Medical Scheduler: Helping Patients to Schedule Visits

The job can offer a means of getting into the administrative side of healthcare. Median salary in Rochester is $34,730

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Health workerThe medical scheduler is a non-clinical role that includes direct contact with both patients and providers, forming a vital link between those giving and receiving healthcare. 

While not requiring any education beyond a high school diploma, this job can offer a means of getting into the administrative side of healthcare. To be a great candidate for a better administrative position, there are medical assistant programs you can take.

“Medical schedulers play an integral role to keep patient flow on track and the practice running efficiently,” said Maureen Bisaccio, director of Adecco Medical & Science for Upstate New York. “By relieving doctors and nursing staff from certain responsibilities, it allows them to focus on providing more hands-on patient care.”

Medical schedulers help patients get on a provider’s schedule for a visit. They may also schedule home visits from some types of providers and schedule transportation to visits. This happens over the phone and sometimes in person, so a good candidate for a medical scheduler position should have good people skills and phone skills.

Since medical offices use technology to keep all their visits organized, a medical scheduler should also possess proficiency in Microsoft Office and be capable of learning any practice-specific software.

“Medical schedulers often work in a fast-paced environment,” Bisaccio said. “An ideal candidate will be detail-oriented, organized and have the ability to multi-task in a busy practice. Other soft skills include someone who has excellent communication skills and is professional and personable. As in any medical environment, there’s also an element of compassion and patience necessary to provide best in class service to patients.”

A medical facility can be a stressful and busy environment. For this reason, Farah Roman, director of staffing services for RBA Staffing in Rochester, said that a good medical scheduler should have organizational skills.

“It should be someone who can take ownership, has the ambition to troubleshoot and prioritize and reprioritize as the day goes on,” she said. “You have to work under pressure as you make changes to the schedule and meet the needs of the patient, provider and other staff.”

Medical schedulers also help incoming patients know what preparation they will need to undertake before arriving for their visit, such as whether to eat, what to wear, and COVID precautions. Roman said that previous work as a medical receptionist can be helpful.

“It is so much more than making appointments,” she added.

Smaller practices may require a medical scheduler to perform more secretarial duties, such as filing, reception, and managing the office. Larger facilities may use the worker as only a scheduler. A successful medical scheduler may have a number of opportunities for advancement in a few different environments.

 “The world is your oyster if you’re a clerical support person in the medical world,” said Colleen Ester medical team lead for TES Staffing in Rochester. “Be very open-minded to the environment and the challenges you’re facing. It could include working as a practice manger, office manager, or in compliance.”

Working as a medical scheduler can offer exposure to many facets of the medical office.

While some medical offices have added online scheduling, Ester does not see medical scheduling as an endangered career choice. Some people prefer making their medical appointments with a person rather than an online calendar. Some people have questions that require a phone conversation. Many medical offices believe that the customer service offered by a medical scheduler cannot be replicated through a website.

“These offices depend on the medical scheduler to give a full level of care from the person on the phone until the physician,” Roman said. “They are a part of that whole service delivery.

“The procedure for checking in an office has changed. Having someone walk you through that and ask you those screening questions–I don’t see going away anytime soon.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the annual mean wage for a medical scheduler in the Rochester area is $34,730.