25 Medical Secretary Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a medical secretary, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Medical secretaries are the backbone of any doctor’s office. They keep track of patient appointments, manage medical records, and handle billing and insurance claims. They also might transcribe medical notes, fill prescriptions, and order medical supplies. Because the work is so varied and important, medical secretaries need to be able to answer a wide range of questions during their job interviews.

To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve gathered some of the most common medical secretary interview questions. You’ll also find sample answers to help you develop your own responses.

Common Medical Secretary Interview Questions

1. Are you familiar with medical terminology?

Medical secretaries often need to understand medical terminology. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills for the job. Before your interview, read through some of the job duties and familiarize yourself with the terms used in that role. When answering this question, try to use as many medical terms as possible so the employer knows you are prepared for the position.

Example: “Yes, I am very familiar with medical terminology. During my previous role as a Medical Secretary, I was responsible for transcribing doctor’s notes and patient records which required me to have an extensive knowledge of medical terminology. In addition, I took part in training courses that focused on medical terminology and the use of specialized software programs used by medical professionals. This enabled me to become even more proficient in understanding medical terms and their meanings. As such, I feel confident that I can provide accurate and efficient support when it comes to medical terminology.”

2. What are some of the most important skills for a medical secretary to have?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the skills necessary for this role. You can answer by listing some of your most important skills and explaining how they help you succeed in this position.

Example: “As a medical secretary, I believe that having excellent organizational and communication skills are essential. Being able to effectively organize patient records, schedule appointments, and manage other administrative tasks is crucial for success in this role. It’s also important to be able to communicate clearly with patients and staff members alike. Having strong written and verbal communication skills ensures that all parties involved have the information they need in order to provide quality care.

In addition to these core competencies, it’s also beneficial to have an understanding of medical terminology and procedures. This allows me to better understand the needs of my patients and provide more efficient support. Finally, I think it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations so that I can ensure compliance with any relevant laws or policies.”

3. How would you describe the role of a medical secretary?

This question is an opportunity to show your understanding of the role and responsibilities of a medical secretary. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that you have experience in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to describe what you enjoy about being a medical secretary.

Example: “A medical secretary is an important part of a healthcare team. They are responsible for providing administrative support to physicians, nurses, and other medical staff in order to ensure the smooth running of the office. Medical secretaries must be organized, detail-oriented, and have excellent communication skills.

The primary duties of a medical secretary include scheduling appointments, managing patient records, billing, filing paperwork, and answering phones. They also help with insurance claims and forms, as well as ordering supplies and equipment. In addition, they may provide assistance with transcription services, data entry, and other administrative tasks.”

4. What is your experience working as a medical secretary?

This question is an opportunity to highlight your experience and skills as a medical secretary. If you have previous experience, describe what you did in that role. If you do not have any prior experience, explain how you would perform the duties of a medical secretary.

Example: “I have been working as a medical secretary for the past five years. During this time, I have gained extensive experience in all aspects of the role. My duties have included managing patient records and appointments, preparing documents for physicians, transcribing dictation, and providing administrative support to doctors and nurses.

I am also very familiar with medical terminology and HIPAA regulations. I understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality when handling sensitive information and take great care to ensure that all patient data is kept secure. In addition, I am comfortable using various software programs such as Microsoft Office Suite, EMR systems, and scheduling programs.”

5. Provide an example of a time when you had to manage a difficult patient.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle challenging situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation and what steps you took to manage the patient’s behavior or attitude.

Example: “I recently had a situation where I had to manage a difficult patient. The patient was very unhappy with the wait time and became increasingly agitated as their appointment went on. I knew that it was important to remain professional and calm, so I took a few moments to assess the situation before responding.

I first addressed the patient’s concerns by apologizing for the wait time and explaining why it happened. Then, I offered them some options to help make the rest of their visit more comfortable. This included providing them with a beverage or snack while they waited, offering to reschedule their appointment if needed, and giving them an update on when the doctor would be available.

The patient eventually calmed down and thanked me for my assistance. Afterward, I followed up with the patient to ensure that they were satisfied with the outcome of their visit. My experience in managing this difficult patient showed that I have the ability to stay composed under pressure and provide solutions to challenging situations.”

6. If a patient needed to schedule a follow-up appointment, what information would you include in the appointment note?

Interviewers ask this question to assess your organizational skills and attention to detail. In your answer, describe the steps you would take to ensure that all important information was included in the note so the doctor could easily access it when scheduling future appointments.

