Importance of Medical Office Professionals

Medical Assistants

Emergencies bring out the best in people, and nowhere is that more evident than in the healthcare field. Essential medical workers across the country are coming together to support their communities during this public health crisis, and the good news is that it’s working. COVID-19 is under control, but it continues to be a long-term threat, and the shortage of healthcare professionals looms large. For students interested in a career in medicine, now is the time to join those on the front line as medical office assistants.

The Importance of Essential Workers

Essential workers perform the services necessary to protect property and human life during a pandemic, examples include firefighters, transportation employees, food manufacturers and physicians. But in medicine, administrative responsibilities are an integral part of care, so medical office assistants are as essential as doctors and nurses.

Why are Medical Office Assistants Important During a Health Crisis?

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, patients with respiratory symptoms are being asked to avoid emergency rooms, so doctor’s offices are busier than ever. There’s so much to do.

A medical office assistant tackles a full range of administrative duties in a healthcare setting. They have no clinical responsibilities, but by handling the clerical responsibilities that are an essential part of every visit, they allow doctors and nurses to see more patients. At a time when demand for care has skyrocketed, it’s a crucial role.

Primary responsibilities of medical office assistants include scheduling appointments, overseeing the waiting area, checking in patients, managing medical records, bills and accounting, and ordering office supplies.

Scheduling Appointments

Medical office assistants are responsible for answering phone calls and making appointments. In a busy practice, they manage clinical schedules and equipment needs for hundreds of visits daily. During a pandemic, scheduling is even more challenging as frequent emergencies arise.

Overseeing the Waiting Area

As ambassadors of first impressions, medical office assistants oversee waiting areas, making sure they’re clean and safe for vulnerable patients as they arrive. They make the most of waiting time by being hospitable, answering questions and assisting with pre-visit paperwork.

Checking in Patients

A medical office assistant ensures patients have the best experience possible by verifying personal and insurance information at check-in. Mistakes in healthcare records can lead to dangerous medical errors, while inaccuracies on insurance forms can result in rejected claims or an unexpected bill for the insured when they can least afford it.

Managing Medical Records

Medical office assistants update electronic health records before each visit. They manage the flow of confidential medical data between patients and doctors as well as referring physicians. Integrity and attention to detail are a must.

Billing and Accounting

Billing specialists are responsible for filling out insurance forms, but claims are only as sound as the information in them. Medical office assistants play an important part in the billing process by clarifying demographic information and insurance policy numbers before patients see the doctor. They may also review accounts and collect copayments before the exam. Light accounting tasks include reconciling cash drawers and credit card receipts.

Ordering Office Supplies

The pace in a doctor’s office is brisk during a pandemic, so a well-stocked supply closet is critical. Medical office assistants are responsible for ordering supplies practice-wide, working with both staff and vendors to guarantee needed items are on hand.

Depending on the size and type of practice, medical office assistants may have other duties, such as:

  • Completing insurance forms
  • Transcription
  • Correspondence
  • Filing
  • Marketing
  • Assisting with financial reports
  • Patient outreach

As clients’ first point of contact with their provider, a medical office assistant is a vital source of support and information. The medical office assistant’s warm and welcoming demeanor inspires patients’ confidence in their care and preserves the practice’s reputation.

Training to Be a Medical Office Assistant

Training to become a medical office assistant is easy. Students attending a vocational school program full-time can be out of the classroom and earning money in just six months. It’s a future-looking career choice for this year’s high school graduates or unemployed adults looking for a new career path. Flexible learning options may be available, and most institutions offer assistance with job placement after graduation.

Employers are now hiring to meet the extreme demand caused by COVID-19. And even prior to the pandemic, positions for medical office assistants were already expected to soar by nearly 23-percent in the next ten years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As millions more Americans reach age 65, the need for accessible preventive care is skyrocketing. So unlike training for jobs that are slowly disappearing due to advances in technology, the skills learned in a medical office assisting program will remain relevant.

Why Get a Medical Office Assistant Diploma?

