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5 Medical Office Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

As a medical office assistant, how will you ensure that you're following HIPAA guidelines?

A:

Maintaining confidentiality is crucial when performing duties as a medical office assistant. The ideal candidate will understand the importance of following HIPAA guidelines and have proven methods to ensure data security. Focus on how comfortable candidates are in explaining their knowledge of privacy compliances. Do they mention any examples of a time they had to protect a patient's details? What to look for in an answer:

  • Understands importance of following HIPAA rules and regulations
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Experience with securing patient information

Example:

"I always ensure that I'm following HIPPA by refreshing my memory of the guidelines each quarter. I also make sure never to give out patient documentation without proper verification.

Q:

Tell me about a problematic billing experience with a patient and how you handled it.

A:

Demanding billing situations happen in the medical field from time to time. Medical assistants working in the front office often hear complaints in person and over the phone. Sometimes, the patient may not understand the charges or needs to dispute it. Was the candidate able to resolve the matter with the patient, or did it result in more complications? What to look for in an answer:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Experience working with difficult patients
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations

Example:

"In my last position, an individual was upset over fees due to postponing on the same day as the appointment multiple times. I was able to talk with the doctor and remove the charges; however, the patient was only allowed one more cancellation within the calendar year.

Q:

Tell me about your proficiency with front office administrative responsibilities.

A:

Many medical office assistants do a combination of managerial work and clinical tasks under a doctor's provision. Focus on the duties that the applicant has been trained to take on in a medical setting. The candidate's answer should allow you to gauge how much experience they have with using electronic health record software, medical billing applications and faxing equipment. Does the applicant have the ability to talk on the phone with ease? What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with a variety of medical applications and software
  • Comfortable talking on the phone with patients
  • Gives examples of basic office administrative tasks

Example:

"I have experience with medical billing and coding as well as using EHR software such as Centricity and OpenEMR. I'm the go-to person on the phone as I enjoy communicating with patients and scheduling appointments.

Q:

What kind of experience do you have taking patients' vital signs and medical histories?

A:

Whenever medical office assistants bring someone into a room to be seen by a doctor, they're typically required to take the patient's vital signs and ensure their medical history is filled out. Some doctors require the medical office assistant to ask additional questions during this time. Focus on the applicant's training program experience and any professional experience performing these tasks. What to look for in an answer:

  • Level of expertise as a medical assistant
  • Demonstrates awareness of the different vital sign tasks
  • Experience working with patients of all ages

Example:

"I have three years of experience taking vital signs, including weight, blood pressure, temperature and pulse. I learned how to calculate these measurements on patients at my medical assisting program and internship.

Q:

Tell me about a time where you had to perform an electrocardiogram test on a patient.

A:

Most medical office assistants learn how to perform EKG tests in their initial program; however, not all businesses perform this exam on patients. The applicant's answer to this question allows you to gauge their experience working in a variety of offices. You'll also know if the candidate has an EKG certification. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience working in a variety of offices
  • EKG technician certification through the National Healthcareer Association
  • Experience working with older patients

Example:

"In my last medical office assistant position, I performed EKG exams on mainly older patients at a heart center. I received my EKG technician certification during my medical assisting program three years ago.

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