The medical office, or practice manager's office is often somewhere to the side, or back area, often near secured areas and archives, where computers and databases, lockers and storage rooms are kept. The medical office manager's role compares to that of a symphony conductor, coordinating the front and back office activities and needs. Usually, this role is filled by a highly experienced medical assistant, Registered Nurse (RN) with a strong medical office background, or a Health Information Manager with a (HIM) degree. Educational requirements vary by the type of organization and the work they do. Medical office manager's specific responsibilities vary by the type of organization and may include keeping records, distributing mail, and planning and maintaining facilities. Sometimes it is the doctor's spouse trained to handle this job. The medical office manager is typically involved in overseeing the office facilities, arranging for after-hours cleaning, reporting problems with the building and the hiring and firing process.
Role Distribution in the Medical Office
The medical assistant's role is as diverse, colorful and varied as the scrubs and uniforms they wear. Their
main function is to assist and support doctors within the practice so they can better focus directly on their
patient's health issues. Medical assistants cover daily operational functions at the front desk which also covers
the reception area, waiting room, administrative areas and archives, as well as the back office clinical and
laboratory floors, examination and treatment rooms, storage and rest rooms. Their duties range from
registering new patients, verifying health insurance coverage, organizing examination rooms, giving out
appointments, collecting and processing co-payments, keeping medical records organized, assisting during a
procedure, obtaining and preserving diagnostic specimens, sorting laboratory result printouts and following up
on patient calls. From time to time skilled medical assistants also perform on-site laboratory rapid screening
tests in compliance with CLIA standards to help doctors determine which medications or further laboratory
tests need to be ordered.
The medical office manager plans and confirms the doctor's meeting and speaking schedules and when they will be working out of the office, e.g. at a contracted hospital. They secure replacements and coverage when the doctor is out of town attending a seminar, make bank deposits and pay utility and other bills, and often, unless it is outsourced to a CPA, write pay checks and log staff member's time cards. Also, they may handle the medical billing aspects of the office unless it is forwarded to a medical coding and billing firm. It all depends on the size and specific needs of the practice.
Who Is In Charge? When a new medical assistant is hired it should be made clear, either verbally or in writing, what he/she is expected to do, which areas to cover and whom to work with as a team while under the doctor's employ. Their job description should spell out technical tasks, such as "responsible for administering immunizations by injection". This rule applies to non-certified, as well as certified medical assistants who often are held to higher standards, especially if they are medical assistants who specialized in a specific therapeutic field.
1.) The ultimate person in charge of the medical office is the doctor. The doctor and practice of medicine is overseen by the State Board of Medical Examiners.
2.) All medical assistants, whether in the front or back office, are supervised by the medical office manager, whose main role is to make sure all patients are being properly admitted and processed in for their appointments, the doctor remains on schedule and informed about what is happening in all areas of the office and patient comfort and safety issues are addressed in a timely manner. The medical office manager may be a seasoned medical assistant or a nurse hired into this position.
3.) Front office tasks are handled by the medical office receptionist, clerical and administrative staff, Their duties mostly consist of administrative duties, such as answering the phones, scheduling appointments, checking in established and registering new patients, and assisting them to fill out their registration and health insurance information forms - an important skill is customer services and proper communication.
4.) Back office duties typically consist of clinical tasks revolving around patient care and preparing them for their medical examinations by the doctor, such as taking vital signs, performing simple diagnostic screening tests, sterilizing, wrapping and setting up equipment and bringing patients to the examination rooms. These are handled by nursing and clinical medical assisting staff.
The Directors If the doctor you work for is also part of a larger company or corporation then typically there are directors at the very top. Directors' duties are a series of statutory, common law and equitable obligations owed primarily by members of the board of directors to the corporation that employs them. Directors must exercise their powers for a proper purpose. Not all jurisdictions recognize the "proper purpose" duty as separate from the "good faith" duty. Nevertheless, to lead the company to success it takes good leadership and a well organized and willing team from bottom to top, including well trained medical assistants.