Orthopedic Clinic Managers & Administrators

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The field of orthopedics deals with corrections of deformities, injuries, or conditions of the skeletal and muscular structures. Private orthopedic practices rely on a series of complex standard operating procedures (SOPs), HR policies, and regulatory frameworks to keep their businesses above-board. This is where the orthopedic clinic manager comes in. Individuals in this role are also sometimes called orthopedic office managers, practice managers, clinic supervisors, or operations managers.

An orthopedic clinic manager is the person who coordinates all of the administrative, day-to-day needs of the office. They inform practice partners, employees, and investors on how the clinic is keeping up with changes in the healthcare field. They secure cutting-edge surgical and operational technologies and they may run the HR department. They are adept at navigating the social complexities of high-profile, strong personalities and the ways in which these personalities conduct their work, in addition to possessing a comprehensive and solution-oriented view of personnel and their working relationships.

Keep reading to learn all about how these skilled professionals help orthopedics clinics stay on top of their duties to patients; how clinic managers stay abreast of industry developments; and how creativity and critical thinking are used to optimize a working clinical space.

Responsibilities of an Orthopedic Clinic Manager

The daily responsibilities of an orthopedic clinic manager, practice manager, office manager, operations manager, or clinic supervisor involve the direction, operation, and supervision of all activities at an orthopedic clinic. Following strict quality guidelines in accordance with local, state, and federal policies is integral to an orthopedic clinic manager’s role.

The scope of a clinic manager’s responsibility includes the administration of operating budgets, material control, equipment control, resource distribution, management of the environment of care, management of human resources, mediation of personnel conflict, conflict resolution, and the maintenance of care delivery systems.

These healthcare professionals also:

  • Identify, evaluate, analyze, and modify their business’s SOPs to assure safe and transparent patient-focused operations
  • Organize orientations, staff meetings, safety announcements, policy changes, personnel changes, and general staff guidance
  • Communicate with and provide feedback to their staff, acting as both delegator and liaison when necessary
  • Bring the concerns of personnel to the attention of senior administration or staff members

It is expected that an orthopedic clinic manager be able to communicate clearly and with purpose, explaining expectations, desired results, and reasons for resource utilization in the office setting. They hold their entire team accountable to the practice’s standards by establishing codes of conduct that cannot be misinterpreted and by serving as a role model for all team members.

Clinic managers engage in a variety of team- and management-building activities which typically concern matters of capital expenses, strategic economic planning, strategic budgeting, and inspection (and occasional maintenance) of the facilities themselves. They exhibit development planning skills, analyze theories of expansion of service parameters based on patient or personnel needs, and handle matters of benefit planning and staff compensation.

Skills & Personality Traits of Orthopedic Clinic Managers

Some of the most common skills that are sought in a capable clinic manager include:

  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • The ability to lead and manage direct reports
  • The ability to lead ongoing and overlapping projects and direct several projects concurrently
  • The ability to work with multiple departments to achieve maximum compliance
  • An intermediate-to-extensive knowledge of basic statistical principles and methods
  • Extensive experience with data systems
  • General administrative skills
  • Exceptional communication skills, including professional-level writing and speaking talents
  • The ability to work independently

There are also some additional qualifications that employers seek in competent orthopedic clinic managers. It is common for three years of clinical, nursing, or general healthcare administration to be required, along with a demonstrated history of mature decision-making, proactive problem identification, and a thorough understanding of the principles of personnel management.

It is also important that orthopedic clinic managers be highly creative and resourceful, with an internal source of self-motivation that drives them to excel in each aspect of their work. As managers, these professionals maintain a constant air of professionalism, problem-solving, and critical thinking. It is essential that they stay composed in circumstances that may be time sensitive or qualify as true emergencies.

Clinic managers often find themselves connected to research activities and responsible for the identification, collection, integration, and analysis of data into predetermined clinical frameworks. Because orthopedic clinic managers work independently, it is crucial that prospective employees set good habits of self-direction and diligence in place.

Education, Experience & Certification of Orthopedic Clinic Managers

Orthopedic clinic managers are generally expected to have a minimum of two years’ medical or orthopedic clinic experience in that role or a related position. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or health services is a must, though additional clinical experience may be accepted in place of credentials by an employer. A perusal of job postings finds that a thorough understanding of modern clinical practices, orthopedics, and bone terminology is critical.