Having a vocational school diploma demonstrates a student has the knowledge and practical skills necessary for success in an entry-level position. It’s everything an employer needs to feel confident hiring an applicant, as well as a firm foundation students will want to build a better lifelong career. Graduates are qualified to sit for one of several exams leading to nationally recognized credentials.

While most of the 601,700 medical office assistants on payrolls today are employed in private practices, roles for medical office assistants are continually expanding to hospitals, clinics and more. The job market is thriving.

Final Thoughts

The shortage of essential healthcare workers during this public health crisis is serving as a valuable wake up call. The country should never be caught short-handed. The community’s best defense against shifting demographics and the next pandemic is plenty of skilled support staff, such as medical office assistants. For students, it’s both a mission and an opportunity.

Are you ready to pitch in and help during this health crisis? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Medical Office Assistants in Demand

Medical Assistants

Medical professionals are today’s new heroes, they answer the call when their communities are in need. But for every doctor and nurse on the front lines during this public health crisis, there are support specialists who manage the administrative intricacies of healthcare, giving licensed providers more time to spend with patients. Who are these behind the scenes champions? They’re medical office assistants, and they’re in higher demand than ever.

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Medical office assistants work with a team of medical professionals committed to top-quality patient care. As the business part of medicine becomes more complex, they fill a unique role.

By handling the full spectrum of clerical tasks that are a fundamental part of every healthcare visit, they allow physicians and nurses to better focus on their clinical duties. It’s a vital non-clinical role that quickens care and makes it safer and more efficient.

A medical office assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Managing the switchboard
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Providing general information
  • Overseeing the reception area
  • Checking in patients
  • Transcribing doctor’s notes
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Filling out insurance claims
  • Light Coding and billing
  • Light bookkeeping
  • Ordering supplies

Why are Medical Office Assistants in Such High Demand?

The demand for medical office assistants isn’t new, it was rising well before the pandemic. With thousands of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age daily, the need for preventive healthcare services is increasing.

Doctor’s offices are leading the way in providing care for vulnerable seniors as they age, serving as portals through which they can access a variety of community services, but they can’t do it alone. Medical facilities need highly qualified support staff to expand their services and make them more accessible to the public.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical office assistants is expected to rise more than 16-percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than other occupations on average. The current shortage is an issue the pandemic underscores.

While medical workers are always essential, they’re indispensable in a healthcare emergency. In some industries, professionals can work during a pandemic while allowing office functions, such as billing, to slide, but not in healthcare. Documentation and care are linked. What occurs in the front office is as important as what happens in the exam room.

When a patient sees their doctor, it’s just a single event in a bigger picture. Verifying details from demographics to insurance policy numbers is a must, safe continuity of care and timely insurance reimbursement depend on it. In a pandemic, public health departments rely on accurate patient data and properly coded insurance forms for data about disease trends. Without a medical office assistant to take on these responsibilities, vital details could easily be lost, and ultimately, patients would suffer.

Why Consider a Career as a Medical Office Assistant?

There are many ways to help the public during a crisis, but for students considering a career in healthcare, there’s no better time to seek training as a medical office assistant than now.

Getting a vocational school education is quick and cost-effective. Students attending full-time can be done and ready to earn in as little as six months. Programs give students the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for entry-level positions. Courses cover general office management, computerized records applications, and insurance billing. Although medical office assistants have no clinical responsibilities, training in medical terminology, law and ethics helps prepare students to function confidently in a busy healthcare environment.

After graduation, most medical office assistants work in private practices, but roles are expanding to hospitals and clinics. Graduates can help the country through tough times while nurturing a career in a respected field with opportunities, flexible schedules and room for advancement.

The job is fast-paced and never boring, there’s always something new and exciting to learn, and it’s personally fulfilling. A medical office assistant makes a difference in the lives of the people they serve. There are few professions requiring so little training that have as much potential.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a new career path isn’t easy. Students are taking a risk with their time and money, so it’s essential to evaluate the options and consider which occupations will remain relevant in the future. The good news for medical office assistants is that while the country won’t always be in the grip of a pandemic, healthcare workers will forever be essential.

