Medical Office Management Study Guide for the Medical Assistant test

Page 1

General Information

Medical assistant tests contain certain questions about the management of a healthcare-oriented office. Some of the topics would apply to any office management, but others require knowledge of best practices related only to a medical environment. Be sure you know how to manage the day-to-day office activities and keep a medical office running smoothly.

General Office Management

Managing the office in an orderly and efficient manner, while also following all established protocols, is an essential part of ensuring a successful practice.

Opening and Closing the Office

A set of opening and closing duties should be developed and recorded for reference. These duties will likely become a routine part of the day. Some examples of office-opening tasks are: turning on all lights, computer, and medical equipment; unlocking and opening all entrances; checking answering machines for messages; and ensuring that the waiting room is stocked with any normally provided amenities, including coffee or water. Examples of closing duties include: turning off the lights, computer, and medical equipment; cleaning the rooms and/or waiting area; and locking all of the entrances.

Office Supplies and Equipment

Office supplies and equipment should be properly invoiced and accounted for; this is especially true for expensive medical equipment and machines. You should keep important records for supplies and equipment and test the equipment regularly. This will allow the identification of problems prior to the actual need for the equipment use and identification of battery replacement needs.

Reception Room Environment

The reception and waiting area should be a comfortable and clean space for patients. This will require regular sanitation. Take into consideration any safety hazards, especially those that may pose a risk to small children. Keeping current information and entertainment available will help keep patients occupied and comfortable while they wait.


The safety of all employees and patients must be a priority. It is vital to develop guidelines and practices that continue to maintain a safe workplace.

Office Safety Manual

An office safety manual is a key resource in maintaining a safe workplace. It is important to develop one that addresses all of the safety hazards and needs in the office environment. Once it has been developed, it should be followed by all employees and periodically reviewed and updated.

Accident Prevention

Injuries sustained from falls are the most common type of workplace injury. It is crucial to identify any hazards that could cause tripping or slipping. If possible, minimize the risk by, for example, moving electrical cords that are a tripping hazard. If it is not possible to eliminate a potential hazard, post signs to alert individuals of the risk.

Environmental Safety

Information regarding general office safety should be readily available to all employees. This information should include electrical safety guidelines and fire extinguisher locations and instructions. Office ergonomics should be considered when furnishing an office so as to aid in the prevention of work-related injuries.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

All workplaces contain a Safety Data Sheet or SDS (formerly referred to as Material Safety Data Sheet/MSDS), which includes information about chemicals that may be encountered while working. It lists the name of the chemical, its physical and chemical characteristics, physical and health hazards, precautions for safe handling, and emergency/first aid procedures.


Any unsafe activities should be immediately reported to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as the agency will only investigate violations occurring within the last 6 months. Your identity will remain confidential.

OSHA Guidelines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for all employees. They provide training, outreach, education, and assistance. The hazard communication standard ensures information is available for all workplace chemicals and kept in the SDS. They can provide information on engineering and work practice controls to ensure air safety when there is a threat of lead exposure. OSHA can provide information on employee training programs and standards through their website or direct phone contact.

Compliance and Reporting

The burden for meeting all compliance and reporting requirements is on the staff in a medical office. To meet these requirements, it is extremely important to keep detailed records.

Staff Accreditation

Many staff within a medical office must maintain various accreditations and licenses. To keep these current, periodically check all files and flag those that are due shortly. You should also keep information available about fees, dues, and other requirements.

Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) Regulations and Guidelines

This act provides lab standards for quality assurance, quality control, and test-specific procedures for any facility doing outpatient lab tests in a physician’s office laboratory.

Patient Care Errors

Medical assistants are held to a standard of care, and if one makes an error, he or she will be held liable, along with the employer.

Insurance Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

It is important to follow correct billing procedures and laws to avoid fraud. Any instances of fraud, waste, or abuse, intentional or not, may be subject to criminal penalties.

Conflicts of Interest

All employees of the medical office should avoid any activity that may be perceived as a conflict of interest, including accepting gifts or having a financial interest in products prescribed or recommended by that office.

Incident Reports

It is vital to keep records of, and report, any out-of-the-ordinary event that occurs during normal procedures. For any event that requires an incident report, including exposure to bodily fluids, a report must be completed and filed in a timely manner.


All Study Guides for the Medical Assistant test are now available as downloadable PDFs