Theobjective of this research is to define multi-tasking drawingillustrations from the case scenario of medical office assistants.This research paper illustrates the need for multi-tasking and thestrategies that can be used by medical office assistants to ensureefficient and productive multi-tasking. The aspects explored are timemanagement and prioritizing tasks.
Medicaloffice assistants (MOAs), also referred to as medical administrativeassistants, are specialists who are regarded as administrativepersonnel in the hospital setting (Fordney 2015). They ensure thesmooth running of medical offices by performing administrative tasks.They also carry out some medical duties under a doctor`s supervision.MOAs maintain doctors` schedules and health records. They also carryout medical billing and other office tasks such as answering phones.In their profession, they have to juggle between many tasks. Toeffectively carry out their duties, MOAs have to multi-task,prioritize their tasks and have excellent time management skills.This paper will review the role of multi-tasking strategies that MOAshave to employ to ensure successful time management in theirday-to-day tasks including the provision of excellent service to thepatients.
Multi-taskingand time management are skills that are highly important not only inthe medical profession but in virtually all fields. Even in theBible, Jesus multi-tasked when he preached and performed miracles atthe same time as illustrated in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke,and John. According to Kalenkoski & Foster (2016), multi-taskingis the ability to perform more than one activity or task over a shortperiod of any given time. It is doing more than one thing at a time. Examples of multi-tasking include: answering a phone call whiletyping an e-mail simultaneously, reading a book while taking notes atthe same time, or sending e-mails during a meeting.
Thepurpose of multi-tasking is mainly to get more things done in a shortperiod of time and hence save time (Kalenkoski & Foster, 2016).By completing a set of tasks simultaneously, a medical officeassistant or any other person can save more time than if they handledthe same tasks independently. Saving time also ensures that moretasks can be completed in a shorter period. Thus, multi-tasking alsohelps in ensuring that more tasks are completed over a particularworking period. Another purpose which mostly applies to organizationsand companies is reducing costs. In the business world, reduced coststranslate to more profits. The cost of handling more taskssimultaneously is considerably lower than addressing each activityindependently. Kalenkoski & Foster (2016) explain that the costof labor is reduced since fewer people can multi-task instead ofhiring specific people for specific tasks. This skill also increasesproductivity at the workplace and also at home. Employees who aregood at multi-tasking get more work done and thus their output ishigh. At home, multitasking ensures more household chores arecompleted. Multi-tasking also helps in preventing procrastination. Itmotivates people, especially workers, to achieve more.
Inthe medical world, multi-tasking is useful in ensuring the completionof the load of tasks that face the medical personnel at any giventime. Medical office assistants ensure office tasks and customerservice tasks are completed promptly to save more time to attend totheir patients and provide excellent care. To efficiently achievethis, multi-tasking employees must exhibit a high level ofconcentration and understanding of their priorities. They also haveto be well organized and possess the ability and skill of managingtheir time wisely. Time management, as illustrated by Sanderson(2016) is the skill or act that entails planning and exercisingmindful control of the amount of time that is spent on specificactivities. This is especially done to increase productivity,efficiency and effectiveness of any given activity, task, project orprocess. It is aided by a range of tools, skills, techniques, andtechnology. Sanderson (2016) further explains that prioritizing tasksinvolves ranking and completing them in order of importance, i.e."First things first." An excellent multi-tasking employeehas to show an understanding of the priorities of the tasks that heor she needs to complete and then addressing those tasks in order oftheir urgency. The most important tasks should be completed first.Medical office assistants are faced with many tasks in their dailyundertaking. Most of these tasks involve office work like billing,customer service and sending and receiving mails as pointed outearlier but sometimes, high priority tasks arise. Such tasks couldinclude attending to a patient when the doctor is not available andthe patient requires immediate attention. In such a scenario, the MOAshould immediately realize the importance of attending to the patientwhile waiting for a doctor to be available to take over. Offeringgood service to patients is a virtue that is even encouraged in theBible which states that “We who are strong have an obligation tobear with the failings of the weak.” (Romans 15:1).
Multi-tasking,prioritizing tasks and time management require some strategies toachieve success. The strategies of effective multi-tasking and timemanagement require discipline and focus. According to Kalenkoski &Foster (2016), these strategies include: giving full attention totasks ahead, setting definite time frames for task completion, beingeffective at switching gears within homogeneous tasks, prioritizingtasks and honoring the calendar. Giving full attention to the tasksinvolves avoiding distractions at any cost. Distraction results totime wastage and consequently incomplete tasks. Being fully attentiveensures quick completion of tasks. Setting time frames for the tasksrequires a medical office assistant to set a deadline for theconclusion of those tasks and working towards completing those taskswithin the set period. Efficient switching of gears entails moving onto the next task after completing the previous one. After completinga task, all emotional energy should be directed to the next task athand. It is advisable to keep similar tasks together to avoid hugeadjustments between tasks. Prioritizing tasks involves completingthe most important tasks first as pointed out earlier. Honoring thecalendar is an important strategy in multitasking since it involvesscheduling everything to avoid forgetting about particular tasks.Keeping a to-do list and a record of all completed tasks is anotherimportant strategy that keeps a medical office assistant aware of hisor her progress. It is useful in self-evaluation and finding out ifan adjustment is required in case of slow completion rate or mistimeddeadlines for completing certain tasks (Kalenkoski & Foster2016). A medical office assistant should also know when they workbest. This strategy involves being aware of when your concentrationis best. It is key in being capable of working on many tasks. If oneis more alert in the mornings, they should strive to complete moretasks during that time. If you are tired and slow during the midday,you should then make the workload during this time a little lighter.Then, if you pick up in the afternoon, get back to completing moredemanding tasks.
Thesestrategies help the employee to be successful in multi-tasking. Beingaware of what needs to be done and not letting your workloadoverwhelm you is an important aspect of multitasking. Multi-taskingcan be done efficiently and productively, but one must be aware oftheir strengths and limits to avoid burn-outs and poor quality work.The type of work you are working on should fit your skill set toensure stress-free multi-tasking and prevent exhaustion. Medicaloffice assistants should make sure that they are strong mentally andphysically before engaging in any multi-tasking activities.Successful multi-tasking is highly beneficial to any organization,but if it is conducted in an inefficient and disorganized manner, itcan result in substantial negative implications for both theorganization and the individual (Blais, 2015)
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