Healthcare Administrative Writing
Viola Robinson, Faculty, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
I like to think of the United States healthcare delivery system as a unique, dynamic, and challenging industry. The process of care delivery and the mode in which the system is financed depends on two crucial components – data and communication.
The system thrives on data, its backbone. Data collection and how it is interpreted, used, and stored will determine if quality of care has been achieved and if positive financial outcomes have been attained. Therefore, communicating such (complex) data to the targeted audience is the second most important factor of healthcare delivery and financing.
Thus, the system employs a myriad of talented individuals in various healthcare settings – hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, insurance companies, ambulance companies, pharmacy benefit management, disease management firms, credentialing organizations, pharmaceutical companies, etc. – in public and private sectors. Eventually individuals will retire or seek another career. Those individuals looking to find employment in the US Healthcare system must be properly prepared to take on the job tasks and responsibilities.
Employers tend to group healthcare workers into two distinct categories – clinical and administrative. It is the administrative group that I wish to address in my writings. This group of healthcare workers is the strength of the clinical care provider. It is the responsibility of the administrative healthcare worker to serve as the eyes and ears of the data and communicate that data to the targeted audience.
Oral communication is a given. However, written correspondence is often required and necessary in any given administrative task. It is especially important because all written documents become part of the patient’s medical record. And, the information placed in the medical record is considered legal documents.
I have been teaching college level health care administration courses for nine years. My instructing experience includes teaching students enrolled in Medical Office Management, Health Information Management, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing & Coding, Medical Office Administration, and Cardiovascular Sonography. Students are quite excited in the beginning. But, when they discover how much writing is involved, they cringe.
In these programs, I have observed one common thing: students do not take writing assignments as seriously as their subject majors. Thus, many often do the bare minimum when it comes to writing. I’ve found myself often going back to English grammar basics to ensure that assignments were completed correctly. And, I’ve often emphasized that an employer wants a skilled, well-rounded, talented individual. This includes knowing how to write correctly.
Students enrolled in healthcare administration programs can find such jobs as:
- Reimbursement Specialist
- Revenue Manager
- Coding Analyst
- Medical Office Manager
- Worker’s Compensation Claims Analyst
- Clinical Care Coordinator
- Medical Assistant
- Credentialing Coordinator
- Surgery Scheduler
- Admissions Coordinator
- Medical Billing Representative
- Health Insurance Analyst
- Account Receivables Representative
- Patient Access Representative
- Financial Counselor
- Financial Analyst
- Provider Relations Representative
- Payment Posting Representative
- Charge Description Master Analyst
- Coding Compliance Analyst
All of the listed jobs require excellent writing skills. Excellent writing skills enable you to become a more skilled communicator. In your job as an administrative healthcare employee, you become the educator to the patient, clinician, and other stakeholders.
Where will we begin our writing lessons in the English grammar quest? Stay tuned for my next article. I’m going to take you back to the basics, but not in a basic sense.
Thanks for this very wonderful blog! I have been teaching medical transcription at Kaplan for a very long time and have encouraged my students as well to be careful and accurate in their writing because it can mean life or death to the patient. I look forward to reading more on this topic and sharing your thoughts with my students!
Yes, clear communication can definitely mean life or death to a patient. When my mom had surgery in the 90’s, the nurse came into her room with a syringe and said, “Which arm do you want it in, Cathy?” My mom replied, “My name is Janet, but if that is for pain I’ll take it.”
It’s good that the nurse said the patient’s name. Otherwise, who knows what medicine my mom would have received.
Thanks for reading and posting!