While there is a certain portfolio of skills every manager should have, the added wrinkle of patient interaction makes the essential skills every medical office manager needs a bit more specialized. Like good insurance for medical professionals, the right medical office manager can provide you with exceptional peace of mind.
Aside from a demonstrated proficiency with all the required computers, software, equipment and processes, here are the key traits for which you should look.
Willingness to Lead
Regardless of who owns the practice, in a lot of ways, the office manager is the boss. They set schedules, assign personnel, oversee processes and just generally keep things flowing smoothly. When there are kinks, an effective medical office manager places the good of the practice ahead of all else and does what needs to be done to straighten them – even if it means disagreeing with you.
Now, with that said, a good manager approaches this process with an attitude of benevolence and a recognition of the greater good. They must be capable of demonstrating empathy, while maintaining a sense of purpose. Tyrannical behavior always creates more problems than it solves. For this reason, the best leaders are individuals people want to follow.
Strong Communicative Capabilities
More than merely talking and listening, communication includes being capable of understanding, respect and sharing. The right person for the job is an equitable arbiter capable of issuing mandates. Employees need to know they can come to them and expect a fair hearing, while understanding their edicts carry the weight of law. The good office manager offers constructive criticism in a way that leaves the subject empowered rather than demoralized. With that said, they must also be willing to learn from staff members in addition to teaching them. After all, the people who perform tasks daily are in the best position to offer potential process improvements.
Sympathy Tempered by Resolve
The very nature of the healthcare business means a medical office manager is going to meet people with serious problems every day. They have to be capable of gently but firmly getting information from patients the office needs to function. They must also have the ability to leave everyone with whom they interact feeling cared for. This means they have to be capable of exhibiting genuine warmth, even while making tough decisions regarding the treatment of sometimes very ill people. They need to create a welcoming and competent environment, respond to patient complaints with respect, and attend to the needs of your patients in the best possible manner—given the resources at hand.
Health Administration Background
To do this job well requires a solid background in the administrative aspects of health care provision. Some familiarity with medical terminology and an understanding of insurance company processes (both for patients as well as the practice’s professional medical insurance) should be among the requirements. Depending upon the state in which your practice is located, as well as your specialty, if you’re operating a nursing care or assisted living facility, medical office managers might be required to be licensed. A thirst for continuing education is also a plus.
Following these general guidelines should help you find someone who will run your office well, freeing you to focus on caring for your patients, which is the most important aspect of your business. After all, your staff (both medical and office) define your practice.
Furthermore, you should protect this staff with insurance for medical professionals. CoverHound can help you get a quote today!