Every medical office requires someone to check in patients, handle paperwork, conduct billing and perform other essential tasks. This means that there are a variety of different settings where a medical office assistant can work.
Types of workplaces
Private physician’s practices: A medical office assistant at a doctor’s office will need to have excellent customer service skills as they are the first point of contact with the patients as they make appointments and arrive at the office. This is a multi-tasking role, which may require a broad range of skills including billing, bookkeeping, and basic medical procedures such as recording vital signs.
Dentist offices: Similarly a medical office assistant in a dentist office will book appointments, take billing information and provide customer service. However, a hygienist would likely handle the clinical tasks.
Physiotherapy, hearing clinics, chiropractors, etc: There are a range of specialists in the medical field who require administrative assistance to run their practices.
Clinics: At a busy clinic you may be assisting with patients for several doctors. You may have to multi-task, or sometimes your tasks will be more specialized depending on the size of the office. This could be a walk-in clinic, a specialized clinic, or a place where multiple family doctors share space and administrative resources.
Hospitals: Hospitals also require administrative help to check people in and take insurance information. This could be in an emergency room or an outpatient clinic attached to the hospital. In this type of setting, employees generally have more well-defined roles. Job titles could also include medical secretary, transcriptionist or patient coordinator.
Insurance companies and government agencies: This path is more rare; however, a medical office assistant can work in a more administrative setting. For example, your knowledge of billing, medical terminology and administration could help you find employment at a public or private insurance company or government agency.
Where should you work?
A medical office assistant can work in a variety of different environments. Where you decide to work may depend on your preferences or, if you live in a smaller town, you may take the positions that are available. What type of schedule do you prefer? Generally, a smaller clinic will have more regular hours whereas a hospital could require 12-hour shifts. Perhaps you like to multitask in a busy environment, or maybe you feel you would work better in a quieter practice. Some people apply for jobs at hospitals because of the room for advancement.
Whatever you choose, a career as a medical office assistant provides excellent growth opportunities and an opportunity to apply your skills in a wide variety of tasks.