A medical office assistant works in a similar healthcare environment as a healthcare assistant, a nursing unit clerk or anyone studying in BC nursing schools. However, the difference is that they also excel in skills that apply to all types of offices. They are, in a way, business professionals as well.
The medical office assistant is the best of both the healthcare and the business worlds. It’s a composite position perfect for truly organized people. The job of the medical office assistant can be broken down into three main categories:
Patient Care from the Start
When a patient enters a medical office, calls in or emails, the first person they communicate with is the medical office assistant. This relationship continues throughout their time as a patient, as the medical office assistant will interact with them on a number of occasions and in different ways. These include:
- Scheduling (and occasionally rescheduling) an appointment with a physician
- Measuring vital signs
- Answering patient questions about procedures and other matters
- Answering questions from parents in the case of pediatric care or occasionally from family members in regards to general care
- Prepping patients for physical exams
- Preparation of surgical trays
- Scheduling a referral appointment or surgery in a hospital
In order to successfully take part in these interactions with the public, the medical office assistant needs to be compassionate though firm, friendly though serious and informed. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are a must.
Keeping the Important Data
Medical office assistants are responsible for recording, storing and organizing all information that enters the medical office and preparing documents that leave it. This includes:
- Recording patient data
- Compiling all patient chart information required before a patient’s visit
- Handling all private billing
- Performing accurate bookkeeping for all office expenses
- Development of computerized spreadsheets and documents
- Completing all insurance forms
- Database management (and sometimes database creation)
- Following up on and correcting any inconsistencies that may arise
In order to properly execute all the clerical duties which are required, the medical office assistant must be a highly organized person and someone capable of multitasking.
The Glue That Holds the Team Together
The part of the medical office assistant’s job that combines their interpersonal skills and organizational acumen while also utilizing their medical knowledge is their function as team coordinator. Medical offices, large or small, can sometimes employ several medical professionals such as physicians, nurses and technicians. They are busy people, each carrying out their own duties.
It is the job of the medical office administrator to ensure that their duties combine in a way that carries the goals of the office forward. This is only possible with positive, friendly, yet assertive interactions and a solid knowledge of how everything fits together.
Do you think you have the right skills for a career as a medical office assistant?