Medical administrative assistants play a critical role in healthcare facilities. They ensure the smooth running of administrative tasks while supporting healthcare professionals.
They must possess a diverse set of skills to succeed in this role – from communication and organization to technical knowledge and attention to detail.
In this guide, we will cover skills needed for administrative assistant roles. We’ll also cover how to develop and utilize them to excel in the profession.
As a medical office assistant, your job role is highly technical. Medical administrative assistants are required to memorize terminology. They are also required to manage medical office systems and use medical software.
There is a wide-ranging vocabulary that you’ll have to master as a medical administrative assistant. This vocabulary can be organized into groups. These groups include equipment and technology, commonly ordered tests, medical records and reports, and abbreviations.
To ensure the smooth running of the medical facility, you need to recognize these words immediately and implement the necessary medical administrative task.
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Medical office assistants will be required to read and understand both EMRs and EHRs. These documents include treatment history, information on scheduled checkups, and parameters such as blood pressure readings and vaccinations received.
The medical office administration role sometimes involves translating paper charts and other documentation into EMRs and EHRs.
Coding and billing procedures
The coding and billing procedure involves taking a patient’s diagnosis and finding the corresponding code. This code will then be used to request payment from the patient’s insurance company.
To master this skill, you need to learn and memorize standard codes. You also need to learn how to analyze patient documentation and determine appropriate codes to send to insurance companies.
Medical transcription involves receiving voice notes from healthcare professionals and transcribing them into medical documentation.
Scheduling and appointment management
As a medical administrative assistant, you’ll have to book patients for future appointments. This will either be done as the patient leaves an appointment or over the phone.
This requires proficient scheduling skills and the ability to organize appointments on a computerized system. You need to guarantee that the time slot chosen is big enough for the patient’s medical needs.
Insurance claim filing
Sometimes, you’ll have to fill out a patient’s insurance claim on their behalf. This involves taking a patient’s relevant insurance information and organizing a claim document.
Like coding and billing procedures, insurance claim filing will probably be done over computerized accounts software, like QuickBooks.
Computer skills for medical assistant jobs
This involves being proficient in whatever management system the medical practice uses primarily. Some common medical practice management software includes Luma Health, NextGen Healthcare EHR, and WebPT.
Additionally, you’ll need to be proficient in the likes of Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
To ensure the smooth running of the medical facility, medical administrative assistants are required to be highly organized. Not only do they need to master the technical aspect of the job, but they also need to implement these skills in a timely and organized fashion.
In a medical setting, time management is everything. Time needs to be organized to ensure that all key tasks are completed within a set timeframe.
A daily schedule should be organized, but you need to leave plenty of room for unexpected tasks that need immediate attention. A big part of the medical administrative role involves multitasking. You may be required to take phone calls while also creating Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).
It’s, therefore, vital that you don’t get sidetracked too much by other tasks, and fail to leave sufficient time for key tasks. Strong time management skills are therefore necessary.
On top of completing routine tasks, the medical administrative assistant needs to assess what jobs are high priority and complete them first. It’s important to know when tasks need immediate attention and when other jobs can wait.
Filing and record-keeping
A certain degree of accounting experience is required to complete admin tasks, such as filing and record-keeping. You need to keep records of payments received from insurance companies and patients and file them accordingly.
Files need to be organized logically to ensure you can fetch specific files as necessary.
Administrative assistants are also tasked with maintaining inventory tracking systems. This involves ensuring that the healthcare setting is well-stocked with both clinical and medical office supplies. Medical assistants use their computer skills to set up re-orders on products and ensure that a safe level of supplies is kept.
Managing medical supplies and equipment
In addition to managing inventory, you also need to maintain the equipment and supplies the facility is already using. This involves organizing maintenance checks when necessary.
It also involves repairing/replacing equipment as required and organizing the safe disposal of medical supplies and equipment.
Attention to Detail Skills
Medical administrative assistants don’t administer medical care directly. However, attention to detail is necessary to ensure the right care is given at the right times. You need to ensure 100% accuracy when it comes to patient records, medical insurance correspondence, and general clerical duties.
Maintaining accuracy in record-keeping
As a medical administrative assistant, you need to make sure that the data you’re inputting into the medical software is correct. Although computers minimize the risk of human error, mistakes can still happen. You need to make time to review your work for accuracy.
Reviewing patient information for accuracy
An administrative assistant job demands that you check on your patient information regularly. Its worth regularly reviewing patient information to ensure accuracy corresponds across different software and databases.
Ensuring compliance with medical regulations and guidelines
When completing your medical administration duties, you need to bear in mind medical regulations. You need to ensure these meet the lawful requirements when processing insurance campaigns.
Attention to detail in scheduling appointments, billing procedures, and medical coding
Staying alert to your work for long periods is an essential part of the medical administrative assistant job role. Billing procedures and medical coding involve numerous steps. You need to make sure you’re repeatedly entering the correct data throughout each of these steps.
When it comes to scheduling appointments, strong communication skills are necessary to organize an appropriate date and time with patients. You need to find out what time works best for them, while also determining the best available slot for them. To carry this out, quick thinking and attention to detail are necessary.
Problem-Solving Medical Administrative Qualities
Regardless of how organized you are, unique problems and issues are always going to arise in medical settings. This can include emergency appointments, technical problems, and billing errors. Medical administrative assistants are required to be on the ball and quick to deal with unforeseen problems as they arise.
The medical administrative assistant needs to be alert to potential issues at all times. Their job demands that they identify minor issues before they turn into major ones. The medical setting is highly unpredictable, and issues can emerge unexpectedly.
While it’s impossible to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, a medical administrative assistant needs to be able to identify when things are going wrong.
Analyzing data and information
A big part of medical assistant problem-solving skills involves troubleshooting. This can be done by analyzing data and patient records to identify discrepancies. From here, perhaps solutions can be developed.
Just as medical problems are unique, solutions also need to be original. Therefore, critical thinking plays a huge role in the medical office. A medical office assistant needs to review the problem and the data they have to formulate a solution.
Often, a solution needs to be developed immediately. This means there’s a lot of pressure involved, too.
Implementing solutions effectively
Medical assistants require strong communication skills to implement their solutions effectively. Once a solution has been formulated, the medical office assistant needs to communicate this solution to physicians, managers, and nurses. They need to make sure that all colleagues comprehend the solution and can implement it into their work.
The medical administrative assistant role is a lot more than just admin. The medical office requires a whole host of skills to be maintained accordingly. This includes data management, coding and billing, scheduling, inventory management, and solution development.
To become a medical administrative assistant, mastering all the skills noted in this article is required. Once in the job role, it would also be recommended to enroll in additional education programs to further boost your knowledge and understanding of the role.
What are the most important technical skills for a medical administrative assistant to have?
The most important technical skill is understanding medical terminology. Without this key skill, understanding all other technical requirements would be difficult. Other vital technical skills include understanding how medical office management systems work and the ability to carry out coding and billing procedures.
How can I develop my organizational skills in a medical administrative assistant role?
When completing your medical administrative assistants’ training, you will be taught organizational skills and shown how to implement them in a medical setting. Within the medical office job role, you need to habitually organize every piece of data presented to you.
How can I stay up to date with changes in medical coding and billing procedures?
You can check the CMS.gov website and the CMS handbook for regular updates. These updates include changes to regulations and guidelines related to medical coding and billing.