What is a Medical Receptionist?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A medical receptionist is the person in a medical office who greets patients, vendors and medical and pharmaceutical sales representatives in person and on the telephone. Depending on the work environment, his duties may include those in both the front and back offices. He may work for a single, private practice doctor or for a group of physicians in a medical office or health care clinic.

Since the medical receptionist is normally the first point of contact for new and existing patients, he is typically expected to be outgoing, empathetic and friendly. His job normally entails setting, verifying and rescheduling appointments as necessary. He is commonly required to resolve scheduling conflicts to the satisfaction of the physicians and patients.

In addition to verbal communications, a medical receptionist is usually required to communicate via email and regular mail. He is customarily required to request information from other physicians and insurance companies and communicate with vendors, medical testing facilities and hospitals. If there are insurance or billing issues, the receptionist is ordinarily expected to initiate communications to resolve them.

Most medical receptionists are expected to have a good working knowledge of computer hardware and software. His job frequently requires him to create memos, office signs and spreadsheets and maintain databases of patient information. All of these require utilizing an array of software applications and hardware peripherals such as printers and external disc drives.


Filing charts and related paperwork are common tasks of a medical receptionist. Other normal duties often include medical billing and completing insurance papers for private and public carriers. Properly maintaining X-rays and lab reports is normally part of the job.

Some people in this position, particularly those in small offices, are frequently expected to interact with vendors and suppliers. This communication is often necessary to maintain inventories of office products and schedule maintenance and repair of office equipment such as copiers and fax machines. If a stockroom is part of the office setup, the medical receptionist is normally in charge of keeping it orderly and full of necessary supplies.

A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to apply for this position. Technical institutes and some colleges frequently offer two-year programs in medical assistance or medical reception that are preferred by many employers. Experience in a medical or general office environment is desirable. Knowledge of medical terminology, insurance billing practices or medical office software is an asset for medical receptionist job applicants.


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Post 3

@ddljohn-- Community colleges offer training for medical secretary or receptionist job positions. They might not be offered every semester though, so you should ask.

Post 2

@ddljohn-- There will be some terms that you will need to be familiar with, but it's nothing that requires special training. You will get used to the terms as you work there.

For example, if you are required to pull out the MRI results of a patient, you might want to know that MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It's a type of test done to view internal soft tissues, organs, etc. But you won't need to know anything beyond that.

You will mostly be managing appointments, taking phone calls, and maybe preparing documents. A medical receptionist's responsibilities are basically the same as other types of receptionist jobs.

Post 1

Does a medical receptionist have to be familiar with medical/technical terms at all?

I'm applying for a job as a medical receptionist. I have previous experience as an office assistant and receptionist, but never in the medical field. Will I have trouble adjusting in this job if I get hired?

Is there medical receptionist training available?

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