Online Unit Secretary Course and Training Overview

Online unit secretary courses can provide the didactic portion of a health unit coordinator's education that can lead to a unit secretary or medical administration certificate or associate degree. Coupled with clinical experience, these courses can prepare unit secretaries for voluntary certification exams and employment in the medical field.

Online Unit Secretary Courses

Below are descriptions for commonly offered unit secretary online courses.

  • Medical Administration Course: This course discusses the clerical skills required of a medical unit secretary. These include processing hospital admissions, scheduling appointments and medical accounting procedures, such as coding medical records and billing insurance carriers. Topics in securely storing patient records, assembling medical files and processing charts are also covered.
  • Medical Terminology Course: Students learn terminology pertaining to the health care field as they focus on the vocabulary associated with medicine, human systems, processes, anatomy and pathology. Students explore how roots, prefixes and suffixes come together to form these words, and breaking down words into their component parts can help determine meaning.
  • Medical Transcription Course: This course covers basic terminology, spelling, grammar, communication and memory skills related to transcription in the medical field. Students learn how to use a Dictaphone and acquire computer keyboarding skills to transcribe voice-recorded reports dictated by health care professionals into a text format.
  • Patient Care and Interpersonal Communications Course: This course prepares students to deal with patients and families in the medical setting when greeting patients, scheduling appointments and gathering medical information. Topics include an overview of professional communication when dealing with sensitive information, treating patients with dignity and respect and ensuring confidentiality.
  • Anatomy and Physiology Course: Students are exposed to the fundamental concepts of anatomy and physiology, including the basics of individual organs, anatomical systems, body functions and structures. Overviews of the effects of aging and major diseases are also provided.
  • Introduction to Pharmacology: This course provides students with an overview of pharmaceuticals. Coursework emphasizes commonly used medications, categories of drugs, and procedures for processing prescriptions. Students will also learn about legislation that regulates the pharmaceutical industry and how to administer medications.
  • Healthcare Delivery Systems: This course provides an overview of the organizational and financial aspects of various healthcare delivery systems. Students are also introduced to key concepts in managed healthcare.
  • Medical Legal Issues: This course introduces students to their legal and ethical obligations when working as secretaries in medical facilities. Topics of study can include intra-office relationships and medical practice liability.

Program Information

Unit secretaries perform non-medical duties such as preparing medical records, processing physician's orders and coordinating admissions. A few schools offer unit secretary coursework online through certificate and associate's degree programs in medical administrative assisting. Course topics include basic anatomy, transcription, ethics and medical terminology. Some programs with online coursework might also include a practical experience component.

To participate in online courses, a computer with basic software applications, such as Microsoft Word, is usually required. Students may need additional software and textbooks for some courses.

For those interested, certification is available through the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC). To qualify, students must pass the NAHUC Certification exam. Certification is granted for three-year periods.

Individuals who want to work as secretaries in medical settings can take relevant online courses through undergraduate degree and certificate programs that cover medical office administration.

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