Dermatology Clinic Manager – A Day in the Life

Your skin may be a set of clothes you can’t take off, but with the help of dermatology clinics, you can change it for the better. This goes beyond simple cosmetics: dermatologists treat over 3,000 skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, and skin cancer.

According to the CDC, Americans made over 39 million visits to dermatology clinics in 2010, with the majority of those patients being age 75 or older. As the demographics of the US continue to age, coinciding with the retirement of the Baby Boomers, the number of dermatology clinic visits is likely to grow. To manage patient flow and help dermatologists focus on providing the best care they can, dermatology clinics employ dermatology clinic managers.

Dermatology clinic managers fall under the category of medical and health service managers, a profession which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) projects to grow by 18 percent between 2018 and 2028. Their main responsibility is to ensure a clinic is providing efficient, profitable, and compliant medical care. As simple as that sounds, there’s a lot of complexity behind how it’s accomplished.

To get a look at a day in the life of a dermatology clinic manager, read on.

Work Environment of Dermatology Clinic Managers

Dermatology clinic managers work (as you might have guessed) in dermatology clinics. This is primarily an office-based job, but a clinic manager will be required to stay abreast of events throughout the clinic. In the course of their work, clinic managers will perform face-to-face duties in addition to computer-based analyses. Dermatology clinics can vary significantly from one another, depending upon their location, community population, and affiliation with any other clinics and organizations.

Clinical Team

A dermatology clinic manager is responsible for orchestrating the operations of the clinic and managing several different team members. While it will vary based on the size and scope of a particular clinic, dermatology clinic managers usually have to coordinate with medical staff, non-medical staff, insurance providers, patients, and any other members of administrative leadership.

Typical Daily Responsibilities of Dermatology Clinic Managers

The specific tasks of a dermatology clinic manager will vary based on the specific needs of the dermatology clinic that employs them. One clinic may be looking to expand their services and overhaul their staffing protocols, while another might be more concerned with reducing their budget and launching new marketing campaigns. Underneath these broad objectives, however, some key main tasks exist across most dermatology clinics.

The typical daily responsibilities of a dermatology clinic manager may include:

  • Responding to patient and staff needs
  • Developing and monitoring an annual budget
  • Designing and implementing marketing plans
  • Maintaining public relations and referral partnerships
  • Hiring, managing, and evaluating a clinic’s staff
  • Performing on-going evaluations of a clinic’s provided services
  • Identifying opportunities to to enhance or fulfill a clinic’s overall strategic plan
  • Ensuring a clinic’s compliance with the standards set by licensing, accrediting, and regulatory agencies

The typical responsibilities listed above, as well as any broad objectives specific to a particular dermatology clinic, are in service of providing top quality care in an efficient, profitable, and compliant manner. To do that is no simple feat, and requires a dermatology clinic manager to juggle numerous knowledge sets at once.

Required Skills & Knowledge of Dermatology Clinic Managers

Most dermatology clinics require their managers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in an area related to business management or healthcare administration. These degree programs provide graduates with a basic understanding of finance, accounting, and leadership principles, but many dermatology clinic managers choose to further their education by completing a master’s in healthcare administration. While it’s not a requirement for every dermatology clinic management position, an MHA provides graduates with the depth and nuance necessary to make tough managerial decisions within the unique setting of the healthcare landscape.

Certain technical skills are mandatory for dermatology clinic managers. They must understand billing requirements, regulatory compliance, computer systems, and human resources processes. Outside of their rote learning, experienced dermatology clinic managers will need to be adaptive, compassionate leaders. Shrewd business management sense is a given, but applying it to the personal and life-changing services of a dermatology clinic requires poise, tact, and communication.

Certification for Dermatology Clinic Managers

While it’s not a requirement to practice, some dermatology clinic managers choose to pursue professional certification to demonstrate their commitment to continuing education and their mastery of the industry’s best practices.

One such option for dermatology clinic managers is the certified medical office manager (CMOM) designation, offered through the Practice Management Institute (PMI). Although not specifically tailored to the niche of dermatology clinic management, it does cover the fundamentals of managing a compliant, profitable, and productive medical office.

In order to be eligible, applicants will need at least one year of experience working in a medical practice. The qualifying exam covers practice management, personnel management, financial management, compliance requirements, and the managed care delivery system. Exam fees are $299, or, when packaged with an instructor-led training curriculum, $999 in total.

Another certification option is the certified medical manager (CMM) designation, offered through the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM).

Eligible applicants will have two years of healthcare experience and at least 12 college credits in healthcare or business management. Once deemed eligible, candidates must pass a 200-question, three-hour exam that covers everything from revenue management to practice marketing. Exam fees are $385 for PAHCOM members, and $770 for non-members. CMM-holders will need to recertify every two years by completing 24 hours of continuing education.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging issues in healthcare administration and public health, with a particular focus on progressive policies that empower communities and reduce health disparities. His work centers around detailed interviews with researchers, professors, and practitioners, as well as with subject matter experts from professional associations such as the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHCA).

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