Some of the best careers in healthcare are administrative. If you have good organizational and communication skills, why not consider becoming a Medical Office Administration Specialist? Medical Office Administrators are a vital part of the healthcare team. You’ll provide complex clerical support in doctor’s offices, hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.
What Are the Duties of a Medical Office Administration Specialist?
Medical Office Administration Specialists guide administrative workflow in healthcare settings. In this role, you’ll be more than a paper pusher. You’ll help patients navigate their healthcare experience while keeping the office running smoothly by managing essential functions. Responsibilities include:
Answering the Phone
As a part of the front office staff you’ll be the face and voice of the office. Medical offices receive a broad range of phone calls from vendors, patients, and providers. Your job is to answer questions or direct them to the person who can.
You’ll manage inquiries about appointments, referrals, office hours, prescription refills, and supply orders. This is a crucial roll, often getting as much face time with patients as some medical care rolls.
Working in the front office, you’ll collaborate with providers to schedule and confirm appointments, tests, and procedures. The goal is to see patients promptly and optimize resources without overwhelming the clinical staff. This roll can have a huge affect on the profitability of the office.
Checking In Patients
Medical Office Administration Specialists are ambassadors of first impressions, creating a welcoming, patient-centered environment while preparing patients for their visit.
Check-in is an important process because it generates billing documentation, resolves issues, and even determines the type of care received. It’s also the time during which you’ll obtain signed consent forms and prepare the patient’s file by verifying their identity, updating demographic information, and confirming insurance policy numbers. If a co-payment is due, you’ll collect it for the billing department.
Medical Office Administration Specialists organize paper and electronic records so that they’re safe, secure, and accessible. They retrieve documents for referrals, file completed paperwork, and respond to requests for records. This job helps physicians and other care givers get a better picture of the patient’s condition and better diagnose any medical issues.
Supplies are a large part of a healthcare facility’s budget. Medical Office Administration Specialists monitor inventory and place orders as needed while negotiating with vendors to get the best prices and prompt delivery times. Imagine a physician dealing with a bleeding issue without enough bandages.
Billing and Coding
Medical Office Administration Specialists assist the billing department with insurance claims, invoicing, payment tracking, and collections. Under the supervision of an office manager or administrator, you may also help compile financial reports so that the office remains solvent and is able to pay its employees.
How Do You Become a Medical Office Administration Specialist?
Medical Office Administration Specialists need specialized training best taught by seasoned experts. The fastest way to gain these skills is by getting a vocational school diploma.
You could take your chances and apply for jobs without formal education, but employers prefer trained applicants with proven skills. And vocational school programs prepare you for certification, a plus on any professional’s resume.
What Do You Learn in a Medical Office Administration Program?
Vocational school programs offer quick training but are also comprehensive. You’ll learn the practical and soft skills necessary to succeed in your choice of office environments. The curriculum covers:
No field has higher customer service standards than healthcare. As a member of the administrative team, professionalism is a must. From dress to demeanor, vocational school programs teach you how to meet these expectations.
Office administrators need excellent verbal, written, and electronic communication skills. You will learn to use phones, scanners, pagers, fax machines, e-mail systems, software, and telehealth equipment.
However, a medical office is no ordinary business. In a patient-centered industry, how you relate to patients is as important as what you say. From identifying cultural barriers to dealing with special needs, you’ll learn how to approach and communicate with physically and emotionally vulnerable people who need expert guidance.
Clinical scheduling involves more than just making appointments, staff must understand the resources involved, including personnel, time, space, and equipment.
Most facilities use scheduling software to make it easier, it’s typically integrated in a practice management suite. You’ll learn how to use these programs to track employee schedules, identify scheduling conflicts and improve efficiency.
Billing and Coding
Medical coding is a type of alphanumeric shorthand used to describe symptoms, conditions, tests, diagnoses, and treatments. Using codes on insurance forms cuts the volume of data required for claims.
Billing practices are strictly regulated. So, while the billing department handles most financial issues, understanding billing and coding practices is a must for all administrators. During a vocational school program, you will get an overview of how the process works and why your role is crucial.
Patient rights are human rights related to medical treatment. Regulations cover issues such as access to care, privacy, informed consent, and the right to refuse treatment. Many of your duties are guided by these rules.
