Overcoming Front Desk Burnout or
Staff Shortage at Your Healthcare Office


February 10, 2022




Does your Medical Practice struggle with front office exhaustion or staff shortage? Healthcare front desk burnout and staff shortage are real issues that are rarely discussed. They lead to frustration, in addition to causing financial and emotional distress for thousands of healthcare practices nationwide.

A study by Athenahealth hit this point on the mark, showing that “front office staff reported more negative sentiment toward their workplace” than the back-office staff or management.1 To put things in perspective, we’ll go over the most common factors that cause burnout, along with practical solutions for short-staffed offices.

Source: 1Athenahealth study

What 3 Factors Cause Front Desk Burnout?

1. Patient Intake Forms

Paper documentation comes with a heavy load for your front desk, like waiting on patients to fill out paperwork, keeping forms organized, running after patients for missing signatures or illegible handwriting, and searching for lost charts. These administrative burdens create tension between staff and patients that will lead to exhaustion and dissatisfaction.

What’s the solution?

Digital innovation resolves these challenges, making forms and patient documents readily available without much effort from your front desk.

By using innovative software that integrates with your EHR system, you can skyrocket staff efficiency, reduce administrative burdens, and improve patient satisfaction and retention, simultaneously. Small and large healthcare practices alike have been cutting down 35% of front desk documentation time by streamlining the check-in process with paperless intake forms that integrate into Athenahealth.

Eliminating the headaches of manual administrative burdens relieves the front desk of the amount of work they have to juggle, improves staff-customer relations, and boosts efficiency. 

Your staff can finally say goodbye to:

  • Collecting or scrambling through paper forms
  • Manually inserting patient demographics into the computer
  • Deciphering illegible handwriting
  • Running after patients for missing signatures
  • Searching for lost charts
  • Keeping forms organized
  • Shredding files

Paperless Intake forms have served as a key magnet in improving front office satisfaction and efficiency. The main benefits of paperless forms are:

  • Customizable, branded forms are available in Digital Systems.
  • Patients can remotely complete all online forms, along with capturing:
    1. IDs
    2. Insurance cards
    3. Photos
    4. Medication list
  • Patients e-sign and submit, all before the visit
  • Directly integrates into major EHR systems like Athenahealth
  • Slows the spread of viral transmission
  • Reduces waiting room time
  • Decreases staff burnout - no manual labor
  • Creates environmentally friendly practices
  • Cuts down on paper-related expenses
  • Provides convenience for patients

2. Appointment Scheduling and Reminders

Are you finding that your front desk is spending hours on the phone trying to balance appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, and all the other daily tasks at once?

What’s the most effective way to lighten their load?

Embracing advanced technology like online scheduling and Automated Appointment Reminders will create happy staff and patients.

Online scheduling serves as an ultimate tool to take the load off front desk tasks and gives patients the convenience of booking appointments without a single phone call. It’s available 24/7, 365 day a year, from any device and any location. No more tedious phone calls that waste your staff’s time and energy.

Customizable Online scheduling combines the convenience of being able to send appointment reminders and intake forms to patients via SMS/Email. Digital intake forms can be completed remotely, and patients can capture IDs, insurance cards, and any other requested documents from home. Online Scheduling integrates with Athenahealth making it a breeze on your front desk, especially if there’s a staff shortage.

Automated Appointment Reminders, an additional top-most sought-after tool to reduce staff burnout, has proven to be the #1 preferred choice by patients, and guarantees higher show-up rates. Your front desk will no longer need to waste time calling patients with appointment reminders.

Appointment Reminders can be customized and automated to reach patients via text/email, a week/day/hour prior to the appointment. Patients reply with a confirmation that will be received by the provider instantly. Automated Appointment Reminders simplify the process, while boosting your team’s efficiency and productivity. Eliminate staff exhaustion and improve patient satisfaction with automated appointment reminders.

Breakdown of Online Scheduling & Automated Appointment Reminders
  • Perfect solution for front desk staff shortage
  • No More Tedious Phone Calls
  • Improves Customer Satisfaction
  • Integration with Athenahealth
  • Office phone # used for SMS Services
  • Enables Patients to Book Appointments Online 24/7
  • Reduces No-Shows & Boosts Revenue
  • Customizable Appointment Reminders 
  • 2-Way Texting Included
  • Pre-scheduled reminders received by patients via text/email (eg. 7 Days / 1 Day / 1 Hour Prior to Appointment)
  • Intake Forms automatically sent with Reminders
  • Patient Confirms Appointment & Provider Instantly Receives Confirmation Response
  • Fully Secured & HIPAA Compliant

3. Patient Communication

Does your team have to deal with frustrated patients who feel alienated? Or want a better way to connect? 

When patients feel upset about not being able to get quick replies to their inquiries or concerns, their frustration will rub off onto your front desk team. Front desk staff typically receive the complaints and suffer from emotional drainage for any defaults in communication. This issue is magnified when there’s a shortage of staff.

How can this be resolved?

2-Way SMS has become the perfect channel to quickly communicate with patients. It’s a lot simpler and easier on staff than being tied to the office phone for hours. We know that the average patient uses their smartphone for texting everyday, so why not meet them where they are, by using their preferred avenue of communication? No phone call needed. 

2-Way SMS is specifically designed for healthcare providers as a convenient, patient-prefered route of communication, to keep team members and patients in sync about patient inquiries, follow-up information, appointments, patient status, unexpected occurrences, and so much more.

Both staff and patients love the ease of being able to send a quick SMS message to reschedule an appointment, or to let staff know about a cancellation or a delay in reaching the office for their appointment time. Waitlisted patients can be notified of last minute openings, via text, preventing lost revenue.

Instant 2-Way SMS, a fully secured platform, serves as a valuable communication asset to boost staff productivity, patient-provider relations, and improve revenue. It enables patients to get their questions answered quickly, saves staff the burden of having to call and track down patients, and prevents miscommunication.

What are 11 benefits of 2-Way SMS?
  • Answer Patients’ Questions
  • Appointment Reminders & receive confirmation replies
  • Rescheduling Appointments
  • Request Insurance Card, ID & Documents
  • Billing reminders / Invoices
  • Send and receive attachments
  • Recovery care instructions
  • Important Notifications
  • Send Educational Resources
  • Video informational links
  • Relevant medication info


Front office burnout and staff shortage in healthcare practices are more common than ever and lead to high-stress environments. If you’re noticing increased staff fatigue, frustration, and inability to keep up with tasks, you’ll benefit from innovative solutions that ease the emotional strain and workload on your team.

The success of your office depends heavily on the front desk. By making healthy adjustments to office operations, you can eliminate the heavy burden on your team’s shoulders. Streamlining your office with Digital Intake Forms, Online Patient Scheduling, Automated Appointment Reminders, and 2-Way SMS will save hours of manual labor, and improve staff and patient satisfaction. Learn how mConsent can eliminate staff burnout for your office.

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