Obtaining certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders in practice management can solidify a commitment to the career, mastery of the required skills, and assurance that effective management means the implementation of leading orthopedic practices. After attaining this credential, the AAPC deems any recipient a Certified Physician Practice Manager or CCPM.

Another fantastic resource is the Orthopedic Clinic Association for anyone interested in growing their knowledge base about the field, for general information about team management, state and federal regulations, listings of organizations through which to pursue additional certifications, and all information related to orthopedics and orthopedic research.

How to Become an Orthopedic Clinic Manager or Administrator

Please note that this is only one possible pathway to becoming an orthopedic clinic manager.

Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or health services (four years).

Some aspiring orthopedic clinic managers and administrators begin by obtaining a BS degree in health services or healthcare administration from an accredited public or private university. Classes and subject foci include business, economics, medical history, business administration, administrative theory, health informatics, data analytics, management, human resources, physiology, anatomy, nursing, and more.

For example, Southern New Hampshire University offers an innovative online course of study centered around healthcare administration in the era of personalized medicine, giving students a leg up on solidifying the skills required for an office personnel or group supervisor in the 21st century. Earning a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or health services can certainly set students apart as hard working, ambitious managerial types.

In 2019, there are hundreds of education options for people interested in obtaining a college degree from home. Most major schools have made great strides in the last five years to expand the number of online degrees offered by their respective institutions.

Step 2: Gain work experience with a focus on administrative and managerial skill sets (at least two years).

Although a healthcare setting is ideal, this could be in any field or industry. What matters most is that your professional experience reflects a living, evolving system of supervisory skills and ways of thinking. Such experience primes professionals for careers that involve a good deal of social capital and the ability to manage diverse and talented teams. Gaining work experience with a focus on administrative and managerial skill sets signals to potential employers that you take the job very seriously.

Step 3: Gain CCPM certification through the AAPC (less than one year).

Achieving certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders as a Certified Physician Practice Manager, or CCPM, signifies the mastery of practice management skills and assurance that effective management translates to the implementation of leading orthopedic practices. While many employers do not require certification, the CCPM course of study can help prospective clinic managers stand out above the rest. With a wealth of specialized skills to be had, gaining CCPM certification through the AAPC can help to secure a position within a competitive, cutting-edge practice.

Step 4: Find a job as a clinical or medical group manager (timeline varies).

Since the medical field shows no sign of slowing growth, it can be expected that the need for orthopedic clinic managers will continue to rise. Given that nearly all modern job searching is done on the internet, there are many useful websites that list open positions for clinic orthopedic office managers, practice managers, clinic supervisors, or operations managers. Some of these sites include:

  • HealthECareers.com
  • NEJMACareerCenter.org
  • Medzilla.com
  • HealthcareJobSite.com
  • PracticeLink.com
  • ZipRecruiter.com
  • Indeed.com
  • LinkedIn.com
  • Glassdoor.com

Step 5: Complete a master’s degree (two years, optional).

While a master’s degree is not mandatory for orthopedic clinic managers, many employers prefer that candidates seeking roles in management have an advanced degree because such programs typically focus heavily on human resource theory, health informatics, data management, advanced healthcare administration, and other skills relevant to this specialized role.

For example, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers a hybridized learning degree in clinical management that can set up students to enter the workforce with a proverbial bag of managerial insights, analyses, and teachable skills. George Washington University also offers an exceptional master’s degree in health sciences (MSHS) with a focus on clinical operations and healthcare management.

Work Setting & Salary of Orthopedic Clinic Managers

Orthopedic clinic managers work in private practices, at research institutes, in clinical capacities at teaching hospitals, at group clinics, and in a wide variety of other professional environments.

Depending on credentialing, certification, and level of education, orthopedic clinic managers can expect to enter a field with lots of room for upward movement. New firms and practices are founded every day all across the world, while more traditional public clinics and practices will continue to require the services of talented group supervisors.

As a final note, while there is no reliable data available specific for managers of orthopedic clinics, PayScale (2019) the average practice manager’s salary at $59,301 annually, with significant room for growth for managers in possession of graduate degrees.

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