In the first of a new series that we’re introducing to the Carrington Connection, we examine some of the careers that we prepare Carrington College California students for…but from a different perspective; that of the patient, customer, or client.
Efficient Health Care Administration is at the core of every medical facility, from the largest hospital to the smallest doctor’s office. The front office is the heart of most health care operations. It’s often where the first patient/staff interaction occurs, it’s where patient information is gathered and distributed to medical professionals, it’s sometimes where bills/co-pays are paid. That’s why health care administrators need to have great customer service skills, be process-oriented, and have great attention to detail.
We spoke with a couple of patients recently to examine how their differing experiences with front office staff affected their view of the treatment they received.
Katie W, aged 25, woke up one Sunday morning with a rash on her face – she rushed to an urgent care clinic to be greeted by a health care administrator who clearly wanted to be somewhere else.
“It was one of those situations where I was a little freaked out; I had this thing on my face and to be honest, I was scared. We got to the urgent care clinic to be greeted at the front office by someone who was clearly having a bad day. There was no warmth, no empathy, no emotion at all – it was almost as if I was an inconvenience. Although the doctor I saw was very nice, the attitude of that staff member means I’ve never been back to that clinic; what’s more I told all my friends and family to avoid it too.”
This is a perfect example of when health care staff should think “How would I feel in their shoes”? Always remember that efficiency in your job does not have to come at the price of courteousness or empathy.
You don’t have to come across as a patient’s best friend, but you do need to appreciate their state of mind and act accordingly. Never bring your own problems to work; how you act and behave every moment at work reflects on you and your employer.
Aimee S, aged 33, shared her experience with a health care administrator at a chiropractic office that she started visiting earlier this year.
“There was some confusion with my insurance plan, and whether or not I had to pay just the co-pay or a larger contribution. The front office manager could sense my confusion when she overheard me talking with the receptionist; she came over, sat down with me and took the time to speak to my insurance company. She went through my options, and really helped clarify the situation. She went above and beyond what I had expected, and really made me feel that she cared.”
These two examples demonstrate the different ways your demeanor can impact the reputation of your workplace, and possibly your own career. That’s why we take the personal development of our Health Care Administration students as seriously as we do their professional development. In fact we tell our students that while grades and qualifications are obviously important, so is the expansion of your ‘softer skills’.
Soft skills are your personal attributes, the personality traits that can influence and enhance the way you communicate and relate to other people. That’s why they can impact your career prospects, your job performance and many other activities in life. So once you graduate and enter your new career, always respect your patients’ situations; think what it would be like to be ‘in their shoes’ and act accordingly.
For comprehensive consumer information on our Health Care Administration program, visit carrington.edu/online/health-care-administration-degree/