist with security measures.
The dental office manager does both written and unwritten endless tasks that might easily miss your attention. For example, with the current COVID 19 pandemic, dental experience, and excellent communication skills can help a receptionist at a dentist facility liaise with the community ideally while representing professionals from the dental industry.
The healthcare industry is one of the most diversified fields of life – creating the impression that you will secure a job. For example, in the Dental Front Office, you must first complete high school and excel with a diploma.
To work as a receptionist at a front dental office, you also have to possess a General Education Development credential. You can also get access to on-the-job-training courses to maximize the versatility of working while you advance your career options. A great resource is AADOM (American Association of Dental Office Managers)
Before becoming a front desk receptionist, you can also target acquiring an associate’s degree program or certificate in medical administration and office administration or any other healthcare-related field. An excellent dentist’s office manager has to be perfect in software management, Microsoft Office applications, and spreadsheets, among different roles.
It would be best to have dynamic skills and techniques as a great front office team member at a dentist’s office. For example, you must have excellent skills in communication, be great at working with team members, have full-time availability, empathy and wisdom.
Since some patients could prove too challenging to handle, a front office team member needs to be discerning, understanding, and compassionate. When the patients’ responses or reactions become extreme, it is best to stay calm as outstanding professionalism is the true mark.
Most importantly, you must be familiar with the use of office facilities and equipment, phone calls, and fax machines.
One of the primary roles of a receptionist at a dental clinic is proper and effective communication with patients and clients through exhibiting excellent office administration skills. It is vital to communicate respectfully and wisely with all patients from contrasting backgrounds. So you need to possess multi-tasking skills and knowledge.
For every patient at the dental office, the receptionist must compile a list of the costs of the procedures administered and services rendered. Here, you might notice that most patients may cover their medical expenses through the help of health insurance policies. As a qualified team member, you must determine how much the patient needs to pay upfront and how much the insurance company will cover.
In many scenarios, dentists’ receptionists use the help of accounting software coupled with credit card terminals to perform various transaction records. The idea is to ensure that all the details of the patient, as well as organization correlate.
There are specific dental offices with a medical coder or a billing specialist responsible for billing insurance agencies. In a dental clinic and offices, a dental receptionist is responsible for performing these duties. When billing insurance, specific corporations require correct codes for every dental procedure to help determine the total cost that is their responsibility.
Additionally, the teaching of insurance billing processes occurs during on-the-job training as the new dental front office receptionist. Also, there are specific software programs and coding books that are available to make this task easier. You can go to Beyond Oral Health for more information on coding.
Dentists’ front office teams are to be accountable for recording a patient’s information and administered procedures. A dental front office receptionist is responsible for using those records to keep up with every patient’s information. In dental offices, patient records can be automated or in a paper filing system.
According to dental practice, every patient’s contact information should be kept in patient’s files only available to the DDS and staff. Examples of this information include; allergies, medication, procedures, treatment plans, long or short-term dental care plans, copies of insurance cards, and dates of services.
Dental team members must follow precise rules in a dental office. For example, during this covid-19 pandemic, they should encourage patients always to have their masks on and keep a social distance. Additionally, the front desk receptionist strictly understands the roles they are to perform. It helps the team members to work efficiently and perform their duties as required.
Front Office staff requires a proactive attitude to help them focus on handling their daily tasks efficiently. A detail-oriented person is patient and determined to fully explore and understand an issue to solve it accurately, especially if it relates to the dental front desk.
Interpersonal skills are an essential aspect that helps the front office team interact one-on-one with patients appropriately. They have to work closely with the dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and patients to ease coordination. There are times where the patients are in intense pain; others are mentally stressed, so the front office receptionist should be thoughtful of their emotions.
A dental front office team member is responsible for a vast number of managerial tasks. Assistants sometimes act as the front office team. Examples of functions that assistants help with include form filling, insurance claim dispensation, payment procedures, and many more.
One of the most attractive dental front desk receptionist traits is organizational skill. It would be best if you were prepared by being incredibly organized and assertive. The dental office environment is constantly changing and upgrading, meaning you need to stay assertive in any change.
Moreover, desirable organizational skills help a dental receptionist keep all the records in the correct location to help the dental hygienist or the DDS access them. Also, it aids in maintaining accurate patient information, treatment plans, and even when recording additional information, work is made more comfortable for you and your dental office manager.
The current global age requires decent knowledge regarding computer skills. Technology is a significant element in every career, and dental reception is not an exception. Apart from increasing productivity, basic computer skills help store vast information, thus improving healthcare delivery based on patient health history.
An efficient front office member does not require any intricate skills to operate computers. All they need is to have basic knowledge in handling computer data. Computer-based education improves clinical outcomes as patient information and other medical data are well-organized, therefore efficient for data processing.
Following the ADA and ADHA code of ethics, healthcare professionals treat patients with compassion and respect. Patient care is about building a career because the mission is saving lives and restoring good oral health. An efficient dental professional portrays a genuine kind attitude when dealing with patients.
Moreover, according to evidence-based clinical statistics, the relationship between healthcare professionals and health experts plays a significant role in patient’s health. Patients who develop positive relationships with their care providers are more likely to have better oral care. The reason behind it is that patients respond best when they receive care in a welcoming, positive environment.
That way, patients willingly provide all the necessary information that is crucial regarding evidence-based healthcare delivery.
A significant disadvantage of employment is a tight schedule. Often, people rarely get enough time to rest and cater to other essential projects.
As a dental professional, you can work part-time or full-time, depending on the existing circumstances. Even though most Front office members work Full-time, there is work part-time for specific offices and positions.
Similar to other medical fields, the dental sector is broad. Working in the dental front office allows you to expand your career. You can move into more advanced positions through proper training and a few years of experience, such as a Front Office Manager.
Undeniably, medical facilities can get stressful. Think about the pressure of handling patients coming through the emergency entrance. At times, there is too much to do that health experts have to work for longer shifts.
Fortunately, working in a dentist’s office is peaceful as the environment is quiet. Also, you will be working with one health professional, thus finding it convenient to follow instructions. As a dental professional, you do not have to deal with multiple patients all at once.
The front office team has an important role, as they are the first people to interact with many of the patients. It’s a perfect opportunity to build healthy relationships with people from different backgrounds. Moreover, every health worker should make it a priority to develop healthy bonds with patients.
Following the ADA and ADHA code of ethics, the more you build healthy relationships with patients, the better you provide high-quality healthcare delivery. Also, regular interaction with the dental team is beneficial as you become knowledgeable regarding multiple aspects of the dental office.
All the office team members you interact with know something that you do not and vice versa. Therefore having conversions with other staff members and patients is a chance to learn something new. Moreover, you automatically broaden your network, which is crucial in seeking employment and having meaningful partnerships.
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