Maureen Pratt Author PicThey are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office workers at a physician’s office matter, really, they do!  And the better we can work with them, the easier our care can become.

From the first call to get the first appointment to the last minute on a holiday weekend when you need a prescription refill, a doctor’s receptionist, record keeper, or billing staff provide invaluable assistance. The best of them have become almost like friends to me! Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful dealing with front office staff:

Get to know the names of all (or at least most) of the front office staff in your doctor’s office. Call them by name, communicate on a human level.

Try to be mindful that the receptionist or staff member in charge of calling in refills might have a number of calls or requests ahead of yours.  If it’s an emergency, communicate politely and firmly.

If you’re calling to get a first appointment, you might be told it’ll be weeks before there’s an opening. Schedule the first available appointment, then ask to be put on a waiting list (most offices have them), and call back periodically to see if a spot has freed up.

Make every attempt to keep calm when asking why you’ve had to wait so long, or why your chart wasn’t pulled. (I know, this can be difficult!) Mistakes and delays do happen. (But if they happen a lot, you might consider changing doctors.)

Some medical offices don’t allow this, but for some of my docs, I give some kind of holiday gift to show my appreciation for everyone who has helped me throughout the year. A basket of cookies, a poinsettia plant, or just a card are nice gestures – and a way to show that you are thankful that they care!

Blessings for the day,


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