Example: “When scheduling a follow-up appointment for a patient, I would make sure to include all the necessary information in the appointment note. This includes the patient’s name, contact information, date and time of the appointment, reason for the visit, any special instructions or notes from the doctor, and any other relevant details. In addition, I would also ensure that the patient is aware of any additional paperwork they may need to bring with them to their appointment. Finally, I would confirm the appointment with the patient via phone or email to ensure that it has been scheduled correctly.”

7. What would you do if you needed to reach a doctor but they were unavailable?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, try to show that you have the ability to think critically and solve problems on your own.

Example: “If I needed to reach a doctor and they were unavailable, I would first attempt to contact them through their preferred method of communication. This could include calling the office line, sending an email or leaving a voicemail. If I was unable to get in touch with the doctor directly, I would then try to contact another member of their staff who may have more information about their availability. Finally, if all else fails, I would consult with other medical professionals in the area for advice on how best to proceed.

My experience as a Medical Secretary has taught me that it is important to be proactive when trying to reach a doctor. I am confident that my ability to think quickly and problem solve will help me find the most efficient way to reach the doctor and ensure that their patients receive the care they need.”

8. How well can you type?

Typing speed is an important skill for a medical secretary. Employers ask this question to make sure you can type fast enough to keep up with the demands of their office. Before your interview, try typing as many words per minute as possible. Try to beat your personal best and use that number in your answer.

Example: “I am an experienced Medical Secretary and I have excellent typing skills. I type at a rate of 80 words per minute with 100% accuracy. I’m also very comfortable using medical terminology, which is essential for this position. My experience in the field has given me a strong understanding of medical office procedures and protocols, so I can easily navigate any electronic health record system.

In addition to my typing speed, I’m highly organized and detail-oriented. I’m able to quickly prioritize tasks and manage multiple projects simultaneously without sacrificing quality or accuracy. I’m also familiar with various software programs used in medical offices such as Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat, and other specialized medical applications.”

9. Do you have experience using medical software?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with specific software programs that are commonly used in the medical industry. If you have experience using a program, share what it is and how you use it. If you don’t have experience using any particular software, explain which programs you’re familiar with and why you would be able to quickly learn them if hired.

Example: “Yes, I have experience using medical software. During my previous role as a Medical Secretary, I was responsible for managing patient records and scheduling appointments using the practice’s electronic health record system. I am also familiar with other commonly used medical software such as Practice Fusion and Athenahealth. I am confident in my ability to quickly learn any new medical software that may be required for this position.

In addition to my technical skills, I bring strong organizational and communication abilities to the table. I’m able to effectively manage multiple tasks at once while maintaining accuracy and attention to detail. My past experience has taught me how to prioritize tasks and handle difficult situations with professionalism and empathy. I believe these qualities make me an ideal candidate for the Medical Secretary position.”

10. When communicating with patients, how do you ensure that you are clear and concise?

This question can help interviewers understand how you communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you had to explain something in a way that was easy for the patient to understand.

Example: “When communicating with patients, I ensure that I am clear and concise by taking the time to listen carefully to their questions or concerns. I also make sure to ask clarifying questions when needed so that I can fully understand what they are asking for. I strive to provide accurate information in a timely manner and use language that is easy to understand. In addition, I always double check my work to make sure that all of the details are correct before sending out any documents or correspondence. Finally, I take the time to explain any complex medical terminology in simple terms so that the patient feels comfortable and informed about their care.”

11. We want to improve our appointment scheduling process. Describe the steps you would take to improve our current system.

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you would apply your administrative skills to improve their organization’s processes. In your answer, explain the steps you would take to analyze current systems and implement new ones that are more efficient.

Example: “I believe that the first step to improving any appointment scheduling process is to ensure that all of the necessary information is collected from each patient. This includes contact information, insurance details, and any relevant medical history. Once this information is gathered, it can be used to create an efficient system for organizing appointments.

The next step would be to establish a clear communication plan between staff members. This could include setting up automated reminders for upcoming appointments or creating a shared calendar so everyone knows when patients are scheduled. I also think it’s important to have a system in place for rescheduling appointments if needed.

Lastly, I think it’s essential to provide feedback on how the appointment scheduling process is working. This could involve sending out surveys to patients after their visit or having regular meetings with staff to discuss any issues that may arise. By taking these steps, I am confident that we can improve our current appointment scheduling process.”

12. Describe your experience working with medical billing software.

Medical billing software is a common tool used by medical secretaries. This question helps employers determine if you have experience using this type of software and how comfortable you are with it. In your answer, describe the types of software you’ve worked with in the past and what you like about them. If you haven’t had much experience working with medical billing software, explain that you’re willing to learn new systems.

