A medical receptionist is the first person patients see when they come into an office. They must be personable, friendly, professional and able to organise and manage data efficiently. Medical receptionists can work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, clinics, government medical facilities and larger health care practices.
Medical receptionists are responsible for greeting patients as they enter the office, scheduling appointments, preparing patient documents and entering information, and other administrative duties as assigned. Depending on the position, they may also be required to create and manage patient records using computer software. Even in clinics where voice mail systems are utilised, medical receptionists are sometimes responsible for answering and routing phone calls, calling patients for appointment reminders and checking messages. They may also be responsible for recording and photocopying patient insurance information.
Most medical receptionist positions require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, an associate's degree or other formal training in office equipment and software can make an applicant more appealing to employers. Applicants should also have experience with spreadsheet and word-processing software. Medical receptionists must have interpersonal and communication skills, and should be able to listen effectively to others.
The average salary for a medical receptionist depends on the facility. As of May 2008, receptionists employed in the offices of dentists made an average of £8.90 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. Those employed in physicians' offices made an average of £7.90 an hour, while those working in the offices of other health practitioners earned an average of £7.40 an hour. Medical receptionists may have opportunities for raises, as well as advancement to higher-earning positions, depending on their employer.
Medical receptionists generally work in clean, well-lit environments. They spend most, if not all, of their day sitting at a desk, and will be engaged in repetitive tasks such as typing, copying and answering phones. They must have patience to deal with angry, frustrating and sometimes confusing patients, and must be able to maintain a friendly demeanour throughout the day.
According to the Bureau of Labuor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, there were 1.1 million receptionists and information clerks in the United States, as of 2008. Approximately 36 per cent of these workers were employed by physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient care facilities. Employment of receptionists is expected to increase by 15 per cent from 2008 to 2018, with much of the growth in physicians' and practitioners' offices.