Every office, in every industry, has certain people that ensure it runs efficiently and effectively in providing both services and products to consumers. This is even true in the medical industry. And those who work hard to keep the office productive are called medical office administrators.
Medical office administrators are extremely important and can fill a myriad of duties depending on the needs of the office in which they work. Their duties may also change from day to day. One day he or she may be answering the phone and working on data entry, while the next day he or she may be coding and managing health records.
The duties they perform are just as varied as the job title it may carry.
Different Job Titles for Medical Office Administrator
One of the most important jobs in the medical field can be named using a variety of titles. Some offices hire medical assistants, secretaries, front office staff, or appointment schedulers. Other offices hire billing clerks, medical records clerk, transcriptionists, and office managers.
No matter what your job duty, you will be able to apply skills that benefit the healthcare team you are on, including working on patient care management systems, electronic records, medical terminology, and tracking patient data.
Fortunately for those in the medical office administration field, this can give you broader employment opportunities. You have many different career options.
Career Options for Medical Office Administrator
When you begin looking for employment, you can apply for jobs ranging from hospital unit managers to medical billing and coding professional.
Depending on your level of education, you may choose to provide receptionist work for a physician’s practice or work as an admissions and registration clerk in a major hospital setting. You may even choose to obtain a leadership position within the industry.
Education varies among medical office administrators. Some choose to earn certificates showing they have specialized knowledge. Others choose to earn an Associate’s degree or higher. Those with two or more years of college have likely gained experience through a practicum or work study program where they gained on the job training.
Specific Duties of Medical Office Administrators
Not all duties are discussed in this section but the ones listed can give you a general idea of common jobs expected to be completed by medical office administrators.
- Diagnosis and procedure coding
Doctors are required to use specific diagnostic codes when documenting a patient’s problems. They do this for their own records and to meet insurance company requirements. As a medical office administrator, you will be expected to know the codes and be able to enter them properly into the software used by your employer.
Diagnostic codes describe the patient’s symptoms, complaints, and chronic conditions. It basically tells the agency who is paying for the services why the procedure and treatment is needed. Without this, the physician will not typically be paid.
- Maintaining records
The medical records of a patient are extremely important and must be kept accurately. Medical records include any document that applies to the patient’s health care.
Documents such as notes taken by the current or previous doctors, blood work orders and results, insurance information, prescription information, and even the death certificate if a patient passes away.
Dates must be correct on all medical records, signatures must be recorded from everyone who completed a task with the patient, and all documents must contain only professional terminology.
- Scheduling appointments and procedures
Timing is very important, whether you are working in a hospital setting, a clinic or a physician’s private practice. As a medical office administrator you will be expected to schedule patients in a manner that meets the needs of the physician and the patient.
You want to avoid booking appointments and procedures too close but at the same time, you don’t want the patient to wait longer than they have to for treatment. Many times you will have the advantage of a scheduling software system that can help you prevent errors when setting appointment times.
- Ordering supplies and equipment
Keeping track of the inventory in your medical office is a duty that requires organization and attention to detail. As a medical office administrator, you will be able to place orders for supplies and equipment in advance, to avoid any day without the necessary items needed to provide quality care.
Supplies and equipment can mean anything from bandages and syringes to scales and blood pressure monitors. Alcohol pads, gloves, cotton balls, scissors, scalpels, meters, ointments, wheel chairs and proper waste disposal holders. The list of supplies and equipment is extensive and your office will appreciate your ability to keep them stocked on items they use daily.
- Medical transcription
A great deal of responsibility is placed on the medical transcriptionist. From a single audio recording provided by the doctor, a patient’s medical history comes alive once it is transcribed into actual notes and written documentation
The medical transcriptionist must get translate what they hear correctly or the patient could suffer consequences. It is this record that nurses and doctors use to treat the patient. Dosages must be exact, testing results must be accurate, and treatment plans must be represented.
Transcribing audio notes into document form is not just a task the doctors prefer. It is required by law.
- Insurance filing and billing
Without proper insurance documentation and billing, your office cannot receive payment for services already provided. As a medical office administrator, you may be tasked with ensuring proper coding. You may also be responsible for filing claims on behalf of the patient.
This will require you obtain all current insurance information from the patient and from the doctor, entering that information correctly into the software system, and sending every piece of information needed so financial reimbursement is sent quickly.
As you can see, medical office administrators take on a lot of tough duties within the medical field. But with proper education and training, you are likely to excel in this position.