Did reading about the demand for medical office assistants interest you? Ready to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare a graduate to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

Medical Assistant vs Medical Office Assistant

Medical Assistant

A healthcare team is only as good as its support specialists. Patients are best served when doctors and nurses have skilled associates working behind the scenes to keep things organized and running smoothly. Among the most essential team members are medical assistants and medical office assistants.

What’s the difference between a medical assistant and a medical office assistant?

The job titles sound similar, and both careers share a comparable history. Medical assisting and office assisting have been recognized as distinct occupations since the 1950s, and today, both have highly regarded professional organizations that set the standards for their specialties.

In many ways, the duties of a medical assistant and a medical office assistant overlap. But in general, a medical office assistant is an exclusively administrative specialist while a medical assistant is cross trained to tackle both clerical and clinical tasks. Each has a vital, but different role.

Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants work primarily in doctor’s offices, but their role is expanding to other settings, to include hospitals, outpatient clinics and insurance companies. Where medical professionals need organizational support, medical office assistants are in demand.

As a representative of the healthcare team, they manage a broad range of administrative responsibilities, such as:

  • Answering the phone
  • Overseeing the schedule
  • Greeting patients
  • Managing the reception area
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Aiding with billing
  • Maintaining medical records
  • Transcribing visit notes
  • Performing light accounting
  • Helping with payment inquires
  • Ordering office supplies

A vocational school education offers training in office procedures as well as other courses that emphasize the managerial needs of a healthcare practice. Unlike a medical assistant’s education, medical office assistants receive more training in subjects such as medical coding, billing and insurance. A medical office assistant has the ideal skills to help patients with their non-medical needs.

What skills does a medical office assistant need for success? As the first point of contact between patients and their healthcare team, medical office assistants should be courteous and professional. Clients should feel at ease approaching them with concerns and equally confident that they will handle their needs with care.

As the organizational experts that providers depend upon for productivity, a medical office assistant is called to be a fearless multitasker who is both attentive to detail and aware of the bigger picture.

Medical office assistants are the ambassadors of first impressions and should be:

  • Positive
  • Reliable
  • Flexible
  • Focused
  • Knowledgeable
  • Friendly and courteous

Excellent communication skills, including the ability to read and write confidently, are vital. Comfort with modern technology such as computers and electronic office equipment is a must.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants can handle most of the administrative functions in a hospital or private practice, but their education is less intensive in clerical procedures than clinical training. Medical assistants give doctors and nurses more time to focus on complex patient care by taking on medically important tasks that don’t require their attention. The talents of medical assistants are the perfect match for busy outpatient settings.

Medical office assistants are more likely to be involved in billing, coding and financial activities. While medical assistants tackle assignments that require a degree of clinical expertise such as:

  • Triaging patient symptoms over the phone
  • Managing outside referrals
  • Scheduling patients for diagnostic testing or surgical procedures
  • Ordering medical equipment and supplies

Hands-on clinical duties include:

  • Obtaining height, weight and vital signs
  • Reviewing patients’ medication and allergy lists
  • Helping clients with limited mobility
  • Keeping exam rooms disinfected and well-stocked
  • Giving immunizations
  • Providing first aid
  • Removing stitches or staples
  • Assisting with in-office surgical procedures
  • Sanitizing instruments
  • Drawing blood and collecting urine samples
  • Performing basic lab tests
  • Providing patient education

In small practices, medical assistants tend to be jacks-of-all-trades. Their responsibilities in large, multi-provider practices may have more of a clerical or clinical focus, and their duties will vary significantly based on the type of practice. For example, their role may be more defined in a specialist’s office.

Among the most important skills for medical assistants to possess are flexibility and the ability to communicate confidently. Being able to change gears in a moment, to adapt to shifting responsibilities is essential. No two days are alike on the clinical side of healthcare.

Medical assistants spend more one-on-one time with patients than their purely administrative counterparts. Providing education and hands-on care is a significant part of the job.

To do that, medical assistants should be:

  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Approachable
  • Versatile
  • Dependable
  • Sensitive
  • Open-minded and discrete

Like doctors and nurses, ongoing education is a must for medical assistants. The medical field is continually changing, so a love of learning and the willingness to take on new challenges is vital.

