Do you have a desire to work in the healthcare field, but not sure about how much you’d like to work with patients? If you think working in an office may be more of a fit for you, then you should consider being a medical office administrator. As a medical office administrator, you will manage office personnel, monitor office finances, coordinate facility operations, assist with patient admissions, and perform administrative duties. You will also need some skills to be successful including good communication, good leadership skills, technical skills, be detail-oriented, and have an analytical mind.
Managing Office Personnel
Medical office administrators work in many different office settings, including medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and physician’s offices. It may be necessary for the medical office administrator to manage office personnel. Depending on how large the medical facility is will determine the role of a medical office administers management of office personnel. In larger offices, they may be expected to oversee clerical staff, janitorial staff, and oversee the hiring of staff, part-time help, or temporary contract workers.
Many medical facilities have a receptionist and/or a medical secretary, medical assistant, and a manager, along with one or more doctors, nurses, and/or a physician’s assistant. Managing personnel takes dedication and the ability to run an office. The medical office administrator often acts as a liaison between the doctor and patient and communication skills, both written and verbal are important.
The medical office administrator is responsible for making sure the personnel are not overwhelmed with their workload. In managing an office, the medical office administrator will need to be available to their staff for any questions or concerns. Being able to interact with not only the staff and doctors, but also the patients is vital to maintaining a positive atmosphere. Resolving conflicts or complaints is just part of the daily routine.
Monitoring Office Finances
An important job in managing an office is working with other staff members on an office budget. Most offices will have budgets for salaries, office supplies, medical supplies, and equipment. The medical office administrator is involved in preparing financial reports and tax reports. It’s also part of their job to meet with representatives who may have ways to streamline the practice. By cutting costs, the medical office administrator will make sure the funds get used efficiently.
Coordinating Facility Operations
Medical facilities need someone who is capable of organizing people, the facility, and technology to keep it running at maximum potential. If everything is running harmoniously together, the office environment is pleasant to work in and creates positive attitudes among the staff. An effective manager can coordinate responsibilities with their team and their surroundings. This may mean further training for staff members to keep up with technology. The medical office administrator will be required to make daily decisions to assist doctors and other personnel as situations arise.
It’s important that the medical office administrator keeps up with laws and regulations. The facility must comply with government regulations in order to maintain compliance plans. One of the major concerns is that of patient privacy. Data protection is becoming more of a concern and will continue to be an important role. Cybersecurity with new technology is a concern as patient data should be security. It’s imperative that as regulations change, the staff not only knows about those changes, but adheres to them.
Assisting with Patient Admissions
Making a patient feel comfortable and confident is an important responsibility of managing a medical facility. When a patient is being admitted to a hospital or medical care facility, all documentation must be accurate. Overseeing staff members to make sure this process is done properly is not only important to the patient, but to the physician. The quicker this process, the happier the patient will be.
There are two different ways to admit a patient into a hospital: emergency and elective. An emergency admission is when a patient has gone to a hospital emergency room and is admitted into the hospital. An elective admission is when a patient’s doctor has reserved a room in a hospital for a specific day. There are specific admissions offices in hospitals where patients check in and check out.
The medical office administrator should make it clear as to what a patient will need for admittance, such as:
- Driver’s license (identification)
- Emergency contact
- List of medications and doses (including over the counter)
- List of allergies and reactions to medications, if any
- List of any medical conditions (such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)
- List of all previous surgeries
- Name of primary healthcare physician and any specialist, along with contact information
- Copy of Power of Attorney (if applicable)
- Insurance information
Performing Administrative Duties
Medical office administrators need to know how to perform all office duties, whether they actually do them or not. If a staff member is absent, they may have to fill that position temporarily. Here are some of the day-to-day administrative tasks and requirements used in most office situations:
- Answer phones
- Greet patients
- Schedule appointments
- Organize medical records
- Process insurance forms
- Bill patients and processing invoices
- Assist physicians and other staff members
- Order office and medical supplies
- Attend office meetings
- Have a working knowledge of all office equipment
Answering phones and greeting patients are two of the most important roles in an office situation. Patients gain trust and appreciation when greeted in a kind and gentle manner.
Scheduling appointments is routine but must be done correctly to avoid confusion. Medical records must be organized to find a patient’s information. Processing insurance forms accurately is not only important for the patient, but for the office and insurance company.
Correctly billing a patient is important to avoid any kind of confrontation or dispute. Physicians or other staff members may need assistance with relaying information to a patient or help with office procedures. Keeping office and medical supplies up-to-date is vital in running a smooth office. Running out of something important is unacceptable.
In running an office, sometimes it’s mandatory to attend meetings to discuss a patient, personnel, or new equipment. Always be prepared to offer solutions with your expertise. Managing an office requires a working knowledge of computers, software, and office equipment. Staying current can be a bit of a challenge as technology is constantly changing and improving.
Skills for Success
Good organizational skills and being a “people person” are traits that are necessary for a medical office administrator. Here are a few other skills considered vital in managing a medical office:
Communication – It’s important to communicate well, both verbally and written, when relaying information between a doctor, patient, or staff. Information has to be accurate and correct to avoid any misunderstandings.
Leadership – To manage a medical facility proficiently, leadership skills are needed for supervising and making sure all office policies are correctly followed. Guiding staff to be the best they can be is part of the job.
Technical – A manager must be current with healthcare technology, electronic health records, and data analytics. These are all part of daily requirements.
Detail Oriented – Even the smallest detail may be critical to a patient’s health. A manager must make sure they are diligent when retrieving and relaying information.
Analytical – medical office administrators must understand regulations, codes, diagnoses, terminology, and procedures to explain this to patients.
The healthcare field offers many different and rewarding careers. If you’re interested in managing a medical office rather than working directly with patients, consider being a medical office administrator.
Do these challenges of how to manage a medical office interest you? Want to learn more about managing the day-to-day challenge of being a medical office administration specialist? The Medical Office Administration program at Meridian College provides training to prepare you for an entry-level position at a hospital, doctor’s office or other medical facility.
Meridian College is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education within the Florida Department of Education. Meridian College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
Contact Meridian College today to learn more about becoming a medical office administrator.