Interview

17 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.

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: “I am very familiar with medical terminology. In my last role, I was responsible for organizing patient files and communicating with patients about their appointments. To do these tasks, I had to look up a lot of medical terms. I found it helpful to write down unfamiliar words so I could refer back to them later. This helped me learn new vocabulary and better communicate with patients.”

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: “I think one of the most important skills a medical secretary can have is excellent communication skills. I am able to communicate with many different people, including patients, doctors, nurses and other staff members. This skill has helped me solve problems and answer questions from others when needed. Another important skill is organization. I keep track of many details throughout my workday, so having strong organizational skills helps me stay on top of things.”

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: “The role of a medical secretary is to support their physician by managing patient information and scheduling appointments. I find this role very rewarding because I get to help patients while also supporting my team. As a medical secretary, I am responsible for ensuring all documents are organized and accessible to physicians. This includes maintaining electronic records and filing paper copies.”

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 worked as a medical secretary for five years at a family practice where I supported two physicians. My primary responsibility was answering phones and scheduling appointments. I also managed patient records and communicated with insurance companies on behalf of my doctors. In addition to these responsibilities, I assisted my doctors by filing paperwork and managing inventory.”

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 once had a patient who was very upset about his diagnosis. He kept asking me for information that I couldn’t give him because he wasn’t yet in with the doctor. I tried my best to calm him down by explaining why I couldn’t tell him more information and offering him water. Eventually, he calmed down enough to see the doctor.”

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: “I would include the patient’s name, date of birth, reason for visit, diagnosis, treatment plan and any other relevant details about their appointment. I would also make sure to include the doctor’s notes from the previous appointment so they can reference them before making a new appointment.”

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 but they were unavailable, I would first check their schedule to see if there was an alternate time I could speak with them. If not, I would call other doctors in the practice to see if one of them could cover for the primary physician. If none of the doctors were available, I would contact the patient’s family doctor or hospital to see if they had any recommendations.”

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 have been practicing my typing skills since I was in high school. In fact, I am proud to say that I can type at 100 words per minute. This means I can accurately enter all of the information doctors need into the computer without making any mistakes. It also allows me to save time by not having to retype anything.”

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: “I’ve worked as a medical secretary for five years now, and I’ve been using MediTouch software since my first day on the job. The system allows me to enter patient information into their electronic health record, schedule appointments and communicate with other staff members through email. It’s an essential part of my daily work.”

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 always make sure to use simple language and avoid medical jargon as much as possible. If there is any terminology they don’t understand, I will take the time to explain it to them until they are comfortable with it. In my last role, I worked with a patient who didn’t speak English very well. I made sure to write down everything I said so they could refer back to it later.”

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 would start by analyzing our appointment scheduling process to understand where we can make improvements. I would then meet with my supervisor to discuss what changes they want to see in our system. After researching different software options, I would recommend a program that is compatible with our existing technology. Finally, I would train all staff members on the new system so everyone understands how it works.”

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: “In my previous role as a medical secretary, I was responsible for entering patient information into our practice’s billing software. I’m very familiar with the system we use, and I find it easy to navigate through. It has many useful features, such as allowing me to enter insurance claims electronically. I also enjoy being able to track patients’ balances online.”

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 have five years of medical secretary experience, but I am also certified in CPR and first aid. This means if there is an emergency situation, I can help provide care until the doctor arrives. In my previous role, I was able to use these skills when a patient had a seizure during their appointment. I helped calm them down while our physician called for backup.”

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’ve worked with several different types of computer programs throughout my career, including Microsoft Word, Excel and Access. These programs help me organize data and information quickly so I can provide accurate information to doctors and other healthcare professionals. For example, when I was working at Dr. Smith’s office, I had to enter patient information into our electronic medical records system every time they saw the doctor. Using these programs made it easy for me to find specific information quickly.”

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: “I believe the most important aspect of being a good team member is communication. I always make sure to communicate any changes or updates to my coworkers so we all have the same information. This helps us avoid confusion and ensures everyone is on the same page. Another important quality is flexibility. Being flexible means I’m willing to adapt to changing circumstances and help out wherever needed.”

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 update a patient’s contact information every time they change their address or phone number. I also update their information when they move to a new doctor within our practice. If they have not been seen by one of our doctors for more than six months, I will send them a reminder letter to make sure we still have their correct contact information.”

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: “In my last role as a medical secretary, I once had a patient who was confused about their appointment time. They called the office asking if they could come in early for their appointment, but unfortunately we were booked solid that day. I explained to them that our schedule didn’t allow us to accommodate them coming in early, but offered to see them earlier on another day. The patient agreed and rescheduled their appointment.”

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