Careers in healthcare are booming right now. It is one of the biggest growth industries for the foreseeable future. But what if you’re not interested in the hands-on medical stuff or your skills are more administrative in nature? Ever thought about medical reception jobs? Find out if this career path is right for you.
A medical receptionist is an integral part of a healthcare team. Doctors, nurses and other medical and administrative staff members rely on the medical receptionist to create a friendly, welcoming and well-organised front office for patients.
As a medical receptionist you will be responsible for optimising the patient’s satisfaction, keeping the reception and waiting areas running smoothly and all administrative matters relating to patient records.
Health administration duties can vary from workplace to workplace but generally speaking, medical receptionists also handle the following:
- Greeting and attending to patients in person and over the phone
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Answering all incoming phone calls in a courteous and professional manner
- Monitoring stocks and supplies within the practice
- Billing patients
- Maintaining confidentiality of all doctor, staff and patient information.
What Personal Attributes and Skills are Required?
Medical receptionists need to have solid people and administrative skills to keep things flowing efficiently in the doctor’s office. To be successful in their role, a medical receptionist is expected to be compassionate, caring, professional and discrete with a high level of organisation skills. Attention to detail is a must as they are dealing with sensitive and confidential information on a daily basis.
Regardless of whether the role is in a general practice, medical or allied health clinic or hospital a medical receptionist needs to be able to effectively multi-task, have amazing time management and provide a high level of customer service.
Communication skills are at the heart of this job role. First and foremost, the medical receptionist should have sharp listening abilities to find out what the patient needs and then help them.
Along with providing accurate information about the practice to patients, receptionists manage tricky calls, deal with difficult patients and send clear communication and messages to patients and other health providers either verbally or in writing via email or SMS.
The medical receptionist is usually the first representative that the patient or visitor encounter, whether on the phone or in person. They represent the entire practice every time they interact with a patient.
Working so closely with the public, receptionists must have a warm, welcoming yet professional demeanour and provide excellent customer service.
Look the part. Greet everyone with a smile and a kind word and show that you are happy to help.
Receptionists interact with a wide range of personality types in both pleasant and sometimes difficult circumstances. They should be friendly and confident, but also be tactful and sympathetic.
Medical office front desk receptionists also interact frequently with medical professionals, supervisors and other staff members, so they must be able to collaborate easily, give and receive criticism gracefully, and rise above petty office politics. Good interpersonal skills go beyond basic communication abilities. Soft skills like friendliness and likability are especially important for the receptionist role.
Exceptional time management
Throughout each working day receptionists juggle a multitude of different tasks; managing the demands of taking calls, booking appointments, taking and relaying messages and still completing clerical tasks on time.
It calls for a high level of multi-tasking ability coupled with skills such as time management and the capability to prioritise duties. It is imperative that the medical receptionist is able to deal with stress while managing fast-paced office duties.
Attention to detail
Great receptionists need to be highly organised and detail oriented to ensure that daily administrative tasks don’t fall through the cracks. After all they need to keep themselves and possibly everyone else on track. They can find files and phone numbers at a moment’s notice, and maintain a tidy work area.
Technical reception skills
Front desk receptionists mainly use telephones and computers to communicate with patients and staff so they must have basic keyboard knowledge.
The telephone system will probably feature multiple internal and external lines that must be kept operating smoothly. You’ll also most likely need to be familiar with word-processing software packages. Any receptionist should be comfortable using phone systems, copiers and printers.
There’s no doubt that since medical receptionists are working in a medical practice, allied health centre or hospital, these individuals need a basic understanding of the industry and industry-specific software programs. In general, a medical administration course would ensure they are well versed with medical terminology, privacy legislation and medical billing.
Courses and Training
A qualification in either a Certificate III in Business (Medical Administration) or Certificate III in Health Administration are well looked upon; as well as both knowledge and experience of office administration or customer service in a different field.
You may be lucky enough to find government funded medical receptionist courses in your state.