Does the job of a medical receptionist involve challenge and hard work? What are the duties of the receptionist? What are the qualifications required to work as a receptionist at a hospital? Well, this CareerStint article has answers to all these questions.
As a medical receptionist, you may have to work in a busy environment in a health-care office, in a nursing home, or in clinics and hospitals. It is one of the best hospital jobs among the nonmedical category. A medical receptionist’s job, mainly involves the duties of being a mediator between the doctor and his patients, and as an office organizer who manages crucial data regarding the health of thousands of patients who visit the doctor. The person may not have a medical background; however, he/she may get immense job satisfaction by being helpful to patients and doctors.
Duties of a Medical Receptionist
▣ To register patients according to hospital protocol.
▣ To explain the clinic policies to patients while receiving and delivering messages.
▣ To organize and maintain forms and office stationery required for front-desk activities.
▣ To communicate with vendors.
▣ To assist new employees.
▣ To inspect leased supplies carefully.
▣ To inform the patient if the doctor is running late or is unable to attend to his patients for the day. In such cases, the receptionist must be courteous, apologize for the inconvenience caused, and assure the patient that the appointment will be rescheduled.
▣ To organize overflowing paper documents.
▣ To open the office in the morning, greet patients and agency visitors.
▣ To direct patients and medical representatives to the appropriate location and services.
▣ To secure the building, turn off or unplug appliances and machines according to agency protocols, and lock all entrances at the close of each working day.
▣ To check if there is enough stock of medical bags, and bottles in the consulting rooms.
▣ To handle any form of emergency, effectively and efficiently.
▣ To keep the reception area ready for each working day, open the clinic at the specified time, and have all front-desk activities fully operational at the start of the business hours.
Proactive Management of Appointment System
▣ To make spreadsheets, manage data, and create documents on computers using desktop publishing programs and digital graphics. (Microsoft Excel and Word experience is a must, and 35 WPM typing speed is sufficient.)
▣ To schedule patient’s hospital admissions, to file and complete medical reports and insurance forms, to fill discharge forms, etc.
▣ To assist patients to accurately complete appropriate forms and documents to obtain the required information.
▣ To collect and deposit fees according to protocols, to prepare and balance daily financial registers, and to submit all forms and fees to the accounts department.
▣ To have knowledge on the working of computer system, time slots to book appointments for the day, along with the procedure for booking daily and urgent appointments.
▣ To reserve and maintain a time-slot for patients who ask for an urgent appointment due to unavoidable circumstances.
Management of Medical Records
▣ To maintain medical records and report statistics when required.
▣ To participate in staff and educational meetings.
▣ To handle and manage the continuous flow of information in doctor’s offices in health-care establishments.
▣ To maintain medical records in an alphabetical order, so that information of a particular patient may be retrieved without any hassle.
▣ To refile medical records as instructed by the practitioner.
▣ To distribute the required information via post, courier, telephone, and email.
Confidentiality of Client Information
▣ To respect and maintain the privacy and dignity of clients and to assure client confidentiality at all times.
▣ To deal with patients requesting information on clinic policies and timings, test results, and requests to consult the practitioner on an urgent basis.
▣ To provide relevant informational material, such as leaflets, or procedural brochures if required, and assist them in nonclinical ways.
▣ To determine the financial status of patients and their eligibility for health services.
What You May Like about the Profession
The job of a medical receptionist is one good pathway to enter the medical arena. This is one job in the medical field that does not require you to have a medical background. If you have it, there is no looking back; however, if you don’t, there is nothing to worry. Interest in the area and inner motivation to learn the ways of the profession will take you to roles you have been wanting to execute. As far as working hours are concerned, they are fixed and there is very little possibility of you being required to stay beyond your stipulated working hours. Besides, it is not a very stressful job if your responsibilities are the same as mentioned on paper, conforming to your designation.
What You May NOT Like about the Profession
The job of a medical receptionist may not be stressful; however, the clinic environment, predominantly remains busy and buzzing with patients. Besides, there are chances that you may be going about completing the assigned duties in a responsible manner, until a task is plundered on your shoulders. You must know how to tackle such situations with acumen and a hint of diplomacy. Be subtle, and let the person know that your duties are defined and it is not in your reach to accomplish the task assigned. You may oblige the individual and complete the task once, but be careful so as to not let this happen again. If you are able to prioritize your work and vocalize to your superior, when work is dumped at your desk without your permit, you needn’t worry on this score. If you do not have your duties thoroughly laid out on paper from day 1, you may have to entertain unnecessary and unruly requests from people, which you would have to comply with.
At least a high school diploma or an equivalent degree is required to work as a medical receptionist. However, those who have taken medical classes, are likely to have higher chances for gaining employment. Proper medical experience and willingness is more important for this job.
Studies show that the outlook for medical receptionists is quite favorable. According to reviews of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of receptionists will grow by nine percent between 2006 and 2016, which is roughly as fast as the national average.” According to Payscale salary surveys, a medical receptionist can earn a salary ranging between USD 20,521 – USD 35,353. Advances in technology cannot affect the career growth of the receptionist working at a clinic or hospital. Receptionists are still required to interact with staff, doctors, and patients.
Educational Prerequisites and Industry Experience
Provided that an applicant has effective and essential workplace communications skills, a high school diploma, generally is all that is required to work as a receptionist at a medical center. Most of the high school vocational programs and community colleges offer courses teaching typing and office-management skills. The specialized training to learn the medical language of hospital industry, usually is obtained on the job. Medical receptionist job description includes understanding the coding of diagnosis, coding and purpose of medical procedures, knowing the names of the medicines and drugs, coordinating with hospital labs and X-ray or CT scan rooms, etc.
An experienced person is always preferred by an employer. Though relevant experience is what counts, experience as a receptionist in any other field is also considered as an added advantage. There exists several types of jobs in hospitals, and some of them do not require a medical background at all. However, knowledge and experience in the medical field always counts.
Qualities Desired in a Candidate
▣ Congenial disposition
▣ Able to communicate effectively and courteously with patients and staff members
▣ Should have no problems working in a team, or independently
▣ Proficient in handling the computer system
▣ Excellent telephone etiquette
▣ Basic understanding of field-related terminology
▣ Experience in a general practice environment (It is not necessary; however, it, sure is a plus.)
▣ Knowledge of more than one language (It is not necessary; however, it, sure is a plus.)
While going through the job description, you must have noticed that the duties of a receptionist and the duties of a secretary are similar. However, a secretary manages the work of only his/her immediate boss, whereas a medical receptionist has to manage the work of the office, and deal with people visiting the office. Working as a receptionist, definitely is quite challenging. And bigger the organization, more challenging is the work.