Finding the right office assistant is critical for the success of your practice. Your office assistant will be involved in every aspect of your practice, including greeting patients, scheduling appointments, being your voice on the telephone, managing supply vendors and inventory, billing and more. Look for these characteristics when you hire for this critical position.

Reliable

Look for an assistant who has a track record for coming to work consistently and being on time. You don’t need the disruption of last-minute juggling that’s required to cover for someone unreliable.

Mature

A mature assistant can partner with you to keep the office running smoothly. Look for someone who understands the role and will take it seriously. In addition, you need an assistant who can manage the normal stressors in the office with grace.

Creative

Your assistant needs to find creative ways to deal with difficult patients, manage your schedule, stop office gossip and more. In addition, look for an assistant who can look beyond “the way it’s always been done” to suggest ways to improve office procedures.

Efficient

Your office assistant will typically set the tone for how the office is run. If your front office is overrun with patient files, has coffee cups teetering on the edge of the copier and post-it notes hanging from every vertical surface, neither patients nor staff members will expect the rest of the office to run effectively.

Further, your practice will suffer if billing and insurance claims aren’t handled efficiently. If you don’t have a separate individual who is responsible for billing, hiring a competent office assistant is even more important.

Articulate

To a large extent, your office assistant is your practice’s face to the rest of the world. Your assistant must be able to communicate effectively to explain your services to potential patients, keep accurate schedules, resolve problems and more. Seek an assistant who understands your practice and has the confidence to communicate easily with others.

Compassionate

Patients who come to your office are often in distress. They need a kind-hearted person to guide them through the paperwork, reassure them, answer their questions, make them feel welcome and assure them that their problems are important and will be addressed. A compassionate assistant will easily complete those tasks.

When your office assistant exhibits the characteristics described above, you’ll have confidence that your office is operating effectively and can focus more of your attention on your patients.