The reception area is the hub of most activity in a dental office. It is the first point of contact for patients with you or your staff and access to other critical areas of the dental office. Key principles in the assessment of the reception area are security, confidentiality and professionalism.
As the access point to both confidential patient health records and patient treatment areas, the reception area must ensure a certain level of security. Administrative and physical controls need to be in place to limit access to these areas to authorized personnel, patients and if appropriate the patient’s family members. In offices with information stored on computers or electronically, mechanisms to secure that information will be reviewed. An assessor will evaluate security issues with a significant amount of discretion and flexibility relative to the nature and style of the dental office’s practices.
Interrelated with security is confidentiality. A reception area must be designed and administered to ensure private patient information such as health, billing, family status is not disclosed by dental office personnel. Physical records and computer monitors must be positioned or stored to prevent access or observation by anyone other than the patient and authorized office personnel. Communications with patients - in person or on the phone – needs to be discreet with consideration given to the nature of the conversation and the proximity to patients in the waiting room.
First contact with dental office personnel usually occurs in the reception area. Professional appearance and communication is critical to establishing confidence in your office and the profession. An assessment will review the organization of the reception desk and written documents provided to patients in this area.