Example: “I have extensive experience working with medical billing software. I have been using this type of software for the past five years in my current role as a Medical Secretary. During that time, I have become proficient in navigating and utilizing various types of medical billing software programs. I am familiar with both web-based and desktop versions of these programs and can easily enter patient information, process payments, and generate reports. In addition, I understand how to troubleshoot common issues related to medical billing software and can quickly resolve any technical difficulties that may arise. Finally, I am comfortable training others on how to use medical billing software and providing ongoing support when needed.”

13. What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I believe my experience and qualifications make me the ideal candidate for this Medical Secretary position. I have been working in the medical field for over five years, so I am well-versed in all aspects of medical office administration.

In addition to my extensive knowledge of medical terminology, coding, and billing procedures, I am also proficient in various computer programs such as Microsoft Office Suite, EHR systems, and practice management software. My ability to quickly learn new technologies makes me an asset to any team.

Furthermore, I have excellent communication skills which are essential for a successful medical secretary. I am able to effectively communicate with patients, physicians, and other healthcare professionals while maintaining professionalism at all times.”

14. Which computer programs have you used in the past and how have they helped you in your job?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your computer skills and how you apply them in the workplace. You can answer this question by mentioning a few programs you’ve used before, such as Microsoft Office or medical record software. Explain how these programs have helped you complete tasks efficiently.

Example: “I have extensive experience with a variety of computer programs that are commonly used in medical secretary roles. I am proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These programs have been essential for me to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for various tasks.

In addition, I have worked with electronic health record systems such as Epic and Cerner. This has enabled me to accurately enter patient information into the system, update records, and access relevant data quickly. I also have experience using scheduling software which helps me manage appointments and other tasks efficiently.”

15. What do you think is the most important aspect of being a good team member?

This question is a great way to assess how well you work with others. Teamwork is an essential skill for medical secretaries, so it’s important that they can collaborate effectively with their colleagues. When answering this question, think about what makes you feel like you’re part of a team and highlight those qualities.

Example: “Being a good team member is essential for any successful workplace. In my experience, the most important aspect of being a good team member is communication. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues and supervisors in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals. Good communication also helps build trust between team members, which can help create a more positive work environment. Furthermore, it’s important to be willing to listen to others and take their opinions into consideration when making decisions. Finally, having a strong work ethic and always striving to do your best will show your commitment to the team and help foster an atmosphere of collaboration and success.”

16. How often do you update a patient’s contact information?

This question can help an interviewer understand how often you update a patient’s information in the medical office database. This is important because it helps ensure that patients receive accurate and timely information about their appointments, test results and other important documents.

Example: “I am very diligent when it comes to updating patient contact information. I understand that having accurate and up-to-date contact information is essential for providing quality care. Whenever a patient visits the office, I always ask them to confirm their contact details such as phone number, address, and email. I also make sure to update any changes in the patient’s contact information into our system right away. In addition, I regularly review our database to ensure all contact information is current. This helps us keep track of our patients and provide better service.”

17. There is a miscommunication between you and a patient. How do you handle it?

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and problem-solving abilities. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you had to resolve miscommunication with a patient or colleague.

Example: “When there is a miscommunication between myself and a patient, I always strive to handle it in the most professional manner possible. First, I would take a step back and assess the situation objectively. Then, I would try to understand what went wrong and why. After that, I would apologize for any misunderstanding and explain the correct information to the patient. Finally, I would make sure to document the conversation so that we can avoid similar issues in the future.

I believe my experience as a Medical Secretary has given me the skills necessary to handle these types of situations with ease. My ability to stay calm under pressure and remain focused on finding a resolution makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”

18. How do you handle a situation where a patient is not satisfied with the care they received?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and address patient concerns. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you helped a patient feel better about their care or helped them find the information they needed.

Example: “When I worked at my previous job, one of my patients was not satisfied with her treatment plan. She felt like she wasn’t getting enough attention from me because I had so many other patients that day. I listened to what she said and explained that we have a system in place for all our patients, but if she ever wanted more time with me, I would make sure to schedule an appointment just for her.”

Example: “If a patient is not satisfied with the care they received, I believe it is important to listen carefully and empathize with their concerns. My goal would be to understand why the patient is dissatisfied and work towards finding a solution that meets their needs. To do this, I would first ask questions to gain an understanding of what happened and then provide options for resolution. I am also comfortable communicating with medical staff to ensure that the patient’s concerns are addressed in a timely manner.

I have experience working as a Medical Secretary and understand the importance of providing excellent customer service. I take pride in my ability to remain professional while still showing empathy and compassion. I am confident that I can handle any situation involving patient dissatisfaction with sensitivity and efficiency.”

19. What would you do if a patient is late for an appointment and there is another patient scheduled after them?

This question can help interviewers understand how you prioritize your work and manage time. Your answer should show that you are willing to take initiative and make decisions when necessary.

