• Rodrigo Mencos

Things to Look For When Hiring New Office Managers for Small Healthcare Practices

The entire process of hiring office managers can be daunting, especially if you are starting a small, independent healthcare practice. There are several challenges right off the bat—doctors and physicians are usually busy attending to their patients' healthcare needs and may not be expert recruiters.

Keep in mind that finding a competent office manager plays a significant role in how successful your practice will be. They oversee the day-to-day operations of your healthcare practice, leaving you to focus on patient care.

The typical responsibilities of a medical office manager include:

  • Scheduling and managing patient appointments.

  • Managing billing and collections.

  • Completing, checking, verifying, and submitting patients' insurance claims.

  • Creating and updating patient records within the EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system.

  • Ensuring that the practice's daily operations run smoothly.

  • Making sure that the practice is compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

Whereas studies have shown that employing medical and health service managers will grow to 32% from 2020 to 2030, finding the right fit for your medical practice can be a tall order. But knowing the right attributes to look for during the hiring process can ensure that you get the right person for the job. In this post, we've outlined the key considerations to help you get the best office manager for your small, independent healthcare practice.

Factors to Consider When Hiring a New Office Manager for Your Medical Practice

Below is a discussion of the things to look for when hiring an office manager:

Candidate's Education

Educational qualifications and experience needed to become a medical practice office manager vary from practice to practice. However, most healthcare practices usually prefer a college degree or even an advanced degree, such as a Master's in Business Administration. The ideal candidate should also have a degree in Health Administration, given that these programs include courses on various topics such as healthcare laws, health service management and organization, communication, and ethics.

The qualifications will also depend on how big the practice is. A practice that has two to five physicians should look for a candidate with an MBA or equivalent degree. Such a candidate will be able to handle customer-facing tasks and strategic decision-making. On the other hand, a medical practice with a single physician may accept a candidate with a high school diploma. That's not to say that a candidate with a college degree can't work in a practice with a single physician.

Work Experience

While education is essential, a candidate's previous work experience portrays a true representation of the skillset they are bringing to the table. That said, the requisite work experience will vary from one practice to another. Whereas a solo physician may not ask for previous work experience, a medical practice with approximately 2 to 5 physicians requires an experienced individual. Ideally, they should have three to five years of work experience to effectively handle staffing, billing, bookkeeping, scheduling, and finances.

Additionally, the candidate should also be tech-savvy to quickly understand your practice's metrics and hardware/software. In case your practice has more than 10 physicians, the ideal office manager would be one with five years of experience or more.

Look For Attributes You Deem as Necessary for a Practice Office Manager

Whereas work experience and education are vital, you shouldn't overlook other attributes and qualities that your practice, staff, and patients need. Overall, personality is crucial when choosing an office manager for your healthcare practice. The ideal candidate should be compassionate, friendly, level-headed, and outgoing. Here are the personality attributes to look for:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills: Office managers associate with various people daily, including physicians, patients, and other administrative personnel. They should be able to communicate with these groups of people effectively. Also, they must be adept at communicating regulations and policies to staff to ensure compliance with various regulations. Interpersonal skills come in handy when discussing staffing problems and patient information.

  • Leadership skills: Medical practice office managers are tasked with running the ship. As such, they should possess the necessary skills to ensure that everyone is doing their jobs and that various procedures are followed. Office managers are tasked with hiring, training, supervising, and solving staff and administrative issues. Great leadership is crucial to accomplishing these tasks effectively.

  • Attention to detail: Any mishaps in the healthcare industry can have far-reaching consequences. As such, a medical office manager needs to pay close attention to every detail when preparing billing information, or organizing schedules. A detail-oriented office manager will ensure that the paperwork is in order, reimbursement procedures are adhered to, and health records are maintained properly.

  • Technical skills: Healthcare technology, electronic health records, and data analytics are a big part of a medical office manager's day-to-day operations. Office managers should stay updated about technological advancements in the healthcare industry. They should not only be able to efficiently manipulate these technologies but be able to explain them and incorporate them into your practice's operations.

  • Analytical skills: Strong analytical skills can help office managers understand and follow the technical healthcare codes, medical terminologies, medical codes, diagnoses, and procedures.

Check for Warning Signs and Red Flags

When looking at the experience, personality, skills, and characteristics of potential candidates, keep an eye out for red flags and warning signs. You should identify any potential weaknesses ahead of time so that you don't end up hiring someone who isn't right for your practice. Among the red flags to look out for include:

  • The candidate speaks negatively about their past or current medical practice, a physician, or a colleague they worked with.

  • When they constantly ask about working hours during the interview process, this shows that they are probably not comfortable working extra hours.

  • When they enquire about compensation over the phone, as a rule of thumb, you should go for a candidate who asks about salary after the screening process is complete.

  • When they have no interest in people, they will interact with them when they are on the job. You should be concerned if a candidate sees their role as that of managing processes only and not people as well.

Medical office managers play a vital role in determining how seamlessly the operations of a medical practice run and how successful it becomes. The guide above can help you find the right office manager for your practice.

That said, once you hire a new office manager, you also need to provide them with the right tools to enhance their operational efficiency. DearDoc can help you towards this end. We offer a wide range of solutions including AI Smartchat, AI Autodialer, and Web Design and Management. Reach out to DearDoc to learn more about these solutions.

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