Medical Office Administration: The Skills and Education Required

Medical Office Administration: The Skills and Education Required

The healthcare industry employs around twelve percent of the entire American workforce. That’s expected to grow even further. The large baby-boom population is aging. People are remaining active for longer.

With so many patients and staff to look after, it’ll come as no surprise that there are plenty of openings in medical office administration. The career is rewarding and right on the front line. Read on to find out what it’s all about.

The Duties of a Medical Office Administrator

The main responsibilities are clerical. This could mean working at a doctor’s surgery or in another health professional’s office. Medical office administrators perform a support role. They are integral to the smooth running of any patient care facility.

There are always files to organize, and payments to be made. Medical Administrators will also manage insurance forms and invoices to be paid by patients.

Because they deal directly with the public, administrators need to be able to demonstrate a degree of empathy. Medicine is a caring profession. When patients are looking for help from a physician they could be anxious and stressed.

Dealing with Patients

A Medical office administrator may be the first person they come into contact with. Along with operating the front desk, administrators will have to answer calls and emails.

They’ll need to know how to schedule appointments. That can require a keen sense of when something is urgent. There’ll be a lot of office equipment to get used to. This includes computers, scanners, and complex telephone systems.

Medical office administrators should also be familiar with medical terminology. They’ll need an understanding of health insurance rules and billing procedures.

Education and Medical Office Administration

Medical office administrators are not obliged to have advanced degrees. Extra coursework and online diplomas can be very useful. That’s because they’ll help you to advance in your career in medical office administration.

They’ll also help you to do a better job. If you want to embark on a career as a medical administrator you will need some basic skills.

These include an understanding of how offices work. You’ll need to be familiar with medical terminology. You’ll have to learn clinic, hospital or laboratory procedures. You can achieve all this through formal instruction and on-the-job training.

Medical Managers

Most medical and health services managers will already have a bachelor’s degree. Holding a master’s degree is also common. Managers will usually have worked in an administrative or a clinical role in a hospital or other healthcare facility.

A manager’s duties are to plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They could be in charge of an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department. They work for a medical practice or a group of physicians.

Their job is to conduct changes required by healthcare laws, regulations, and technology. Their salaries are far higher than those of a medical assistant, secretary or office administrator.

Communication Skills 

When you’re working in a busy environment an ability to communicate well is essential. Throw in patients who may be suffering from serious illnesses. It’s then easy to understand why this is particularly important in your chosen field.

You’ll have to be able to convey information to all the other members of staff you’re working alongside. This could be another member of support staff like yourself or doctors and nurses.

Listening to Others

Communication is not just about you being able to impart a piece of knowledge to another person. It also involves the ability to listen carefully.

Patients can arrive at a medical facility fearful about a problem or medical process. If you can listen to their concerns you’ll be able to offer them reassurance and keep them calmer.

Organizational Abilities

You’ll need an ability to create and use systems that work well. That means having medical records at the ready so that you access them quickly.

You could be called upon to prepare correspondence. You may also have to assist physicians in putting together a report, speech, or conference agenda. An ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines is a requirement.

Other Major Clerical Duties

It’s possible that you could be called upon to transcribe recorded messages. This might include diagnoses and recommendations made by doctors. This information would need to be added to the medical records of patients.

It’s important to be familiar with all the issues surrounding patient confidentiality. You’ll need to keep a record of credits and collections. You may have to get financial statements and bills ready and send them off.

You’ll have to keep records of financial transactions and complete insurance claim forms. It could fall on you to ensure that there are sufficient stationery supplies.

You might also have to liaise with those who look after any office equipment such as printers and computers. It’ll be down to you to take note of when appliances were serviced and to sort out any repairs.

The Right Personality Traits

Medical office administrators tend to have distinct personalities. The best are conscientious individuals. They take pride in being logical, efficient and well-organized.

They will also be generous and kind. They’ll have other qualities such as an ability to be cooperative, patient, tactful, and friendly. Work hours are generally the standard nine to five excluding weekends. Part-time positions are often available.

The Workplace Environment

Medical office administrators are key players in any healthcare institution. Where you choose to work will have an impact on the type of responsibilities you’ll be given.

It isn’t likely that a person working in a research facility would have to deal with emergencies, for example. Working in a hospital will be totally different.

You’ll have the flexibility to work in an environment that interests you most. That could be working with the elderly or in a facility that specializes in sports injuries.

An Interesting and Varied Career

You might be searching for a challenging job in which you’re unlikely to get bored. If so, a career in medical office administration could be the right career choice for you.