By Jennifer Nelson
As medical offices continue to shift toward all-electronic systems for billing, insurance claims and health records, personnel with computer skills will be highly desirable.
Today’s medical offices handle administrative and management duties while the doctors and health professionals care for patients. What kind of computer skills do you need in a medical office? Health care personnel set appointments, receive patients, manage health records and take care of billing and insurance — all electronically. Specialties also include medical coding and medical transcription.
Computer skills needed
Employees who can type quickly and accurately and who know or can easily learn state-of-the-art software and computerized medical billing, coding and scheduling will have the upper hand in being hired for a position in the medical office place.
Skills such as handling written communications, writing reports, managing databases, scheduling appointments and processing billing translate straight to the medical office. Health care staff also need to be familiar with the use of basic word processing and spreadsheet software, such as WordPerfect, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
With the numerous changes in the health care industry due to federal incentives for the conversion to electronic health care information systems through 2016, medical insurance personnel with excellent computer skills will be vital to the operation of hospitals, clinics and private physicians’ practices.
Did you know that the median salary for medical service managers — those who run or manage a clinic, a hospital department or a physician’s office — was $88,580 in 2012? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, medical-service-manager jobs are projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, due to requirements of the Affordable Care Act, increased numbers of people with health insurance, and growing demand for medical services from the aging baby-boomer.
Likewise, positions for medical record personnel and health information technicians are expected to grow at the same rate. Those positions earned a median salary of $36,490 in metropolitan Philadelphia in 2013.
Doctors, nurses, billers and coders
Wherever medical services are performed, health care support staff — such as medical coders and billers — are also employed, including nursing care facilities, short-term rehabilitative hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, physical therapy clinics and nonprofit health care clinics.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ report on National Health Expenditure Projections for 2010-2020 report projected that, by 2020, national health spending is expected to reach $4.6 trillion.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and expand, trained, professional health care support staff and managers will be needed to meet the challenges of keeping the health care industry running smoothly.
Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based writer who has written for WebMD, MSNBC, CNN and others.