A practice administrator is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations at a medical facility such as physician’s and dental offices or veterinary clinics. The administrator works with the firm's medical practitioners including the doctors and nurses to develop a business plan for the practice. Administrators are normally responsible for managing the budget, handling matters related to staffing and negotiating contracts with business partners.
Typically, a practice administrator must have a college degree in business administration or management. In some countries, anyone involved in managing a medical practice must also have completed college degree in medicine or related topic. Many administrators are experienced physicians or medical practitioners who decide to move into management roles after gaining several years of hands-on experience. Therefore, employers normally require administrators to have both prior medical related experience and certain academic credentials.
The administrator has to ensure that the practice is adequately staffed. This entails recruiting sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical practitioners to handle the needs of the patients. Additionally, the administrator must hire non-medical employees such as receptionists, telephone clerks and billing specialists. In some instances, departmental managers who report to the practice administrator are responsible for conducting interviews with new recruits but in most instances, the administrator controls the overall staffing budget.
Like any business, a medical practice must attract new clients if it is to remain profitable. The practice administrator decides how much money should be set aside for advertising and where advertisements for the practice should be placed. In many communities, practice administrators become involved in community groups during which business relationships with other business managers can be forged.
Aside from promoting the business, the administrator has to negotiate contracts with medical supply companies and vendors. Pharmaceutical companies often market new drugs to medical facilities and the administrator usually consults the practice's medical practitioners before deciding which drugs and services to acquire from these firms. In addition to medical equipment and supplies, the administrator also has to negotiate contracts to purchase paper, communication systems, computer software and other types of equipment that practice employees use on a daily basis.
The practice administrator is responsible for handling interpersonal disputes involving staff, and customer service issues. When conflicts arise, the administrator normally has the authority to take punitive action against employees and to offer rebates or refunds to dissatisfied clients. Some practices are operated by major medical companies, in which case successful practice administrators are sometimes promoted into regional executive or director roles.