Career Growth Opportunities

For students interested in healthcare, both medical assisting and medical office assisting are rewarding career choices. Medical assistants have more diverse training, so it seems like they have more opportunities, but both fields of study have similar potential. Medical office assisting is simply more focused.

Graduates of either program are employment-ready, but obtaining voluntary certification demonstrates commitment and can lead to professional growth. Graduating from a vocational school program is just the beginning of a long and rewarding career.

With experience and a diploma, a medical office assistant can qualify to become a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). This credential can help the right candidates grow into supervisory or office management positions.

Students graduating from an accredited medical assisting program qualify for certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certification is especially valuable for medical assistants because major insurers require it for tasks like entering doctor’s orders into electronic health records. It not only makes a job applicant more valuable, but it also opens the door to more responsible roles.

Final Thoughts

Healthcare occupations are among the most diverse and fastest growing in the country. And the best part is, there’s room for people with both clinical and administrative aptitude. With the right training, a new career as a respected medical support specialist is right around the corner.

Did learning about medical assistants and medical office assistants interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant program is designed to prepare a graduate to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

How Long to Become a Med Office Professional

While nursing or medical assisting often comes to mind when someone considers a job in the medical industry, there are different options available for those who do not want to provide hands on patient care or spend years studying. Becoming a Medical Office Assistant allows you to have a rewarding career in a fast-paced environment. As a matter of fact, it is possible to embark on this career within as little as 6 months by attending a program full time.

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

A Medical Office Assistant will perform or support the administrative functions in a physician’s office or medical facility. This can include assistance with billing and insurance, scheduling appointments, answering phones, maintaining records, and general office tasks to help ensure the office runs smoothly. This type of professional does not provide hands on care to patients but does have frequent interactions with patients as well as physicians, nurses, and other types of health care professionals. 

Where Are Medical Office Assistants Employed?

There are several different employment settings that need the services of a Medical Office Assistant. Physician’s offices and hospitals are two of the most common settings. However, you may also find employment with other types of clinics such as dialysis clinics, laboratories, long term care, or skilled nursing facilities, just to name a few. Almost any type of health care setting and agency requires administrative support. 

Perks of the Career

The outlook for growth within the health care sector is above average for almost all occupations, medical office assistants included. Demand for Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants is projected to grow 10 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means finding gainful employment as a Medical Office Assistant will be attainable for those who have the skills and knowledge. Unlike more traditional roles in health care, most medical office assistants do not work nights, weekends, or holidays. This is not to say that some clinics won’t require administrative support on weekends, but there is typically a greater work/life balance.

Is Formal Training Needed? 

Although some employers may offer on-the-job training, this is becoming rare. Many hospitals, clinics and other settings of employment prefer candidates that either have experience or some type of formal training. Simply put, some employers will not even consider your resume if you do not already possess the skills that the position requires. They may not have the time or resources to dedicate to on-the-job training. Candidates will find it difficult to obtain employment without a diploma. 

Benefits of Training

There are several benefits of obtaining professional Medical Office Assistant training. Not only do you have a well-rounded knowledge of your duties as a Medical Office Assistant, but you are educated in anatomy, medical terminology, medical coding, and other medical disciplines that will help you in your career. Receiving Medical Office training allows you to enter your new role with the base knowledge needed. You have already learned the skills and competencies required to act as a professional Medical Office Assistant. Being comfortable with the equipment, duties, and practices of the medical office allows you to have the basic skills and competence needed to be an entry level Medical Office Assistant.

Duration of Medical Office Training

One barrier for many people who wish to start a new career is the time commitment involved. That’s what is so great about medical office assistant training programs. You can become a Medical Office Assistant in as little as 6 months, attending full time. Programs do not require hours of prerequisites and unnecessary courses. Rather, the program focuses on the basic skills that you need to know to be proficient in this role. Training to be a Medical Office Assistant saves you time and money while allowing you to pursue a gainful career. 

What Credentials Are Received from Training?

There are different types of Medical Office Assistant training programs; certificate and diploma programs are the most common. Successful completion of a short duration medical office assistant program awards the individual with a diploma. There is an optional certification through the National Center of Competency, NCCT. Those who have completed formal education are eligible to sit for the certification examination. As with the diploma program, it is an optional benefit that can make your resume more attractive to potential employers.

