Value of the Computer to Medical Office

Today's ambulatory care setting is typically a fast-paced environment where medical assistants must complete a variety of administrative and clinical tasks thoroughly and conscientiously. The myriad paperwork that goes hand-in-hand with patient care is a critical if time-consuming responsibility; the use of computers and computerized systems can reduce the time involved in many routine office procedures and, when used properly, will streamline repetitive tasks, giving the medical assistant more opportunity for creative problem solving and office management.
Once medical assistants become familiar with computer operations and software applications, they will find more and more uses for the computer in the ambulatory care setting. Below we describe some potential functions of the computer.    
    While the computerization of an ambulatory care setting may seem like a daunting process, the task is made more manageable if problems are anticipated beforehand. While computerization can simplify cumbersome tasks, and ultimately lead to greater productivity, initially staff members may experience some frustration until they become proficient in the use and language of computers.

Appointment scheduling
Follow-up scheduling
Patient recall lists
Patient reminders    
Word processing
Consultation reports
Labels and addressing
Medical transcription
Thank you letters
Welcome-to-practice letters    
Access to national data banks
CME (continuing medical education) programs
Drug interaction and allergy checks
Medical records
Patient education brochures
Prescription writing
Protocols, diagnosis, and treatment
Retrieving medical research from on-line sites
Treatment plans    
Accounts payable
Cash report
Cash register
Charge slips
Check writing
Cross-posting in multiphysician practices
Daily log
Deposit slip
General ledger
Income and expense statement
Monthly statements to patients
Profit and loss statements
Retirement plan accounting
W-2 forms    
Billing, collecting, and insurance
Accounts receivable
Aging accounts receivable
Billing forms
Collection letters
Electronic transmission of claims
Insurance claim processing
Patient billing    
Practice management
Employee vacation and sick-time records
Hospital lists and charges
Inventories and drug supplies
Ordering drugs and supplies
Patient profiles by age, diagnosis, and so on
Practice profiles by diagnosis, procedure, service
Production reports by physicians