Whenever you walk into a medical practice, you will get a sense of the role of a practice administrator. A practice manager is the administrator who oversees the business and operational side of a doctor's office, group practice, multi-specialty medical clinic, hospital department and other forms of medical offices. They are sometimes called practice managers, practice administrators, and healthcare executives. Their role is to ensure that the practice runs smoothly by managing all aspects of the day-to-day-operations of the practice.
Although their responsibilities depend on the size of the medical practice where they work, practice administrators are typically expected to implement the daily operations of the organization by creating and implementing policies and procedures that keep the medical office running smoothly. They are often responsible for supervising all staff, ensuring compliance with regulations, managing the revenue cycle and payer contracts, and helping to oversee the security procedures that guard the private information of the business and its patients. Practice managers sit on the executive team to help recommend ways to provide strategic direction, financial reporting, lower overhead and improve efficiency to the owners. In smaller offices, they may wear several hats and be expected to fill in when the office is short-staffed. As is often the case with other managerial positions, practice managers play a key role to help mediate issues with office personnel, defuse a customer service problem or handle a dispute with an insurance company.
First and foremost, practice administrators need to be good leaders. They must communicate clearly with patients, office employees, insurance company representatives and medical staff. They need to be capable of understanding generational differences, personalities, and backgrounds effectively. Conflict resolution and multitasking skills are necessities. Attention to detail is also vital, as is the case with most healthcare careers. In fact, the most successful practice managers have ability to identify trends and motivate workforce toward changes needed to adopt and remain competitive. A thorough understanding of the of the “ins and outs” of medical administration enables them to identify and proactively continue to advocate for improvement and change. Good leadership skills to collaborate with staff, government officials, and the public, certainly makes the foundational attributes of a Practice Administrator as key to a highly effective team.
The qualifications are set by the medical practice and may vary. Smaller practices may promote an employee to a manager who began their career as a medical office staffer and worked their way up. Other practices require managers to have a Bachelor's in Healthcare Administration. Larger practices prefer to hire practice managers who hold Master of Business Administration degrees in Healthcare Administration or Healthcare Management. Many organizations such as the National Organization of Rheumatology Managers and the Medical Group Management Association provide several certifications that practice managers can pursue to demonstrate and advance their careers. As the only board certification of its kind, the CMPE credential is recognized as the professional standard in medical practice management through the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE).
This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnoses and treatment of a medical or health condition.