What Skills Do You Gain from Being a Medical Receptionist?
You gain many different transferrable skills from working as a medical receptionist.
Medical receptionist skills include good communication, time management, attention to detail, and conflict management. Moreover, medical receptionists often have great organisational skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work under pressure.
If you want to learn more about what’s it like to become a medical receptionist, this article is for you. We will tell you about the different responsibilities of a medical receptionist and the skill set you can develop from working as one.
What is a medical receptionist?
Medical receptionists are the first point of contact for patients at a medical facility. They provide a wide array of services to augment the medical administration of the facility.
They are the first medical personnel that the patient comes into contact with. They are the ones who greet patients and are busy handling phone calls to schedule patients’ appointments.
But they do far more than just that. At every healthcare facility, a lot of administrative tasks are usually taken care of by an excellent medical receptionist.
Medical receptionists are involved in managing files, organising different schedules, and answering phone calls. Many of these are clerical tasks. But they make medical receptionists an integral part of the provider-patient relationship.
Let’s look at some of the tasks and responsibilities of a medical receptionist.
What are the tasks and responsibilities of a medical receptionist?
To become a medical receptionist, you need both hard and soft skills. It’s a people-oriented job, but you will not only greet patients. You will also deal with medical terminology. This means you must have a fair amount of experience in medical practice.
A medical receptionist job description often lays out a few key things.
Dealing with the patient information at the medical centre
Medical receptionists are the starting point of patient care in a medical office. They serve the patients by maintaining records, scheduling appointments, and answering phone calls.
Greeting patients is the first part of their job. This can be over the phone or in person. After that, they take the patient information and help them schedule appointments. This requires good interpersonal skills.
Appointments often need to be booked using scheduling software. That’s because many of the medical facility units might be booked at different times. Therefore, you must avoid overlap because that can lead to missed appointments, and in turn, cause a lot of distress to the patient.
Usually, medical receptionists use patient charting software, which helps them create an electronic health record for each patient.
This is a meaningful and tangible way to store information that can be easily accessed later and helps avoid overlapping appointments.
Medical receptionists need to handle the patient accounts as well. This often requires using finance tracking software.
Therefore, medical receptionists need to learn hard and soft skills to do their job effectively.
Providing excellent customer service
In addition to handling patient records, the medical receptionist must deal with patients empathetically. They are one of the main stakeholders in determining the patient satisfaction of a medical facility.
This means that a medical receptionist needs to establish comforting verbal communication with the patient. That involves understanding the anxieties and fears that the patient might be going through. Of course, they must uphold patient confidentiality when dealing directly with the patients.
A medical receptionist can help them feel at ease by anticipating the patient’s fears. Moreover, they must notify the healthcare provider of the patient’s arrival.
Sometimes, your facility may need the correct treatment for a patient. In that case, it’s a medical receptionist’s responsibility to inform the patient of the inadequacy.
Handling some parts of business administration
Medical receptionists need to record the patients’ personal and financial information. They also need to track the financial information of the facility. This is one of their most valuable skills for the health industry.
The private medical industry in most parts of the world acts like a business. Therefore, it requires business administration. There are profits, losses, and finances that need to be tracked.
And most of these finances deal with the medical industry. Therefore, you could hire a regular clerk. They might get the job done, but hiring a medical receptionist is best. They will understand the medical terminology. This will allow them to be more efficient at providing administrative support.
For instance, imagine a hiring manager employing a clerk from a non-medical background to run a lab’s finances.
The clerk might order some chemical reagents but not realise they need cold storage. Or that they have a shelf life. They may forget to track these different parameters at the start. This may cause the reagents to degrade or become useless. It can quickly snowball into false test results and huge financial losses for the lab.
On the other hand, a medical receptionist will have the context necessary to deal with the reagents correctly. And that’s very important because ordering office supplies is a routine part of medical receptionist jobs.
Plus, a medical receptionist needs to deal with medical insurance claims, too. All of this requires good organisational skills along with certain hard skills.
Reporting updates and dealing with emergencies
Medical receptionists need to deal with patient emergencies. And they need to report updates about the different parts of the medical office to their supervisor.
This one might seem rather obvious. If a patient is being brought in in critical condition, a medical receptionist must help them. That doesn’t mean providing medical aid. It’s more about calling the right people to provide first aid and care for the patient.
Moreover, they need to keep track of the different aspects of the medical officer assigned to them. And they need to keep their supervisors updated about any new developments. The supervisor is usually a senior medical receptionist.