Example: “If a patient is late for an appointment, I would first check to see if they had contacted the office in advance. If so, I would try to accommodate them by rescheduling their appointment or squeezing them into the schedule as best as possible. If not, I would contact the patient and ask if they are still able to make it. If they are unable to attend, I would then inform the next patient of the delay and offer them an alternative time slot. Finally, I would update the patient’s records with any changes made to the appointment.”

20. Describe your experience dealing with insurance companies.

Medical secretaries often have to deal with insurance companies on behalf of their employers. This question helps interviewers assess your experience and skills in this area. In your answer, describe a time you had to interact with an insurance company and how you handled the situation.

Example: “I have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies. During my previous role as a Medical Secretary, I was responsible for submitting patient claims to various insurance providers and ensuring that all paperwork was completed accurately and on time. I also worked closely with the billing department to ensure that all payments were received in a timely manner. Furthermore, I had to stay up-to-date on any changes or updates to insurance policies so that I could properly advise patients of their coverage options. My attention to detail and ability to stay organized allowed me to efficiently manage these tasks while maintaining excellent customer service.”

21. How do you keep track of medical records?

This question can help interviewers understand how you organize information and your attention to detail. Use examples from previous experience to show that you have the ability to keep records organized, accurate and up-to-date.

Example: “Keeping track of medical records is a critical part of my job as a Medical Secretary. I use an electronic filing system to store and organize patient records in a secure, confidential manner. I also ensure that all documents are properly labeled with the correct patient information and date of service. In addition, I regularly review and update patient files to make sure they are up-to-date and accurate. Finally, I am familiar with HIPAA regulations and always adhere to those standards when handling patient information. With these practices, I can guarantee that all medical records remain organized and secure.”

22. Explain how you prioritize tasks when multitasking.

This question can help the interviewer determine how you approach your work and manage time. Your answer should show that you have strong organizational skills, are able to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines.

Example: “When multitasking, I prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance. I start with the most urgent task first and then move onto the next one in order of importance. I use a checklist to ensure that all tasks are completed in a timely manner. To help me stay organized, I also set deadlines for myself so that I can complete each task within its allotted time frame. I have found that this approach helps me stay focused and productive when managing multiple tasks at once. Furthermore, I am able to provide quality work even when under pressure due to my ability to prioritize efficiently.”

23. What processes do you use to ensure accuracy in data entry?

Medical secretaries are responsible for maintaining accurate records of patient information. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary to perform your job duties well. In your answer, explain which methods you use to ensure accuracy in data entry and how these methods help improve the overall organization of medical records.

Example: “I understand the importance of accuracy in data entry and take great care to ensure that all information is entered correctly. I have developed a process for entering data that helps me stay organized and efficient while ensuring accuracy. First, I always double-check my work before submitting it. This includes verifying that all fields are filled out correctly and that any calculations are accurate. Second, I use spell check and grammar check tools to make sure that everything is spelled correctly and written clearly. Finally, I review the entire document once more to make sure that nothing has been missed or overlooked. By following this process, I can guarantee that all data entry tasks will be completed accurately and efficiently.”

24. What steps do you take to ensure patient confidentiality?

Medical secretaries often handle sensitive information, such as medical records and financial data. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of keeping patient information private. In your answer, explain that you will never share confidential information with anyone who is not authorized to view it. You can also mention that you keep all documents in a secure location when they are not in use.

Example: “Patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance in a medical office setting. As a Medical Secretary, I take several steps to ensure that patient information remains confidential and secure.

The first step I take is to make sure all patient records are stored securely. This includes ensuring that physical files are locked away when not in use, as well as making sure that any digital records are password protected. I also make sure that only authorized personnel have access to these records.

Additionally, I always double-check that any emails or other forms of communication containing patient information are sent to the correct recipient. I also ensure that any conversations regarding patient information are held in private areas, such as an office with a closed door. Finally, I am careful to never discuss patient information outside of the office.”

25. If a patient has questions about their treatment, what resources would you recommend to them?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would support patients and their families. When answering, it can be helpful to mention any specific resources or programs that the medical office offers to help patients learn more about their treatment plans.

Example: “If a patient has questions about their treatment, I would recommend that they speak to their doctor or healthcare provider first. This is the best way for them to get accurate and up-to-date information regarding their specific medical condition. In addition, I would suggest that they research online resources such as reputable websites from organizations like the American Medical Association or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These sites provide reliable information on different treatments and medications. Finally, I would advise patients to consult with family members or friends who have had similar experiences. By talking to people who have gone through similar situations, patients can gain valuable insight into what to expect during their own treatment process.”


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