Clinical News

Medical Office Managers and Their Importance In Practice Care

Medical Office Managers and Their Importance In Practice Care

In every industry, management is a widely diverse job that comes with a lot of responsibilities. Managers delegate tasks, motivate staff members, solve problems, and organize resources to accomplish long-term goals. In the healthcare industry, medical office managers (MOMs) play a crucial role. A medical office manager is an individual who oversees all aspects of the medical practice, except for caring for patients. In addition to ensuring that the practice is running smoothly, they also hire and train staff members, handle patient complaints, and manage clerical duties. By 2024, it is estimated that employment of medical office managers will grow by 17%.

Ineffective management can lead to staff overload, long patient wait times, and payment errors. If the quality of service at your practice requires a medical office manager’s insight and assistance, then hiring one might be of great value to you. However, the job responsibilities of a medical officer manager can vary to a great extent, depending on the size of your practice as well as your area of expertise. In most cases, the medical office manager handles administration and finance duties but they may also handle other tasks – depending on the needs of your practice. The most common medical office manager duties include the following:

  • Hiring staff members;
  • Training and supervising staff members;
  • Addressing and resolving conflict issues among staff members;
  • Keeping up to date on changing healthcare regulations – HIPAA compliance;
  • Ordering supplies and maintaining equipment;
  • Organizing and maintaining records;
  • Accounting, banking, and billing;
  • Working with vendors and services;
  • Medical coding;
  • Handling leases;
  • Improving quality and efficiency

In a way, the medical officer manager acts as the “jack of all trades”. They oversee the growth of your practice, during which time they also maintain an appropriate office environment. Their proficiency and performance can greatly affect the level of success for your practice. That being said, how do you find the right individual to hire? There are certain skills that a medical officer manager needs in order to be successful in fulfilling his or her duties and responsibilities. He or she needs to have strong communication skills (both written and oral), organizational skills, interpersonal skills, technical skills, analytical skills, and leadership skills. They also need to be detail-oriented, flexible, and adaptable to certain changes with advances in the practice and healthcare industry as a whole.

Above all, a medical office manager’s duties fall under three groups:

  • Communication – your medical office manager needs to be able to work well with others. They need to be able to manage and support relationships with staff members, patients, outside services, and fellow colleagues. In a way, they need to act as the ideal figure for authority, yet someone an individual can turn to for guidance and support.
  • Information – your medical office manager needs to be the individual that others can turn to for information and answers. For this reason, he or she needs to be able to understand data from internal and external sources and transmit it to the necessary parties. For instance, understanding financial guidelines is relevant to handling banking and billing. Most important, your medical office manager should ensure that your practice is in full compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and up to date with other healthcare rules and regulations.
  • Decision-making – your medical office manager is responsible for making and implementing decisions so that you do not have to. They are in charge of finding, hiring, and training staff members who will work well as a team and ensure that your practice will be performing at its highest capacity. Moreover, they decide staff schedules, allocate resources, negotiate contracts and leases, as well as decide agendas and staff meetings.

Although different practices have different requirements, the ideal candidate for the position of medical office manager should have a blend of education and experience. A bachelor’s degree in business administration may be helpful in preparing the individual for handling business operations. What’s more, taking training classes in basic clinical subjects is recommended in order to gain a better understanding of medical terminologies and common procedures. Of course, a requirement is expertise in computers and Microsoft applications. They should be able to understand HIPAA requirements for protecting patient privacy information. Moreover, familiarity with software programs for scheduling and billing is also an added bonus. A certificate in medical office management is optional, although it is preferred. 

While you are busy caring for your patients, a medical officer manager stays behind the scenes and oversees the business part of operations. Perhaps what your practice needs is better management. If you are interviewing a couple of promising candidates, here are a few questions that may help you to identify the right candidate for the position:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • At your previous jobs, have you ever made a change that resulted in improvement for the business as a whole?
  • What did you like most about your previous job?
  • What did you like least about your previous job?
  • Have you ever handled difficult customers or customer complaints?
  • How will you ensure success within this environment?
  • What do you think would be the most difficult part of this position?
  • What is your experience working with scheduling and financing?
  • Have you ever taken on a leadership role?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Do you have any questions?

The questions that you will ask each candidate should address the specific needs and requirements of your practice. This will show you how each candidate will approach and handle different situations, as well as how their previous work experience has prepared them for this particular position.

Just as skills and characteristics are important to consider during an interview, so are negative signs that you should watch out for. A red flag is a candidate that speaks negatively about previous employers or colleagues they have worked with. If this candidate was in a managerial position, such talk can provide you with a little bit of insight about their skills - more specifically, their unprofessionalism. Moreover, a candidate that asks about the salary right away raises a huge red flag. If they are simply applying for the job because of what it pays, then they will not be able to fully commit to helping staff members or working longer hours if it is ever necessary. You want someone who will be able to really understand what the position entails and possess qualities that are vital for ensuring success at your practice.
If a candidate ranks high on your list, consider job shadowing. Introduce them to your practice and staff members. Let them experience what your day to day operations look like – patient calls, patient visits, coding, data entry, and more. This way, not only will they be able to see what will be expected of them but you also get to see how they interact with others – both colleagues and patients. See how well they mesh within your practice in terms of pace and interaction.

Hiring a medical office manager takes time so don’t be in such a hurry to pick the first name on your list. Before screening candidates, sit down and decide what it is that you expect from the role of medical office manager at your practice. During the interview process, look for the qualities that are important to you and be on alert for any red flags. Whether you are a part of a small or large practice, you want to be able to spend time with patients and not have to worry about the business part of operations. This is why finding the ideal individual for the position is so important. With the exception of your position as a healthcare professional, the medical office manager may be the second most significant staff member at your practice. By following yours and your practice’s needs and expectations, you can find the right medical office manager for your medical practice.