Online medical office management degree programs can be found at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels in fully online formats. Online associate degree programs provide students with coursework in medical office administration, medical law and ethics, medical billing and clinical duties. A bachelor's degree is generally required for medical and health services management positions, although these requirements vary by facility. These programs delve into risk management, leadership and billing.
Associate Degree in Medical Office Management
An online associate degree in medical office management, also commonly referred to as medical office administration, prepares graduates to perform administrative and clinical duties that keep the business aspects of a medical office functioning smoothly. Students gain an understanding of the administrative duties unique to medical practices, including medical billing and reimbursement, medical law, medical ethics, privacy laws and compliance with federal regulations. Courses help students develop strong administrative skills in order to work closely with physicians and other medical support staff to organize and manage patient care services.
Information and Requirements
An online associate degree in medical office management incorporates general education requirements with the industry-specific courses needed to gain entry-level employment within the field. An online curriculum can range from approximately 60 to 96 credit hours. Depending on whether they are enrolled part-time or full-time, students can expect to complete this type of degree program in 16-24 months. In many programs, all required coursework can be completed entirely online.
Coursework for an associate degree in medical office management combines online training in traditional clerical and office skills with basic instruction in health care and medical business operations. Traditional clerical skills such as computers and technology, reception, organization and communication are covered.
This online course helps students establish a solid foundation of medical terminology and common abbreviations. Students are introduced to prefixes, suffixes and root words used in the medical vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on understanding medical terminology as it pertains to anatomy, diagnostic procedures, the body systems and treatment procedures.
Medical Billing and Insurance Procedures
Students are introduced to basic coding, billing and insurance claim procedures used in medical offices and hospitals. The class covers various classification systems, such as CPT, ICD-9-CM and HCPS, used to code diagnoses, procedures and conditions.
Anatomy and Physiology
Content provides an overview of all major body systems, their role in the human organism and their interaction with other systems and structures. Students study the human body as a living, functioning organism and learn important concepts regarding how cells, tissue, organs and body systems make the human body work.
Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Management
In an online health care management bachelor's degree program, students learn the administrative techniques, business skills and medical knowledge required to manage medical offices. Students study public and private health care systems, billing, coding, health care finances and legal issues in health care. The curriculum also helps build general leadership skills, such as team building, interpersonal skills and change strategies. This type of online program is typically designed for adult learners currently working in a health care field.
Information and Requirements
Combining both general education courses and prescribed coursework within the health care management major, an online bachelor's degree typically requires at least 120 credit hours. Online programs will typically accept transfer credits from a previously earned associate degree toward general education coursework. At many schools, all courses are offered entirely online through interactive course management software, such as Blackboard. Students can expect this type of degree to require approximately 4 years of study.
Typical coursework for an online bachelor's degree provides the knowledge needed to assume leadership roles within a variety of health care organizations. The curriculum provides focused instruction in health care topics, including management procedures, accounting, budgeting, regulation and policy.
Health Care Finance
Instruction covers the unique structure and procedures of financial management in the health care industry. Courses teach students how to understand health care reimbursement procedures, statements of profit and loss, cash flow statements and balance sheets in order to make informed decisions regarding operations and resource allocation.
Health Care Organizations and Leadership
This course explores roles and duties of supervisors in modern health care organizations, including techniques for working with organized medical staff and medical boards. Study topics include professional development, strategic management, interpersonal skills and leadership.
Risk Management in Health Care
The various risk factors associated with conducting business within the health care industry are introduced. Students study various methods for managing financial risk in health care organizations, including reducing liability and maintaining adequate insurance.
Medical office managers oversee the day-to-day operations of health care organizations, including inventory, billing, insurance claims and human resources. Employment opportunities are available in a variety of settings, including general or specialized clinics, private physician offices, chiropractor offices and physical therapy practices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office managers in physicians' offices earned an annual mean wage of $56,170 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Graduates with bachelor's degree in health care management are prepared for entry-level leadership opportunities with a variety of health care facilities, including nursing homes, physician practices, ambulatory care services and hospitals. A bachelor's degree is typically sufficient enough for management positions at the department level of health care organizations, in health information management, private physician practice and in small health care facilities. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for medical and health services managers were projected to grow by 17% during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual wage for medical and health care services managers was $94,500. A master's degree is typically required for those individuals wishing to elevate their careers and seek administrative positions as department heads with larger health care facilities.
Students who want to earn online medical office manager degrees can obtain an associate's or a bachelor's degree completely online. The various courses that can be studied include medical terminology, medical billing, health care finance, and risk management in health care.