Even though the pandemic has strained our medical workforce, it’s evident that the healthcare system has adapted to meet the challenge.
The medical community maintained a quality patient experience thanks to the adoption of fundamental IT technology, which was made possible by staff with exceptional healthcare administration skills. Keep on reading to learn more about the necessary technical skills for healthcare administrators to excel in their workplace.
- The Demand for IT Skills in Healthcare
- Three Crucial Healthcare Administration Skills
- Improving Healthcare Recruitment Strategy with Pre-employment Tests
Healthcare IT Skills Have Never Been More in Demand
As the world evolves in uncertain times, the skills that candidates bring to the table are becoming the new currency. For example, four-year degrees have been the traditional benchmark of consideration for many jobs. However, verifiable skills are now replacing formal education as the top requirement. Demonstrable and applicable skillsets are what allow candidates to continue to thrive and climb the career ladder, even after they have landed the job.
In healthcare administration, the use of IT skills is nothing new. Still, it is extremely important that new hires have these technology skills, which make it possible for them to work without constant supervision. The question is – what are those skills, and why are they in such demand?
The non-profit organization HIMSS analyzed nearly 11,000 online job postings and, according to their research, the most in-demand skills in healthcare administration are:
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Microsoft Excel
- Computer skills
Using pre-employment tests to assess applicants' skills in job relevant areas can provide HR managers with a snapshot of their candidates’ abilities. Hiring managers can examine each applicant in detail and compare their experience and personality traits to determine who will perform best in the open position. This allows the decision makers to offer positions to highly-skilled candidates before they are scooped up by the competition.
Let’s review the tools and processes reliant on technology that members of a healthcare administration office work with on a regular basis.
Rapid Growth in Number of Medical Video Appointments
Many healthcare organizations were forced to adapt to the new market needs during 2020. One such organization was the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). This facility turned to telemedicine and video appointments to reduce the strain put on them because of many incoming COVID-19 patients.
In March 2020, video visit processes for 400 healthcare professionals were updated to meet the needs of public health emergency restrictions. GBMC quickly rolled out the video visitation platform to all ambulatory practices and locations. Doing this brought GBMC a growth in telemedicine interactions of more than 22,670% – from 59 telemedicine interactions in February 2020 to 13,436 e-health encounters in May 2020. Patient satisfaction with virtual sessions remained high, as shown by over 90% of favorable responses in the GMBC patient survey.
Lessons learned during the advancement of the video call process at GMBC included greater awareness of the in-depth virtual relationships that can be built with patients via a video platform. Users, both care providers and patients, learned that the technology needed to conduct virtual visits wasn’t difficult to master and that video visits can be a viable alternative to in-office consultations. Leaders identified a new method to assist patients and provide high-quality treatment, not only in reaction to the public health crisis, but also as a regular element of care delivery.
Rise in EMR and EHR Adoption
The introduction of electronic medical records has modernized the healthcare industry significantly. It’s allowed better overall service of healthcare organizations, higher patient satisfaction, and a better overall experience.
An EMR, which is a digital counterpart of the paper patient records in the clinician's office, stores the medical and treatment histories of patients in a single practice. They make it simple to monitor relevant data, determine which clients are required for preventive screenings and checks, assess how patients are doing on particular values (e.g., blood sample values), and analyze and manage overall healthcare quality within the practice.
Electronic health records (EHRs) function as an extension of EMRs. EHRs are designed to be used outside of the health institution that initially collects and compiles the data. They gather and share the patient’s information with other healthcare practitioners or institutions, so the treatment can be prescribed with as much information as possible. With EHRs, the patient's information can travel anywhere with them: to the specialist, another clinic, the next state, and even across the globe.
The widespread adoption of EHRs has made it a necessity for medical office employees to be computer-literate. But, as the HIMSS analysis shared above shows, that is only one of several important technical skills for healthcare administrators.