Final Thoughts

There are many rewarding careers within health care. However, many of these require a lot of time and education. Becoming a medical office assistant is a fast track to a fulfilling career. Whether you want to work in health care without being hands on, are seeking career stability, or want to advance within the role, medical office training can help you achieve your goals. 

Now that you know how long it takes to become a medical office assistant, want to learn more? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today. If you are interested in learning how you can start a new career by attending PCI Health Training Center, contact us for more information on how to start a rewarding career today.

 

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

 

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information

How to Create a Medical Office Emergency Plan

How to Create a Medical Office Emergency Plan

A medical office needs to be resilient in times of crisis. FEMA recommends that all businesses plan in advance to manage any emergency. They recommend being prepared to assess the crisis situation, use common sense and use available resources to take care of the those involved.

During a crisis is the time when patients are at their most vulnerable and when medical offices may need the most support. It is very important that a medical office and all its employees know how an emergency plan operates. Medical office administration staff are ideal at developing emergency plans.

Risk Assess the Potential

One of the most important things for the medical office assistant to do when developing an emergency plan is to consider the potential risks to the medical facility. This ranges from flooding from a nearby river making roads impassable to a chemical plant being in the neighborhood. An emergency may include illness striking the staff and the need for an emergency staffing plan. The medical office may fall into darkness with an electricity outage. Increasingly the risk of computer system failure and hacking is a hazard as more records and systems go digital. It is also recognized in emergency planning that it is impossible to plan for everything as the unexpected can and does occur. Being prepared for common scenarios increases the resilience of the medical office and the likelihood that everyone involved will be safe.

Stock Emergency Supplies

Every medical facility needs to be prepared for a crisis and have the proper supplies to combat any situation. Basic supplies include fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Each employee should have a personal kit that satisfies their specific needs including any medications they may need. First aid kits should be available in case of an emergency. Other items that may be supplied in case of an emergency include a battery-powered commercial radio, extra batteries, flashlights, whistle to signal for help, and tools to turn off utilities.

Clearly Display Emergency Routes

It is important to include the emergency routes out of the medical office. Staff and patients need to be aware of the emergency routes and follow them in case of a crisis. These emergency routes must take into consideration the use of stairs rather than elevators and access for disabled co-workers. There should also be a rally point set for everyone to meet after leaving the medical office. Make sure to account for all medical staff and patients when arriving at the off-site emergency location.

Pick an Emergency Leader

The medical office administrative staff should be in charge the day of the crisis. They will be fully in charge of the medical office emergency plan and have the authority to make decisions to keep people safe. The medical office administrative staff will also have the knowledge, skill set and available resources to implement the emergency plan. They will also become ambassadors for new employees and those needing retraining.

Develop Contingency Solutions

Once the medical office is aware of potential hazards they can create an emergency plan in case a crisis occurs. Having a contact list of all staff is vital. The plan needs to list the processes to take should an emergency situation occur. An example is a scenario where all the doctors have contracted influenza and are unable to work. Solutions might include cancelling routine surgery and getting colleagues from another medical office to cover for the sick doctors. If there is deep snow, or flooding, some of the administrative work may be continued remotely by staff having access from home. Another critical solution for emergency planning is to make sure computer systems are backed up off site. If the office caught fire destroying computers, it is essential to have access to medical records.

Working with a Larger System Plan

One of the most important things for medical office administration staff to do when developing an emergency plan is to connect to other organizations. The city government may have systems in place that the medical office can take advantage of. The community can come together to plan with local hospitals, and the fire and rescue services in case of a crisis. It is also vital for a medical office to partner with other medical facilities in the area to ensure plans are consistent and there is cross coverage. The medical office can also provide support to a hospital in an emergency if there is an overflow of injured patients. By being part of a larger plan, across a region, there is likely to be consistency with planning in emergencies.

Test the Plan

One of the most important things to do is test an emergency plan by having a trial drill. This can be organized by the medical office administration staff who also keeps records to ensure everyone has received training. Practice exercises identifying issues that need to be resolved and amended for the medical office emergency plan. The practice also ensures that medical office staff is familiar with the plan and can act in an emergency situation.

