Career Development

What Does a Medical Secretary Do?

Find out what a medical secretary does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a medical secretary.

Medical secretaries are the administrative backbone of the healthcare industry. They handle a wide range of tasks, from scheduling appointments to typing up notes from doctor’s visits to filing paperwork and more.

Medical secretaries may work for any number of different types of medical professionals—from general practitioners to surgeons, obstetricians, gynecologists, chiropractors, etc.—but they all have one thing in common: they help doctors provide quality care to their patients.

Medical Secretary Job Duties

A medical secretary typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Organizing patient charts and maintaining confidentiality of all information contained therein
  • Providing clerical support to physicians by answering phones, scheduling appointments, taking messages, and responding to inquiries from patients or insurance providers
  • Scheduling appointments for patients and physicians, updating patient charts, and communicating with other medical staff members about appointments
  • Dictating medical charts by recording patients’ medical histories and progress notes during examinations and treatments
  • Maintaining an inventory of pharmaceutical supplies and ordering additional supplies when needed
  • Recording medical test results and other patient records using computer software programs designed for this purpose
  • Assisting with surgeries by preparing operating rooms, administering anesthetics, and assisting with sterilization
  • Scheduling medical tests such as x-rays and MRIs or contacting physicians’ offices to reschedule missed appointments
  • Providing administrative support to medical offices such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and entering data into the computer system

Medical Secretary Salary & Outlook

Medical secretaries’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)

The employment of medical secretaries is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

As healthcare providers continue to hire more medical secretaries, these workers will be needed to organize and manage the increasing amounts of paperwork in healthcare offices. In addition, the aging population is expected to increase demand for medical secretaries, as older patients tend to visit their doctors more frequently.

Medical Secretary Job Requirements

A medical secretary typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Medical secretaries are typically required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in medical administration or a related field. Courses in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and medical law are helpful for those with a degree.

Training & Experience: Medical secretaries often receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training may include learning the specific software and computer programs the office uses, as well as the office’s procedures and policies.

Certifications & Licenses: To work in the U.S., a medical secretary must be certified and licensed in the state in which they work. Each state has different requirements, so check the requirements in the state in which you plan to work.

Medical Secretary Skills

Medical secretaries need the following skills in order to be successful:

Typing: Medical secretaries often need to type medical records and other documents. Having good typing skills can help you complete your work efficiently. Medical secretaries should be able to type at least 40 words per minute.

Medical terminology: Medical terminology is the ability to understand medical language and terminology. Medical secretaries often need to understand medical language to be able to communicate with doctors and other medical professionals. Medical terminology can also help you learn about medical conditions and treatments.

Communication: Medical secretaries communicate with patients, doctors, other medical staff and patients’ families on a daily basis. Effective communication skills can help you convey messages clearly and with empathy. You may also need to communicate with patients who have complex medical conditions. Medical secretaries can use their communication skills to help patients understand their treatment plans and to help patients and their families understand any changes in their health.

Organization: Medical secretaries often have to manage multiple tasks at once, including keeping track of patient files, managing schedules and updating records. Having strong organizational skills can help you be more efficient and complete your tasks on time.

Computer skills: Medical secretaries use computer skills to create and send emails, enter patient information into a database and create and send correspondence. They also use computer skills to research medical information and treatment options. Medical secretaries should have basic computer skills, such as typing and navigating a computer.

Medical Secretary Work Environment

Medical secretaries work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private medical offices. They typically work a regular 40-hour week, although they may have to work evenings or weekends to cover for absent colleagues or to meet deadlines. Medical secretaries are often required to type medical reports, transcribe dictation, and maintain medical files and records. They also answer phones, schedule appointments, and perform other clerical duties. Because they work closely with patients, medical secretaries must be able to handle confidential information with discretion and tact. They must also be able to deal with the stress of working in a fast-paced environment and be able to handle last-minute changes in schedules.

Medical Secretary Trends

Here are three trends influencing how medical secretaries work. Medical secretaries will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of Telemedicine

The rise of telemedicine is a trend that is quickly changing the medical industry. This technology allows patients to see doctors and other healthcare professionals remotely, which can save time and money for both parties.

As more and more patients use telemedicine services, medical secretaries will need to be familiar with this technology and how to use it effectively. They will also need to be able to handle patient records and communicate with doctors and other professionals.

Patient Engagement Is Key

Medical secretaries are in a unique position to help their employers engage with patients in new and innovative ways. By understanding the needs of patients, medical secretaries can help their employers create better products and services that meet those needs.

This trend is especially important as health care moves towards a more consumer-driven model. As patients become more involved in their own care, they will expect medical secretaries to provide them with the information and support they need.

More Use of Technology in Healthcare

The use of technology in healthcare is becoming increasingly common, as hospitals and clinics look for ways to improve efficiency and patient care.

Medical secretaries can capitalize on this trend by becoming proficient in using technology to manage patient data, track appointments, and communicate with colleagues. In addition, they should be prepared to learn new technologies as they emerge.

How to Become a Medical Secretary

A medical secretary career can be a great way to get started in the healthcare field. As a medical secretary, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of professionals and learn about different aspects of medicine. You’ll also gain experience working in an office environment and developing important skills like communication, organization, and teamwork.

To become a medical secretary, you’ll need to complete some training and certification programs. These programs will teach you the basics of medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, as well as how to use medical software programs and other office equipment. They’ll also give you practice typing and formatting documents correctly.

Related: How to Write a Medical Secretary Resume

Advancement Prospects

Medical secretaries perform many of the same duties as other secretaries, such as typing, filing, and answering phones. However, they also have specific duties related to the medical field. For example, they may schedule appointments, keep track of patients’ medical histories, file insurance forms, and handle billing.

As with other secretaries, medical secretaries can advance to positions with more responsibility, such as executive secretary or administrative assistant. With experience, they may move into management positions in medical offices or clinics. Some medical secretaries become medical transcriptionists. Others may use their knowledge of the medical field to become medical assistants or licensed practical nurses.

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