In this day of cyberattacks and stolen identities, it is imperative to guard personal information. For medical billers and coders, it goes a step beyond: They also must follow a strong standard of ethics while protecting patient and client information.

It’s not always that easy, and sometimes the lines are blurred. Regulations regarding licensing and certification in the healthcare industry require that everyone employed in the field has the proper training and qualifications. In addition, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 was passed to ensure the privacy and security of patients’ healthcare information. However, healthcare professionals are tasked with enforcing HIPAA – and sometimes, through human error or breaches, information gets out or is misused. It’s the misuse that must be looked at from an ethical standpoint.

Medical billers and coders keep doctors and nurses on track and organized, and record in clear terms a patient’s medical history. One slip-up with an improper code could mean big trouble for a patient. It could result in the wrong treatment (imagine mistakenly coding a lymphoma, cancer, for a lipoma, a benign fatty tumor). Occasionally, billers and coders are asked to make intentional slip-ups to optimize revenue for the medical facility at the expense of actual documentation. They may be under pressure to “upcode” or “unbundle” procedures to extract more reimbursement from patients or insurance companies. This is just one glaring example of unethical behavior that can present itself in healthcare.

The American Medical Association (AMA) published Principles of Medical Ethics as a general guideline for healthcare professionals to follow. If medical billers and coders are faced with potentially unethical situations, they can refer to the AMA’s guide, and they can keep these things in mind:

  • Maintain confidentiality. Don’t access unnecessary patient information or share it with anyone other than the physician, patient or insurance company. Password-protect your computer at work, and keep the screen faced away from others who could peek at the information. Also, keep your conversations about patients as quiet as possible so that those who shouldn’t hear, can’t hear.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest. Even if a good friend or relative is being treated at your facility, you need to stay neutral and not give them preferential treatment. You should remain neutral when performing your duties.
  • Be honest above all. Don’t code for procedures that were not provided or unbundle charges so as to get more compensation for the company. If you’re being pressured to do something that you know is not right, say something to your employer; don’t shrug it off. If you notice anything questionable, bring it up. For example, some people who are addicted to certain prescription medicines will go from doctor to doctor to obtain an Rx. If you think you’ve encountered such a patient, bring it up to the doctor.
  • Keep patients’ rights at the forefront. Patients have a right to be treated with dignity, and you have an obligation to be kind and diplomatic. If you have to phone a patient with information, choose your words carefully – especially if you must leave a voicemail that could be heard by someone else.
  • Stand your ground and maintain your personal integrity. Be calm and collected, and do what you know is right. Don’t be pressured into doing something that you know violates the law or is unethical.
  • Pay attention to detail. When you’re coding, make sure that your work is accurate. Keep up with the latest information on billing and coding issues. Since your job is to abstract billable procedures from medical records, they must all be documented. If it’s just briefly mentioned and not noted by the doctor as having been done, find out for sure. In other words, resist the temptation to submit codes that are only implied and not documented. Also, watch for discrepancies in medical records.
  • Be mindful of your behavior. If you’re a freelance biller or coder working for multiple facilities, keep each one’s policies and practices confidential.
  • Use your manager as a resource. If you’re not sure about a code, or if you think a colleague has intentionally misused a code, talk to your boss. Never condone or pardon those who intentionally commit deceptive acts.
  • Don’t exploit relationships with patients, clients, employees or coworkers for personal gain.

Medical coding and billing are the heart of healthcare industry. As the U.S. population rapidly ages, people usually require more medical care. Medical coders and billers are needed to handle insurance and patient claims.  MTI College offers a Medical Billing and Coding Professional Diploma Program that can prepare you to enter this in-demand field. You could be working alongside doctors and nurses in a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, nursing home or other medical facility, using your skills to provide much-needed assistance.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for medical records and health information technicians (billers and coders) is growing much faster than the average for other occupations. Because more people have access to health insurance these days, claims on behalf of patients are going to increase. If you have a medical billing job, you will be the one to submit the bills for insurance reimbursement. 

Does this sound like a job you would enjoy? Contact MTI College Sacramento today to jump-start your medical billing or coding career.

