Medical office managers are the secret backbone of every physician’s office. Working behind the scenes, they keep everything running smoothly and efficiently. From interviewing new hires to brainstorming new ways to cut costs and improve services, a medical office manager has a huge impact on patient experience. It’s a great time to establish a career in medical and health service management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 315,000 jobs in the sector in 2012, and the projected growth is an astonishing 23%. The median annual salary was $88,580 two years ago, with much higher salaries offered by large practices. So what does it take to land the job? The set of competencies required to succeed is large, but there are three particular areas you should focus on to position yourself strongly in today’s market.
- Invest in your education. Most physician practice managers hold at least a bachelor’s degree in health administration, but a master’s degree is common in the highest-paying positions. You’ll need to study human resources administration, strategic planning, accounting and budgeting, and general management courses. The specific demands of the job also require specialized education in health economics, law, ethics and regulations. As technology continues to become a central part of the health care landscape, you’ll need to learn about health information systems. A high level of competence with general office technology and software is an absolute must.
- Establish exceptional organizational skills. Because the medical office manager holds all the daily operations of the practice in their hands, they should be extraordinarily detail oriented. Impeccable timekeeping is a prerequisite, as well as the ability to multitask effectively. Keeping the office running requires an intimate knowledge of scheduling and billing procedures and software. Being organized yourself is not enough. You’ll need to have the interpersonal and management skills to keep an entire staff on track in the sometimes chaotic environment of a busy practice.
- Cultivate a passion for customer service. Today’s patients have more choice of treatment options than ever before, and they demand a very high degree of care, attention and service. A doctor’s office can be a stressful place for patients and staff alike, but with a skilled office manager at the helm, a practice can minimize anxiety and offer clients a calm, efficient and positive experience. Reducing wait times, ensuring courtesy at all times, and facilitating a competent and intelligent exchange of information all fall within your responsibility as office manager, and they go a long way towards making your practice a place patients will value. You have the power to help each patient feel listened to, respected and cared for, building loyalty and guaranteeing the success of your practice.
The details of a medical office manager’s job are a mystery to the general public, and most patients will never know the expertise and skill that goes into facilitating their care. Commitment, a passion for health care, and the ability to coordinate a complex range of day-to-day operations will make you an irresistible candidate in an industry that makes a real difference in people’s lives.