Characteristics of a medical receptionist
Certain characteristics can help you become a medical receptionist. Let’s take a look at these.
A good communicator
Verbal communication is one of the most important skills for a medical receptionist. You need to be able to convey your points clearly and politely.
And sometimes, communication might be more about listening than speaking. That’s especially important when you work at a physician’s office and try to make the patients feel heard.
Organisation skills are central to medical receptionist jobs. You must schedule patients’ appointments, keep track of medical records, answer phone calls and more.
This takes a lot of technical skills and requires you to be detail-oriented. However, you need to be organised and efficient. This will help you ensure you finish things on time without messing anything up.
Multitasking and the ability to work in stressful situations
Things can take a drastic turn at a healthcare centre very quickly. Therefore, you must work with the medical staff to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Even when there isn’t a medical emergency, you might have to deal with distressed patients. They might be crying, angry, or frustrated. Therefore, it’s important to maintain your composure during these situations.
Since you are the first point of contact for patients, you are serving as the first face of the company. Therefore, you need to maintain professionalism throughout your dealings with the patients.
This ensures that patients’ satisfaction after office visits increases. As a result, your healthcare operation gets a good reputation which helps it expand its business model.
The converse is also true. If you don’t act in a professional manner with the patients, it will earn your facility a bad reputation. As a result, you might be held accountable and even fired. Thus, professionalism is one of the most important skills for a medical receptionist.
Useful skills you gain from working as a medical receptionist
There are many different transferable skills you learn from being a medical receptionist. You can use these skills to get another job, not necessarily in the medical administration field. Or you can apply for the position of senior medical receptionist.
Problem-solving skills are important skills for any job. You will still need problem-solving skills even with jobs that don’t require technical labour.
This particular skill has gained a lot of importance. And that’s because of human behaviour’s innate unpredictability. Businesses must deal with people, even if they sell products or services completely online. And people add a factor of human error to the equation.
This means that things can go entirely sideways at any point without you expecting them to. And that’s when your problem-solving skills will come in handy. You will be able to take on any unprecedented challenges that arrive and deal with them gracefully.
This ensures the work operation keeps going even when things start breaking down. And in a medical facility, many different things can go wrong.
You might receive a medical emergency, or one of your patients might undergo one. Additionally, there might be upset, sad, or angry people who are frustrated and want to take it out on someone or something.
There can also be a shortage of supplies or a power outage. All of these are different problems that can arise at any point. And being able to deal with them is crucial for a medical receptionist. That’s why problem-solving is one of the most common medical receptionist skills.
And it can be easily transferred to any other job, even if it is not in the healthcare sector.
Communication skills are vital for a medical receptionist. You will be dealing with patients and answering phones all the time.
This skill is a prerequisite for medical receptionist jobs. You need to ensure that you remain calm and maintain professionalism.
You will encounter hundreds of patients throughout your career as a medical receptionist. They will have different backgrounds, tones, and personalities. And it will help you learn how to maintain professionalism in different scenarios while communicating clearly.
You need to maintain eye contact to appear confident and polite. This creates a sense of reassurance in the otherwise anxious patient.
Therefore, you tend to develop even better communication skills over time. And medical receptionists have some of the best communication skills in the job market.
Time management skills
This is another transferable skill that’s relevant to any job. You learn great time management skills when you work as a medical receptionist.
You must order different supplies, which requires knowing when they run out. You must consider the delivery period, meaning you must order the supplies in advance.
Thus, it requires planning. Which also gets translated into a well-planned schedule for the day.
Moreover, you are responsible for scheduling appointments. This means you must find the optimal way to incorporate as many appointments in a day as possible without any hindrance.
This requires you to figure out how to use your time best. And that’s why a medical receptionist often has great time management skills.
These skills can easily get transferred to any other job. That’s because the better you manage your time, the more efficient you will be. This, in turn, will mean greater profits for the business.
You learn a lot of technical skills while you are working as a medical receptionist. These include handling patient records, tracking the finances, managing the supplies and more.
When you work as a medical receptionist, it’s like working as an office manager. You need to take care of the patient appointments, and this requires specific software for the job.
This software ensures that there are no overlaps in the appointments. And both you and the doctor receive updates about upcoming appointments, so you remember them.
You also need to track the finances of the office. This requires you to use financial applications to track patients’ credit.
You will have to store medical records in a database, which requires you to learn a few database management tricks.
