Medical Office Assistants greet people arriving at hospitals, medical clinics, and offices of healthcare professionals (e.g. Physicians and Dentists). They schedule medical appointments and direct patients to the appropriate areas. They also maintain front desk security and security access lists, receive and record payments, act as a liaison between patients and insurance companies, and may perform other clerical duties, as instructed.
Medical Office Assistants are not to be confused with Medical Assistants, who provide direct assistance to healthcare professionals in the treatment of diseases and injuries.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Medical Office Assistants are required to complete.
- Scheduling and confirming patients’ appointments and surgeries, in person, over the phone, or by email:
- Booking appointments for routine patients and for registered and non-registered patients in need of urgent care;
- matching patient requirements with physician specialties and availabilities;
- coordinating with the client to obtain required medical records prior to examination;
- communicating with patients regarding appointment and documentation queues; and
- assisting with external referrals to other specialists, such as radiologists, oncologists, and the like.
- Greeting and registering patients in a friendly and professional manner:
- Clarifying type of assessment by asking questions or conducting interviews and questionnaires;
- gathering and sometimes updating information from patient’s record; and
- assisting patients in completing forms and documents, such as insurance forms.
- Redirecting or escorting patients to examination/treatment rooms and ensuring appropriate instruments are set up:
- In some cases, checking patients’ height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure.
- Addressing patients’ concerns or inquiries, in person, over the phone, or by email:
- Informing the patient about treatment entries and charges in his record.
- Maintaining office and medical supplies, materials, and equipment:
- Ordering missing supplies and maintaining inventory, replacing materials and equipment as needed or instructed;
- cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment and instruments; and
- delivering and disposing of supplies, materials, and equipment.
- Completing administrative and clerical tasks, such as medical records maintenance, data entry, and medical billing:
- Handling all incoming and outgoing mail, calls, emails, and faxes;
- preparing and proofreading/editing medical records and reports;
- recording, transcribing, typing, drafting, creating, and updating all forms of correspondence, such as exam notification letters or third party forms and letters;
- entering, compiling, recording, and reporting data;
- receiving and recording payments;
- filling and filing insurance documentation;
- being the liaison between patients, pharmacies, or insurance companies when required; and
- filing and sorting medical files and other documents.
- Responding to all in-person, phone, and email inquiries; contacting and following up with patients and their relatives, as well as suppliers and insurance companies.
- Scheduling and confirming routine and urgent care appointments.
- Greeting, registering, and redirecting patients.
- Processing and preparing medical files.
- Receiving payments and recording them into the patient’s record, issuing receipts as needed.
- Maintaining office and medical supplies, materials, and equipment.
- Completing any other administrative task, including data entry and reporting.
The average Medical Office Assistant salary in USA is $29,702 per year or $15 per hour. This is the same as the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $21,000 while most experienced workers make up to $42,000. These results are based on 405 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to create a comforting and transparent environment with patients and their relatives, providing answers to their questions and addressing their concerns;
- displaying strong customer service skills, setting high standards of patient care and safety, treating every patient with dignity and respect;
- using tact, patience, and professionalism when communicating with patients and their relatives, as well as other staff members in order to maintain effective and collaborative relationships;
- being sensitive, supportive, and compassionate when communicating with stressed or ill patients;
- being able to convey patients’ personal and medical information in an accurate, clear manner, as it will be used by other medical staff; and
- being able to work cohesively as part of a team, dealing with a diverse group of people, always conveying a positive image and building positive relationships with others.
- Strong attention to detail:
- Being able to follow detailed instructions in an accurate and thorough manner;
- entering and reviewing data efficiently and accurately;
- being able to work with minimal supervision; and
- staying focused during highly repetitive tasks.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities;
- handling a great volume of work; and
- being exceptionally flexible and able to deal with a broad variety of parameters and changing demands in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills:
- Effectively reading and interpreting information;
- presenting numerical data in a resourceful manner;
- skillfully gathering and analyzing information;
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- identifying processes that require improvement and recommending modifications to increase efficiency and accelerate workflow.
- Administrative skills:
- Demonstrated proficiency in computer word processing, spreadsheet and database applications, as well as specialized clinical information systems; and
- demonstrated ability to type at a speed rate of 40 to 60 words per minute.
- Exceptional professionalism and strong work ethic:
- Being trustworthy enough to handle sensitive/confidential information.
Aside from the skills listed above, Medical Office Assistants also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of medical terminology and must comply with health and safety legislations and regulations, as well as the establishment’s standards.
Although no formal education is required to enter this profession, having a high school diploma is usually enough, as on-the-job training is part of the position. However, having a certificate or an associate's degree in Medical Office Assistance from a community college or a vocational school is becoming a common requirement among employers.
Although not obligatory, a certification can increase aspirants’ possibilities of getting a job. To obtain the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, which is granted by either the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), applicants need to pay the required fees and pass an exam to prove their field of knowledge. A First-Aid Certification, along with a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certification, is usually preferred, as well as proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.
Employers also take into consideration any other relevant combination of education and experience that yields the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. In addition to a recognized certification, the ideal candidate should have worked between one (1) and three (3) years in a healthcare setting.