Medical office assistants are trained professionals working in a role that requires them to provide customer service when working with patients, as well as administrative support for medical facility staff. A medical office assistant is the first person to greet a patient, find the calming voice during medical emergencies, and someone both doctors and nurses can count on for superior organization. Canada’s aging population brings an increasing number of patients to the healthcare industry; in order to fulfill this new challenge, medical facilities such as clinics and hospitals open their doors for well-trained medical office professionals.
Medical Office Professionals must have good communication skills in order to provide information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. As a medical office assistant, you must be able to communicate with physicians, nurses, as well as the parents in order to optimize workflow efficiency and facilitate a long-term patient relationship. You must abide patients’ confidentiality and demonstrate respect for individual diversity because you may face hundreds of patients from different background everyday.
To succeed in this industry, the ability to interpret medical information presented through oral or written communication, the ability to document patients, observations, and clinical treatments, as well as the ability to communicate ideas in ways others can easily understand are crucial to all medical professionals.
Being comfortable with and skilled in using computers is essential when dealing with a variety of administrative responsibilities for every medical office assistant. Especially nowadays, most healthcare facilities are adopting EHRs (Electronic Health Records) into their data system, which makes computer competency one of the most important skills for medical office assistants.
Most importantly, as a medical office assistant, you must be familiar with medical programs such as Electronic Medical Record software, Patient Management software as well as Visual Electro Diagnostic software. You should also master Email software such as Microsoft Outlook, Office Suite software such as Microsoft Office, and be skilled with Microsoft Windows operating system in order to standout in your medical career.
Organizational and administrative skills
As a medical office assistant, you are in charge of a variety of clerical responsibilities, ranging from answering phones, scheduling appointments, to maintaining patient files. Being highly-organized in a fast-paced healthcare environment is critical, and administrative skills such as data recording, file categorizing, typing and filing are extremely helpful.
There are some administrative skills that are specific to the medical setting. These include monitoring inventories of medical supplies and ordering more as needed, scheduling appointments and arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services, updating patient records, and recording medical histories. Handling billing will involve processing insurance forms, reconciling co-pays, resolving insurance billing problems, and advocating for patients with their insurance companies.
Customer service skills
In a medical setting, your patients are customers who selected your facility based on quality of care and service received. As the front-line contact for patient services, treating patients with sensitivity and respect is essential.
As a medical office assistant, you often work directly with patients, so you need to be able to deliver information to your patients and explain medical instructions in an easy-to-understand, non-technical manner. You’ll need to receive, interview, and sometimes even triage patients. You’ll need to remain calm and supportive with distressed or difficult patients. Fluency in a second or third language helps.
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