Emergency planning is a vital part of running a safe medical office. By having an agreed upon and tested emergency plan, a medical office can be as prepared as possible for a real-world crisis.

Ready to be a part of a community that takes care of all medical staff and patients? Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance billing, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk, in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

 

Organize a Disorganized Physician

Medical Offices and departments that are organized are more likely to operate efficiently than those who work in chaotic environments. Physicians are incredibly busy people and do not have time to do clerical tasks that are often business critical. That’s where medical office assistants are indispensable. With their unique skill sets they can create order and organize a physician using a proper system for organizing medical records.

To create an organized physician’s office, the medical office assistant will want to establish a filing system and use electronic health records to allow care providers access to patient information. They will want to set up the billing and coding processes, so the physician gets paid for services rendered and the patient is billed properly for healthcare services. The medical office assistant will want to also keep staff records and calendars organized so continuing education requirements are met and meetings don’t overlap. The medical office will want to draft an emergency plan in case disaster strikes. Finally, the medical office assistant will need to make sure the medical office abides by HIPAA guidelines to minimize legal ramifications for patient privacy breach.

Establish a Filing System

One of the most important tasks when organizing a medical office is to set up a filing system. Using alphanumeric and tabular filing systems can allow medical staff to find paper records when needed. However, a filing system is not just for paper records and invoices but there needs to be an online file as well for electronic correspondence. The use of electronic health records allows the patient’s entire medical history to be accessed by all medical providers. Making this easy to access will help anyone find the medical information they need. The medical office assistant will also need to ensure there is a secure data system and that patient records are secure as they should only be accessed by the staff working directly with the patient.

What is an Electronic Health Record?

The electronic health record (EHR) is a systemized collection of a patient’s electronically stored health information. The electronic health records can be shared by all providers in a patient’s care including physicians, medical offices and healthcare professionals. Medical records can be shared in minutes and better healthcare can be administered to patient with the help of electronic health records.

Some of the information recorded in electronic health records includes patient personal information, vital signs, medical history, medications, immunization status, laboratory test results, and all insurance billing information. It is important that only authorized medical staff have access to electronic health records and abide by HIPAA guidelines.

Set Up the Billing and Coding Processes

Medical offices need to ensure they have a robust billing and accounts system. Without cash flow the medical staff wages will go unpaid and ultimately the physician’s office could close. Alongside this system is the clinical coding process where diagnoses and treatment of care need to be recorded using internationally recognized codes. The different internationally recognized codes include the International Classification of Diseases version 10 (ICD-10), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). If this process is done incorrectly it can result in under or over payment, and incorrect diagnoses on medical records. Medical office assistants have educational training to review the records and ensure everything is correctly coded. By having these processes in place in a medical office, billing and coding is more efficient. Proper processes also ensure the medical office keeps the business cash flow in check.

Organize Staff Records

Staff records are another area that needs to be in order. Medical office assistants can set up a filing system for personal records. In the medical world there is a requirement for appraisals, revalidation and renewal of some qualifications, and annual training. If they are not completed there are serious consequences. Medical staff may need retraining or not be allowed to perform a procedure until the staff’s required paperwork is in order. By setting reminders for staff, the medical office assistant can help the medical office transform into an organized file system and one where training obligations do not lapse.

Schedule an Office Calendar

Having a single office calendar will enable medical staff to see vacation time, clinic time, and specific meetings. It will also act as a booking system for teaching, specific administrative tasks such as signing off invoices or documents, and reminders when due dates are near. An office diary or calendar avoids double booking appointments and keeps the medical office organized.

Have an Emergency Plan

All medical offices should have an emergency plan, so they can stay resilient in an adverse situation. Medical staff need to plan for adverse weather. For example, snow or floods may inhibit medical staff to reach the office and alternative plans must be in place as patients will still become ill and injured. It may even be more vital in an emergency situation to have a plan to manage multiple patients through a triage process. If the computer system was destroyed, is there an off-site back up set up that is data secure? Developing a plan for emergency situations will enable the medical office to be prepared if a crisis occurs. Making sure all the physicians are aware of and read the plan is essential.

