Although medical secretaries don't provide patient treatment or care, they are an integral line of communication between patients and doctors, health care facilities and insurance companies, and the numerous departments involved with patient monitoring. Medical secretary programs offer the skills needed to learn effective communication through the proper use of terminology, a basic understanding of the human body and common diseases, and by ensuring adequate computer proficiency.
Here is a list of common concepts taught in medical secretary courses:
- Medical Terminology
- Billing and Coding
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Transcription
- Keyboarding and Word Processing
- Medical Office Procedures
Though diploma and certificate programs are a faster educational route than associate's programs, which usually include more general education coursework, all programs cover core concepts. Depending on the program path, a practicum may be required. Practicums provide onsite job shadowing and opportunities for students to perform learned tasks in order to enhance job-readiness.
List of Common Medical Secretary Courses
Medical secretaries learn the names of body parts and bodily systems in this course. Learning the names and function of major organs helps medical secretaries relay information accurately to doctors and aids in understanding the level of urgency of a medical problem. This course is usually taken during the first semester.
Building on the anatomy course, this course reviews vocabulary and phrases related to medical conditions, body parts, insurance issues, medical billing and medical office operations. Students learn to use the terminology to communicate with patients, doctors and other medical office workers. Students take this course during their first semester of study.
Medical Office Technology
A large component of a medical secretary's job includes the use of computers, copiers, faxes and other office technology. This course teaches keyboarding skills, basic personal computer operations and basic office technology operations. Software specific to creating medical appointments and patient billing systems may be taught in this class. This course may be taken during the first or second semester.
Medical Office Administration
This course deals with the business of working in a medical office. Medical secretaries take this course to understand the laws governing privacy in a medical office and to learn the functions of other members of a medical office. Students, who want to become medical office managers, may take this class to prepare for potential promotions. Generally, students take this course towards the end of their programs.
Medical Insurance Billing
Each medical service performed and piece of medical equipment used in a medical office is assigned a code. This code is used for billing the patient and the patient's insurance company. Medical secretaries learn the billing and coding system in this course. Initiating medical insurance appeals, communicating with insurance companies and identifying insurance companies' mistakes are also covered. This course is among the last courses taken in a medical secretary certificate program.
Medical Shorthand and Transcription
Shorthand and transcription are skills used by medical secretaries to produce a written record of a doctor's dictation. Medical secretary certificate programs often require either transcription or shorthand, but not both. In some programs, this class may be taken as an elective.