For instance, you can manually enter all the information from a CSV file into a database. However, that would take you a very long time. And given how you would likely need to do this repeatedly, you are much better off automating this process.
You can easily learn to write a Python script that takes information from the CSV file and transfers it to the database using SQL commands. In fact, with the advent of natural language processing tools like ChatGPT, you need to learn how to write the Python script yourself.
You can ask ChatGPT to do it for you. However, you will likely need to modify the script to work for you.
Therefore, as you can see, as a medical receptionist, you will learn many new skills. These will also incorporate technical skills. And what’s important is that this is a highly transferable skill.
You will likely need to fill out data in a database for any job. And you can create a Python script to do that for you. It’s a unique set of hard skills that can make your life easy in any field.
Multitasking is a very desirable skill for any profession. And as a medical receptionist, you would have developed great multitasking abilities.
That’s because you will often be required to do several things simultaneously. And that would have taught you to be a good multitasker.
For instance, you must fill out their information in your system while you greet patients. And you will need to use that information to schedule appointments with the relevant doctor while answering the patients’ questions.
Often, you might need to deal with multiple patients at once. And all of that might be happening while you are getting phone calls. Therefore, multitasking is an important medical receptionist skill.
And multitasking can again be translated to success in any job. Most workplaces require you to divide your attention between several projects simultaneously. Therefore, the multitasking skills you learned as a medical receptionist will come in handy anywhere else too.
Working under pressure
With patient care, there’s always an innate pressure on the people providing the medical care. That’s because of the sensitive nature of these jobs. This makes them high-stress professions.
And as a medical receptionist, you would have developed the skills to not crack under pressure.
There can be some highly stressful situations for a medical receptionist. For instance, a patient might be brought in in a critical condition. You may need to deal with patients who are in growing pain. This will likely cause them to grow frustrated too.
As a result, you need to ensure you can remain calm under pressure. If you panic in such a situation or can’t maintain your cool, you likely wouldn’t be an effective medical receptionist.
However, throughout their career, medical receptionists hone their ability to maintain composure under the most stressful conditions. This also stems from their great problem-solving skills.
And this skill can be transferred to any other job. Most jobs would occasionally put you through stressful situations. They might not be life-and-death scenarios like in a medical facility. However, there could be a very crucial meeting with a big client or a short deadline for a big project.
Your ability to remain calm and deliver your best work under such conditions would make you a valuable asset to any firm.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is a skill that’s required for working effectively as a medical receptionist. And you only hone this skill further throughout your career.
A medical receptionist can’t make mistakes. That’s because they handle sensitive patient data and their appointments. This means that even the smallest error can throw off the entire data for a patient.
And it can even cause huge medical disasters. For instance, imagine that you mislabel a patient as not being allergic to a specific compound found in routine first aid. However, that person was allergic to the compound.
Because of one tiny error, they would get the compound in their body, which can cause an allergic reaction. In severe cases, it might even lead to anaphylaxis or death.
Such grave events are often followed by massive lawsuits that can bankrupt your facility. And that’s without counting on the guilt you must carry with your conscience, knowing that your error caused someone to lose their life.
Hence, a medical receptionist learns to pay great attention to detail. They thoroughly check their work and ensure it’s free of errors. And being able to work without errors is a skill that’s welcome in any field.
It’s one of the very valuable transferrable medical receptionist skills.
Being dependable and keeping records
Maintaining records and being reliable stems from attention to detail.
A medical receptionist learns how to maintain records efficiently and accurately. This makes them very dependable for storing information in a meaningful and tangible way.
And this skill would be welcome in any other job because being reliable makes you more efficient, which drives greater profits.
Conflict management is a skill that medical receptionists learn as they deal with different kinds of people.
There would likely be people who would be distressed, and that may lead to an altercation. However, a medical receptionist knows how to diffuse the situation instead of worsening it.
Being a medical receptionist teaches you that people often act out anxiety, frustration, or grief. Making them feel heard is the best way to get them to calm down.
And medical receptionists are well-equipped with these skills. As a result, they would fit in great in just about any profession. That’s because, eventually, there can be disagreement between different parties. And if you know how to manage conflict, you can handle the situation much better.
Takeaway: You gain many transferrable skills from working as a medical receptionist
A medical receptionist gains many valuable skills throughout their career. These skills are often transferable. That means they can be used in other areas of work that are not necessarily medical offices.
Lorea is a content marketing writer who simplifies complex topics for brands. With a knack for research, she creates engaging articles on various subjects. She enjoys reading, hiking, and trying new foods in her free time.