Know and Follow HIPAA guidelines

The medical office assistant will need to keep all patient information confidential as a disorganized physician may inadvertently reveal private patient information to people that are not authorized to view it. Following HIPAA guidelines is important to not only keep patient information confidential but to not experience any legal implications for breach of patient confidentiality.

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was developed to help ensure the confidentiality of medical records in the age of the computer. The HIPAA privacy rule requires that healthcare providers, health plans and healthcare clearinghouses gain authorization before they can use or disclose protected patient information. This privacy rule requires that the covered entities provide patients with written notice of their privacy practices and the patient’s privacy rights. All pharmacies, health plans and other covered entities must obtain an individual’s authorization before sending marketing materials. Finally, patients must be able to access their personal medical records and be able to request changes to correct any errors.

Final Thoughts

Medical office assistants have a vital role in organizing disorganized physicians and their medical offices. From setting up a filing system to developing an emergency plan and getting coding in order, a good medical office assistant can create order out of chaos.

Enjoy organizing records and creating filing systems?  Want to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance billing, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk, in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

What Can I Do with a Med Office Assisting Diploma

Med Office Professional Assisting Diploma

Interested in what you can do with a Medical Office Assistant diploma? After completing a Medical Office Assistant diploma program, you will be ready to enter the work-force as a medical front office assistant, medical receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, medical office appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk, in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and medical billing offices.

Medical Front Office Assistant

Medical front office assistants perform clerical and administrative duties including organizing files, preparing documents, scheduling appointments and supporting other medical staff. The day-to-day tasks of a medical front office assistant include:

• Medical record management in paper and electronic formats
• Answering telephones and scheduling appointments
• Processing mail both incoming and outgoing
• Manage insurance billing and claims
• Prepare correspondence to communicate information to patients

Medical Receptionist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1, medical receptionists perform administrative tasks including answering phones, receiving patients and scheduling appointments in a doctor’s office or medical facility. The day-to-day tasks of a medical receptionist include:

• Answering telephone calls and taking messages
• Scheduling and confirming appointments
• Greeting and welcoming patients
• Checking patients in and directing them to specific destinations<
• Informing doctors, nurses and medical assistants of patients’ arrivals or cancellations
• Entering customer data electronically
• Filing and maintaining paper or electronic documents
• Handling incoming and outgoing mail and email

Medical Insurance Biller

In bigger medical facilities and doctor’s offices, a single person may be responsible for medical insurance billing. The medical insurance biller compiles, computes and records patient’s billing. They prepare billing invoices and process payments from patients. The medical insurance biller will also be responsible for billing of the insurance company with the help of various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes.

Medical Insurance Collector

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics2, the medical insurance collector works to recover payments on overdue medical bills. The medical insurance collector does the following on a day-to-day basis:

• Inform patients that they have an overdue bill and try to negotiate a payment
• Explain the terms of sale or contract with the patient, when necessary
• Learn the reasons for the overdue bills, which can help with the negotiations

Medical Office Appointment Scheduler

In bigger medical facilities and doctor’s offices, one person may be solely responsible for appointment scheduling as part of a team of medical office assistants. The medical office appointment scheduler is responsible for setting new appointments when the doctor wants to see a patient, updating doctor’s calendars and contacting patients prior to the appointment to leave a reminder.

Medical Secretary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics3, the medical secretary performs secretarial duties using specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. The medical secretary’s duties may include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.

Medical Records Clerk

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics4, the medical records clerk organizes and manages health information data by ensuring that it maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. The medical records clerk uses various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories. Health information technicians typically do the following:

• Review patients’ records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
• Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
• Track patient outcomes for doctors and nurses
• Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis
• Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
• Maintain confidentiality of patients’ records with HIPPA guidelines

Interested in becoming a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to work as an entry-level medical office assistant in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Interested in a Medical Office Assisting program? PCI Health Training Center has campuses on Dallas and Richardson, TX. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information

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1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/receptionists.htm

2U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bill-and-account-collectors.htm

3U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes436013.htm

4U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-2