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Medical Secretary Interview Questions

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  1. How versatile are your skills within a medical practice? Are you able to handle new areas of responsibility? See answer
  2. What medical software do you have experience with, and how proficient are you with technology? See answer
  3. How do you handle difficult situations when an irate patient is making a scene in the waiting room? See answer
  4. Describe a situation in which you went above and beyond your job to help a patient. See answer
  5. We accept appointments online, in-person and over the phone, so there are multiple sources you have to consider when making appointments. How would you keep track of the appointment schedule without overbooking time slots? See answer
  6. How do you view your role within the medical practice team?
  7. What are the best practices you implement to uphold patient privacy when helping them fill out intake paperwork or discussing their appointment?
  8. Are you comfortable performing basic tech support and troubleshooting tasks to help patients access their online patient portal accounts and appointment records?
  9. Do you have experience working with billing issues such as communicating with insurance companies, preparing invoices and updating billing accounts?
  10. What would you do if a patient called asking for test results when the doctor was not available and got upset that you couldn’t simply share the results yourself? How would you resolve the conflict?
  11. Describe the steps you’d take if a doctor had to take an emergency day off and cancel on all of their patients that day?
  12. What would you do if someone asked for a walk-in appointment but you were uncertain about whether the doctor would have time to see them?
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6 Medical Secretary Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How versatile are your skills within a medical practice? Are you able to handle new areas of responsibility?

A:

Medical secretaries are the most valuable when they are the proverbial jack of all trades. While it helps to have someone who may excel at working the front desk and setting appointments, you never know when you will need someone to pitch in elsewhere in the practice. This question is aimed at gauging how well-rounded the candidate is and whether they are able to handle multiple functions in your office. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience in both front desk and billing
  • The ability to learn new job responsibilities
  • Skills that translate to many functions

Example:

“I am experienced in working the front desk, and I help with billing when we are busy or when the regular person is out.”

Q:

What medical software do you have experience with, and how proficient are you with technology?

A:

The medical secretary often works with software in the area of practice administration and perhaps billing. It is the candidate who is proficient in technology who can add value to your practice. Not only are you looking for someone with a knowledge of the specific software you are using in your office, but you also want to find a medical secretary who has the aptitude to learn if you choose to introduce new software. What to look for in an answer:

  • Technological proficiency in multiple software platforms
  • The ability to learn new systems
  • Evidence that they are open to new and changing technology

Example:

“In my office, we use both an appointment scheduling system as well as a billing system, and I know how to use both.”

Q:

How do you handle difficult situations when an irate patient is making a scene in the waiting room?

A:

One of the most important features of the medical secretary’s job is the public relations aspect. They are a representative of your practice and the first face that most of your patients will see. You want to understand how the candidate handles conflict and diffuses tough situations. While not all customers can be satisfied, a medical secretary with diplomatic skills and a winning manner can lower the temperature when necessary. What to look for in an answer:

  • Tact and the ability to remain neutral
  • Skills in handling difficult situations
  • Thick skin to handle angry patients

Example:

“I always remember I am representing the physician, so I know that I can never lose my cool at a patient. It looks bad.”

Q:

How do you view your role on the team that is the medical practice?

A:

When it comes to a medical office, everyone has their role to play from the technicians to the secretaries to the physicians. The practice works best when everyone does their job seamlessly and the team is fully cohesive. You want to avoid hiring a medical secretary who does not necessarily get along with others. You want to test how well-versed and committed they are in the area of teamwork. What to look for in an answer:

  • The ability to work on a team
  • Skills in getting along with co-workers
  • Evidence that they put the practice first

Example:

“I make sure to approach all of my co-workers in a friendly manner and make sure never to say anything I cannot take back.”

Q:

Describe a situation in which you went above and beyond your job to help a patient.

A:

You do not want a medical secretary who sticks just to what their job requires and nothing more. There will invariably be situations in which a patient experiences an issue and need some extra help to achieve a favorable outcome. This is how your practice gains loyal customers and referrals. The physician can only do so much, and in many cases, it is the support staff whose work wins plaudits. What to look for in an answer:

  • A kind and caring manner
  • The desire to help patients
  • Knowledge that satisfied patients mean a healthy practice

Example:

“I avoid saying that something is not in my job description. For example, I worked with a patient extensively on a billing matter.”

Q:

We accept appointments online, in-person and over the phone, so there are multiple sources you have to consider when making appointments. How would you keep track of the appointment schedule without overbooking time slots?

A:

Scheduling patients based on the availability of medical staff is one of the key roles of a medical secretary. Medical secretaries have to keep close track of all patient appointments, requests and cancellations to make sure patients get the care they need while doctors and nurses use their time most efficiently. Interviewers can ask this question to identify strong candidates who will be able to balance multiple priorities and maintain consistent communication across several channels at once.

Elements of a strong answer can include:

  • Knowledge of scheduling software
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills

Here is one possible answer:

Example:

"I make sure the schedule is accurate at all times by recording all of my communications with patients in a spreadsheet or scheduling software. By collecting information from our email, website, phone messages and mail, I'm able to schedule appointments based on the most recent, accurate information. I also think it's important to always send reminder emails or calls that clearly state the time, date and day of the week for a patient's upcoming appointment. While I'm confident in my organization skills, giving patients the opportunity to confirm appointment times can help catch and miscommunications before they become an issue."

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