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Chapter 6

Front Desk & Check-Out Stations


1.)                 It is essential to provide enough space for the business side of your practice.  Too often, the Reception and Check-Out areas are just placed in the space left over after the Operatories and clinical support work stations are designed.  Without the proper planning, Reception and Check-Out can be distracting, inefficient, and frustrating, especially when bottlenecks occur.

2.)                Start the planning process by determining how many staff members will be at the Front Desk and Check-Out Stations.

3.)           Will any appointments be scheduled in the clinical zone?  If so this will reduce some functions at Check-Out.

4.)                Location of the Front Desk is critical to the practice.  The staff must be able to view the entire Seating Area.  Try to avoid any blind spots.

5.)                 When designing your cabinets determine if you want a locking drawer for cash at the Front Desk. 

6.)          The copier placement is important, since it needs to be accessible to the staff.  Many offices keep it near the Reception window (because this is where copies of health insurance cards are usually made).  Avoid locating the copier or scanner in a corner where other staff members may have difficulty accessing it.

7.)                 Limit use of curves in the Front Desk and Check-Out Stations. Curved walls are very expensive to build and install.  Curved walls also limit the size and depth of cabinets below the countertop.  A better and less expensive option is to use angled walls below with curved countertops above, since curved counters are relatively inexpensive to build.

8.)                 Avoid positioning patient files directly behind the Reception Desk.  This can be an unattractive first impression for entering patients.  The focal wall behind the Front Desk is a great place for an accent color or a decorative feature such as artwork.  A large wall of files reduces the patient experience; they may think that they are just another number in your practice.