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Front office staff are the first point of communication for the majority of behavioral health clients. In addition to being the face of your practice, these staff are responsible for a large percentage of the administration tasks necessary to keep your practice running smoothly.

Giving them the right tools and strategies to complete their job responsibilities seamlessly allows for more time to focus on the patient experience—a critical factor in any practice’s success. In this article, we’ll look at the top five ways you can improve front office efficiency to create a productive, successful practice.

1. Clearly Define Roles and Responsibilities

The right staff is a key piece of the puzzle when running an efficient and profitable behavioral health practice. Depending on the size of your practice, you may cover all front-office tasks yourself or work with several staff members.

Wherever your practice sits on the scale, every staff member must understand the responsibilities of their role. For smaller practices, these may include a broad range of tasks. For larger practices, each role is generally more specialized and can include:

  • Front Desk Staff. Responsible for patient intake, scheduling, and collecting payments. May create new patient accounts within your EHR system. In larger practices, they need to collaborate with back-office staff in your billing department.
  • Practice Manager. In charge of front and back-office staff. May monitor accounts payable, ensure compliant record keeping and arrange staff timecards.

A lack of front office efficiency can lead to staff feeling burnt out, increasing staff turnover and negatively impacting the patient experience. Making sure your team is the right size to manage the patient volume of your practice is an essential step to improving your efficiency.

2. Scheduling Practices

The days of outdated and basic calendar scheduling systems are over. Intuitive scheduling software can be a real game-changer to streamline your front office administration. Choosing a methodical system for scheduling all aspects of a behavioral health practice helps keep everything running smoothly.

Look for software that allows staff to complete these critical tasks within one platform:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Viewing and accepting payments
  • Assigning outcome measures
  • Adding or viewing clinical documentation
  • Initiating telehealth sessions

Choosing software with a central hub means there’s no need for front office staff to navigate between different platforms to find the information they need. This level of integration means staff can complete tasks in less time and in fewer steps.  

3. Billing Practices

Streamlining your billing practices is another effective way to improve your front office efficiency. Ask front office staff to estimate how much time they spend on billing-related tasks, and you may find an EHR solution that can save them time. 

Using a billing system that can keep your practice compliant with CMS, HIPAA, and any state-level regulations is crucial. It should offer advantages like delivering billing information to clients as quickly as possible and color-coding for rapid identification of unbilled, in-process, or overdue claims. It may take a while to get your chosen system up and running, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Chasing overdue balances can take up a lot of time. Some EHR platforms allow staff to send automatic reminders. Moving towards more efficient billing services gives front office staff more time to create a positive and seamless client experience.

4. Communication

Clear communication is vital for any practice. This includes both in-house and external communication with patients, insurance providers, and any other healthcare practices involved with patient care.

A 10-minute morning briefing can help your front-office staff feel prepared for the day ahead. Using an EHR with a patient portal for external communications can streamline intakes, appointment scheduling, and payments. Some portals offer other benefits like telehealth. The easier it is for front office staff to communicate with patients, the better the patient experience will be. By creating clear lines of communication, patient portals can cut front office administration tasks by up to 50%.

5. Technology

Technology has the potential to help you achieve increased efficiencies for scheduling, billing, communications, and more. The answer is finding a software solution that works with your requirements. Choose the right tools, and you can transform the productivity and efficiency of your front office.

You may decide to move to a cloud-based software solution that can automatically install updates, safely store your client data, and more. This removes the need to install and maintain expensive hardware, such as onsite servers. There are many solutions geared towards the healthcare market, but they don’t always come with the capabilities required by behavioral healthcare practitioners.

On the other hand, Valant is geared towards the unique needs of behavioral health practices. It offers all the functionality your front office staff needs to provide your clients with a streamlined and seamless service. Whether your office is physical, virtual, or hybrid, you’ll find a solution to suit your needs.

If you’re still not sure how efficient your practice is, take our quiz to find out.

Improve Front Office Efficiency With the Right Software

Integrating administrative tasks into an easy-to-manage dashboard can optimize your front office operations. Automate critical workflows, improve your patient outcomes, and keep your practice productive and efficient.

Contact us to request a free demo to explore whether Valant can provide the answer to your front office requirements.