Vocational school programs cover what you need to know to protect the patient and your employer. You’ll also review other aspects of medical law and the ethical considerations encountered in the healthcare industry.
Medical facilities can be hazardous places to work if you don’t take precautions. OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, creates rules to keep you safe.
In a medical office administration program, you’ll learn the basics of occupational safety in healthcare environments such as how to prevent falls and protect patients from infection disease or radiation dangers. Other topics include recordkeeping, incident reporting and workplace training requirements.
The best healthcare facilities are accredited by JCAHO, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. A non-profit group, it was established in 1951 to ensure hospitals met minimum standards. Today, the newly named “The Joint Commission” (TJC) evaluates many other types of facilities, including private practices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and home health agencies.
Accreditation is vital for a provider’s reputation. It assures the public that they’re guided by the highest standards of care. And because some insurers only pay for services from TJC-approved providers, maintaining accreditation is essential for revenue. Medical office administration specialists need to understand and implement all TJC standards.
What Certifications Does a Medical Office Administration Program Prepare You For?
Certifications get an employer’s attention. They are a national standard of knowledge. They speak to your skills and dedication to your field. The National Healthcareer Association offers two options for Medical Office Administration Specialists.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
Vocational school graduates are eligible to become Certified Medical Administrative Assistants. Technical school programs such as ours prepare you for the exam which covers:
- Using technology to complete office tasks
- Answering the phone
- Scheduling appointments
- Welcoming patients
- Updating electronic medical records
- Filing systems
- Patient privacy regulations
A CMMA certification is perfect for the person who wants a patient-facing position in the front office.
Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
Another option for graduates who enjoy information technology is to become a Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS). Or combine it with a CMAA certificate and watch your career grow.
CEHRS certification evaluates your ability to manage electronic health records (EHS). It’s a sought-after skill that healthcare facilities are looking for. Exam topics include:
- Regulatory compliance
- Patient privacy
- Information accuracy
- Insurance coding and billing practices
- Release of Information (ROI) requests
- Data security
Benefits of Vocational School Training
A vocational school education has benefits far beyond training. You will:
Learn from Seasoned Instructors
Vocational schools hire only seasoned instructors with years of industry experience. Who better to learn the ropes from someone who successfully worked their way up the career ladder in similar positions? Their first-hand knowledge helps bridge the gap between the classroom and the workplace.
Gain Relevant Skills
Employers’ needs are changing and with them, so must training programs. Vocational schools work closely with local businesses to make sure they produce work-ready graduates. The skills you learn as a Medical Office Administration Specialist will be forever relevant and in demand.
Get Hands-On Training
Book learning is required in all fields but transitioning to the workplace is challenging without hands-on experience.
Vocational school programs make it real for you by simulating the office setting, so you get a feel of what a day on the job is like. Interactive College of Technology’s program also includes 135 hours of real-world practice during off-site externships. You’ll work with the same type of computers and equipment so that nothing feels strange or intimidating when you start your first position. This also gives you more experience than other students looking for their first job.
Be Prepared for Certifications
Becoming certified is the best way to demonstrate competency in any field. It shines on a resume and helps you avoid the dead-end career trap.
Vocational schools prepare you for certification from day one of classes. Instructors teach to the test, so you are ready to sit for exams as soon as you graduate. Study groups and peer-to-peer tutoring are also encouraged.
Enjoy Lifetime Career Services
What’s an education without a good job? ICT excels at connecting graduates with local employers who prefer tapping pools of qualified workers over advertising positions online. Better vocational schools offer lifetime job placement benefits. It’s your ace in the hole during tough times.
Healthcare is a secure and growing industry in search of both clinical and administrative talent. So why not jump on the opportunity? Put your skills to work for your community as a Medical Office Administration Specialist.
Want to Learn More?
All healthcare facilities, from hospitals and physician’s offices, to rehab centers, clinics, and every other type of medical practice, rely on skilled Medical Office Administration program to function. We’ll train you on a wide range of medical administrative practices and processes. Plus, you’ll get real-world experience through a 135-hour school externship in an actual healthcare facility. You’ll also interact with people from all walks of life, making your daily routine anything but dull.
So, let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.