Would you like to improve your practice’s bottom line? Start by having your appointment scheduler gather basic patient information before a visit. The following 10 checklists will help your scheduler as a quide to capture all the necessary information, and, at the same time, also create a rapport with your patients: [  ] Full legal name of the patient and the insurance holder. Obtain the full name of the patient and the insurance holder. Remember to check the correct spelling as it appears on the insurance card. This is important to verify insurance coverage. [  ] Name of the health insurance company, insurance identification number and group number. The correct insurance information is necessary to verify patient’ s insurance and to obtain the amount of co-payment and deductible due at the time of service. [  ] Reason for the appointment. The reason for the visit would help determine the length of visit, provider assignment and use of practice resources, such as X-ray, EKG machine, or laboratory work. [  ] Date of the last visit. For existing patients, the contact and insurance information may have changed since their last visit and should be updated. [  ] If the patient is minor, confirm the following questions:

  • Whose insurance plan covers the patient’s health care and how is the name spelled on the insurance card?
  • Does another person (such as the other parent) also carry insurance on the child?
  • Who is responsible for the child’s health care decisions?
  • Who will accompany the child to the appointment and what is their relationship to the child?

Note: A minor should always be accompanied with an adult. It is important to know who that person will be before the appointment.

[  ] The name of the responsible party or legal guardian and the phone number at work and home. The practice may need to contact the patient for several reasons including, appointment reminders, treatment, billing and other administrative questions. Confirm the preferred phone number for contacting the patient, or the responsible party, or the legal guardian. [  ] Referral source. If the patient is referred by another physician, obtain the full name and phone number of the provider. This will help you obtain medical records, orders or other information necessary to take care of your patient. If the patient is not referred by another provider, obtain the source of the referral. This will help track your marketing ROI (return on investment). [  ] Medical records or test results. If any test results, X-rays or other patient records are necessary for the visit, inform the patient to bring in the specific record. This may be necessary to help the physician make better medical decisions. [  ] Office policies. Your office may have specific instructions to provide to anyone who calls for an appointment. These instructions might include information such as:

  • Patients should arrive 20 minutes prior to the appointment to fill out any necessary paperwork
  • No-show and cancellation policy
  • Records that the patient should bring such as: medical records, immunization records, and/or a list of medications being taken
  • Co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible amount owed by the patient from a previous visit. IMPORTANT: Any outstanding amounts should be collected at the next visit

[  ] Questions? If the patient has a question–clinical or administrative–that your front desk staff are unable to answer, make sure that you give them the information so they can call the patient back with an answer. This would create a good impression about your practice. In summary, always make sure to verify insurance information with all patients–for a new patient and for any patient who have not visited the office recently. This will improve the efficiency of your office and greatly impact your bottom line. Finally, do you have a written “Policy and Procedure” (P&P) for your front desk? If not, consider obtaining one from us. We will customize a P&P just for your appointment scheduler. This will serve as a guide for your staff and help your practice run smoothly.

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