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Candidate Advice

What Does A Healthcare Administrative Assistant do? 

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If you like working with and supporting people but prefer administrative work to hands-on practical work, then a role as a healthcare administrative assistant might be the job for you. The role will utilise your office skills but you’ll still be doing a job that makes a difference to people’s lives.

Natalie Chard is our Telford recruitment agency Branch Manager and explains what the role and responsibilities of being a healthcare administrative assistant are. 

What education and training are required to become a healthcare administrative assistant? 

Whilst having a Bachelor’s degree is encouraging for potential employers to see, they’re not always necessary in the hiring process, with some companies happily accepting a high school diploma or GED and evidence of previous experience in the sector. 

If you’re looking for hands-on experience opportunities through internships and volunteer work, contact us to discuss your options.

What are a healthcare administrative assistant’s duties? 

A healthcare administrative assistant will have a number of daily responsibilities but will also need to be able to take on extra tasks on a busy day. The precise role will depend on what setting the role is in and how many people are in the office, but in general, the duties of a healthcare administrative assistant include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Updating medical records and charts
  • Answering phones
  • Filling out insurance forms and other kinds of paperwork
  • Processing medical insurance payments
  • Sending lab results to doctors or other clinicians
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Checking in patients before appointments and gathering patient information as needed

Healthcare administrative assistant job description

Being a healthcare administrative assistant is an exciting career choice that is ideal for someone who enjoys working on a variety of tasks. Because the nature of the work is so varied, recruiters will be looking for candidates who can demonstrate a number of skills that will be useful, such as:

  • Flexibility: the role of a healthcare administrative assistant will usually require you to do tasks that are not part of your job description. You may also be required to undergo training to learn new skills.
  • Ability to multitask: work in a healthcare setting is fast-paced so you need to be able to switch between tasks at a moment’s notice without getting flustered.
  • Being able to prioritise: in an already busy environment, there may be times when you have to deal with patient emergencies, so knowing what to prioritise, and when, is essential. 
  • Organisation: with so many different tasks on the go, you will need good organisational skills to keep everything running smoothly. That means following or implementing office procedures and keeping strict records.
  • Communication: whether it’s verbal or written, communication skills are vital to help you succeed in the role of a healthcare administrative assistant. As you’ll be dealing with anyone from patients to doctors to IT staff and hospital managers, knowing how to communicate with different people is essential.
  • Ability to use initiative: in a busy workplace you can’t always wait to be told what to do. That means you will need to use your own judgement and rely on your initiative when it comes to certain tasks.
  • Decision-making skills: while it’s always good to be able to weigh up both sides before making a judgement, certain outcomes rely on a quick decision to be made. 
  • Problem-solving ability: it is important to not get stressed when things don’t go to plan. For example if there is an appointment clash, are you able to see a clear way to resolve any issues calmly and swiftly?
  • Attention to detail: when you are dealing with sensitive information such as patient records or labelling up bloods to send to the lab, it is imperative that no mistakes are made. Attention to detail here is critical.

Technical skills: just as with any administrative job, a familiarity with computer programmes and IT is desirable. You will need to be able to use computer software systems to update patient records, schedule appointments and medical billing and be confident to use office telephone systems.

What skills are necessary for the job? 

Working in administration often means working at a computer and so being able to proficiently utilise software such as Microsoft Office is required for most positions.  Generally, as with any administrative role, organisation and muti-tasking are highly sought-after skills, as are being friendly and reliant.  A top employee is one who the employer can leave confidently to get on with tasks: in this case, keeping charge of office supplies, answering the phone, scheduling appointments, maintaining records for staff and responsibly performing other assigned duties with ease. 

A non-negotiable skill when being in the healthcare industry is a positive attitude. Especially when dealing with patients or other people who come into contact with your office on a daily basis, you want people to walk away feeling like they were treated well by someone who clearly cared about them and their needs. Having compassion and understanding for someone else in this line of work will never go unnoticed. 

Think about what kind of experience each patient should have during their visit to the clinic (or hospital).  What does this person need?  How can you make sure that happens?  You might be surprised at how many seemingly minor details go into making someone’s experience positive or negative! 

How much does a healthcare administrative assistant make?

Although this can vary significantly depending on the setting and location, the average salary across the UK is £18,000 – £22,000 per year (according to Indeed.)

The average salaries for this role in each of our office locations are as follows:

Safehands Cheltenham: £20,158

Safehands Telford: £18,933

Safehands Hereford: £19,844

Safehands Cardiff: £20,582

Safehands Bristol: £20,475

Safehands Worcester: £19,949

Safehands Staffordshire: £20,145

With offices across the UK, Safehands are perfectly situated to help you find a healthcare assistant job near you.

Where do healthcare admin assistants work? 

Usually, healthcare administrative assistants work in an office, whether that’s in a hospital, a clinic or a private practice.  This can sometimes affect how duties are delegated and shared with employees due to the size and scope of the healthcare setting you might find yourself in.  For instance, if you’re an administrative assistant in a large hospital or clinic that offers several different services (for example, surgery and radiology), then it’s likely that your responsibilities will include assisting with all aspects of patient care at some level. 

Even though you may not be directly in the clinical environment, this does not undermine the fact that you must be up to scratch on medical terminology.  This is to ensure clear communication on any possible matter between doctors, nurses, practitioners, patients and you, the administrative assistant – the first point of contact.

How to get a role as a healthcare administrative assistant?

First of all it is important that your CV reflects the skills and experience that are required for this role. You can discover top tips on how to write a great CV in our blog and how to tailor your CV to suit the healthcare administrative assistant job description. At Safehands Recruitment we have a team of healthcare recruitment experts who can help you compile your CV and help you search for healthcare administrative assistant jobs through our recruitment portal. It’s also important to prepare for the interview stage should you be called for a potential interview, and you can find all the key interview questions and answers in our blog. 

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