Three Crucial Healthcare Administration Skills
In our previous article, “Do Your New Hires Have the Healthcare Administration Skills You Need?,” we detailed the duties of three typical job roles commonly found in a medical office: the medical receptionist, the medical secretary, and the medical assistant. While employees in these roles benefit from soft skills such as attention to detail, communication and organization, they also need to have important technical knowledge to complete their daily tasks error-free.
Here are the three most important technical skills for healthcare administrators.
- Data entry. Data entry proficiency includes data gathering and database input, as well as the maintenance of accurate records on file. Data entry skills are especially important for medical receptionists. Fast and accurate typing and experience with spreadsheets and forms are essential for scheduling appointments and taking down the patient’s information. Data entry mistakes can easily lead to organizational problems down the line. For example, if the date of an appointment is wrongly entered, both the doctor’s and the patient’s time is lost.
- Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is considered an indispensable tool for any office work, including healthcare administration. Of the many programs in this toolkit, such as Word, Powerpoint and Outlook, knowing how to use Excel is an indispensable skill for anyone applying for the job of a medical secretary. The medical secretary’s list of everyday tasks includes processing medical records and handling billing and insurance claims. Therefore, knowing their way around Excel formatting and functions (for example, AutoSum or PivotTables) is key. Having an employee who isn’t well-versed in Excel can lead to bill processing mistakes. That creates many future problems, such as delayed payments and increased patient stress. Fixing even the simplest of errors would remove unnecessary exchanges between the patient and administration, which erode patient satisfaction and hurt the bottom line.
- Knowledge of medical terminology. Medical terminology is the shared language of medical professionals, especially for medical assistants. It’s part of the medical assistant’s role to quickly record the doctor’s preliminary assessments during an examination, followed by prognosis and treatment recommendations. Speed and accuracy are essential during this task. Leaning on their knowledge of medical terminology allows medical assistants to take notes in real-time, without error. Knowledge of medical terminology is also crucial if the medical assistant’s job includes speaking to the patient and explaining their instructions.
Improve Your Healthcare Recruitment Strategies with Pre-Employment Tests
Over the last several years, hospitals and medical practices have been using healthcare IT systems in ways that will replace obsolete technology with new, innovative methods. While this is a step forward that should increase the system's efficiency, it’s also created a new dilemma. These new IT systems require different hiring procedures.
Relying on resumes alone has been proven to be inefficient, biased, and inaccurate. On top of that, applicants have been known to be less-than-honest on their resumes, which can be very costly for the hiring company.
Pre-employment tests bring the recruiting process more objectivity by providing results that are standardized across all applicants. Employers can then rely on the information provided by the tests to make more data-driven hiring decisions.
Unlike face-to-face interviews, pre-employment testing allows hiring managers to assess a wide range of talents and personality traits. They allow for the evaluation of candidates' cognitive ability, subject-area expertise, and a wide range of soft and hard skills, among other things.
By providing objective, verifiable data that predict work performance, pre-employment testing can increase the quality of hires and reduce the number of bad hires. Employers can also save time by adopting pre-employment tests to reduce the amount of time spent reading resumes and conducting interviews. As a result of increased staff productivity and lower turnover, the hiring costs decrease and profitability increases.
While most hiring managers focus on the hard skills required, pre-employment tests ensure that additional skills – soft skills – are also considered. Healthcare professionals need exceptional communication skills, compassion and patience, honesty, and the ability to work as part of a team. Without these abilities, service quality suffers and patients will feel the consequences.
Basic skills are important too. Medical Office skills tests can show basic skills levels for the medical staff, including computer skills, typing/data entry speed, and attention to detail. Other types of pre-employment tests such as Workplace Success Profile tests can show that candidates have desired employee personality traits.
EmployTest offers a variety of tests that can save time and money for hiring managers looking to deliver quality hires to their company, regardless of the industry. Explore our Test list to learn more about which pre-employment tests can be most beneficial for your healthcare recruitment strategies.