Guide to Distance Learning: Health Unit Secretary Career Profile

Page content

From Paper to Electronic File Storage

In the past, medical secretary courses centered on typing speed, the use of filing systems, manual coding and also cross referencing. With the advent of computerized record keeping, on-campus and distance learning health unit secretary classes serve to prepare the worker for a largely digital workplace with its own set of rules and also prerequisites. As outlined in the article “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Medical Records & How to Switch From Using Paper” by Rhonlynn, this form of record keeping is still largely evolving and the skilled secretary must have the computer knowledge to keep up with any changes.

From Medical Secretary to Health Unit Secretary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical secretaries traditionally transcribe dictation, put together reports, bill, organize lab correspondence and take charge of the file room. Even as employment for secretaries overall is expected to rise by nine percent between 2006 and 2016, the role of the medical secretary is shifting in some instances to that of health unit secretary.

As outlined by Mt. Hood’s faculty adviser for the medical office specialist program, a unit secretary is quickly becoming the center of the communications wheel within the hospital setting. As such, the professional must be on top of her game with respect to medical terminology and transcription, professional relationships between departments and come in ready to hit the ground running.

While in the past there was a good bit of on the job training, this perk is quickly going by the wayside. What sets apart the training courses for unit secretaries from basic medical secretaries is the ability to understand and participate in hospital administrative procedures on an intricate level.

Online Learning Avenues

American Intercontinental University – Associate of Arts in Business Administration

This degree comes with an emphasis in health care administration. It focuses not only on business classes but also on medical office procedures, medical records and also medical terminology. AIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The program consists of 90 credits and costs a total of about $22,500.

We Care Online Classes – Unit Coordinator Course

For the student with experience in the medical field and perhaps already a degree, the unit coordinator course may be an inexpensive way of taking a non-accredited set of classes that put an edge on the resume. At a cost of $312.50, 45 hours of instructions prepare the candidate for taking the certification exam offered by the National Association of Health Unit Clerks (NAHUC).

Pursuing Distance Learning: Health Unit Secretary Outlook

As mentioned previously, the role of the medical secretary is changing. Automation of medical offices is still in its infancy, and with the anticipated changes in the American health care system, it is hard to predict what systems the overwhelming majority of hospitals will settle on. This career requires a willingness to continue learning and staying on the cutting edge of software developments and application changes.