Sources:

http://www.mb-guide.org/medical-billing-ethics.html

http://journal.ahima.org/2011/04/02/ethical-dilemmas/

https://www.aapc.com/memberarea/forums/12603-deal-unethical-billing-issues.html

http://www.medicalbillersandcoders.com/pressrelease_articles.aspx?ArticleId=87

http://www.hcpro.com/HOM-236942-5728/know-your-ethical-obligations-regarding-coding-and-documentation

http://work.chron.com/code-ethics-medical-coding-billing-specialists-3099.html

http://www.mb-guide.org/medical-billing-ethics.html

http://www.dummies.com/careers/medical-careers/medical-billing-coding/ethics-are-critical-to-the-billing-and-coding-profession/

https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/default/files/media-browser/principles-of-medical-ethics.pdf

Medical billers and coders are crucial to the healthcare industry. They keep doctors and nurses on track and organized by carefully documenting patient procedures and treatments. In addition, they submit bills to insurance companies, which then pay claims. When a biller or coder makes a mistake, it can delay the claims process, cause a loss of revenue and/or affect a patient’s care.

It’s inevitable that errors occur – especially when dealing with the thousands of codes a medical biller or coder is expected to know. The World Health Organization created the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), which universally classifies and codes all diagnoses, symptoms and medical procedures. The ICD-10 codes that you, as a medical coder, use make it easy to share and compare patient medical information among various hospitals, regions and providers. They also ensure that the procedure that is billed makes sense with the diagnosis. There is a lot of information to know.

Add CPT® codes, the five-character Current Procedural Terminology codes that are the U.S. standard for the way medical professionals document and report medical, surgical, laboratory, radiology, anesthesiology and E/M (evaluation and management) services, to the equation, and the coder’s job becomes even more complex, with a greater chance for making mistakes.

Knowing the more common problems with coding and billing, and understanding how to avoid them, is key to efficiency in the job.

Here are a few of the more common problems faced by medical billers and coders:

Poor or missing documentation

Sometimes a provider doesn’t give enough information about a procedure, leaves important items out or enters information that is illegible. Unless the coder or biller is able to consult directly with the provider and clarify the situation, a claim request may be submitted incorrectly.

Rejected or denied claims

If a claim request has been submitted incorrectly, resulting in errors found before it is processed, the insurance company will reject the claim and not pay the bill as written. It’s then sent back with an explanation, and the process begins again. In another scenario, a claim may be denied if the payer determines the procedure or charge is not payable. Perhaps it violates the payer-patient contract (i.e., using an out-of-network provider) or is a high-tier prescription that is not covered. A denied claim can be appealed, but such an appeal takes time and can be expensive.

Under- or upcoding

These errors are often intentional and considered to be fraudulent. Under-coding involves reporting less-expensive medical services than the ones that were actually performed. Over-coding is the opposite, and it is a means for trying to receive higher reimbursement than a provider is entitled to.

Unbundling

This, too, is intentional and fraudulent. It’s similar to upcoding, in that it involves charging procedures separately so that the provider receives a greater payout.

Simple errors

Medical billing and coding require attention to detail, but sometimes negligence causes clerical errors with:

  • Patient data (wrong name, date of birth, insurance company)
  • Provider details (incorrect address, name, contact information)
  • Insurance information (wrong policy number, address)
  • Confusing codes (too few or too many digits, wrong modifiers, place of service discrepancies)
  • Mismatched codes (entering ICD-10 codes with CPT or vice versa)
  • Omitting procedural codes
  • Duplicate billing (submitting claims without checking to see if the service had already been paid or reported)

Although these errors are fairly common, they can be expensive. According to Healthcare Business and Technology, doctors lose $125 billion each year because of poor medical billing systems and errors. Most errors can be avoided if the medical coder or biller takes a few simple steps:

  • Stay current and on top of code changes. ICD-10 and CPT code manuals are updated annually. Also, if you’re a member of American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), you are required to complete education credits every two years to help you remain current.
  • Be diligent and check your work. Make sure you didn’t add an extra digit or report an incorrect code. Also, verify patient, provider and insurance information.
  • Communicate any concerns or questions so that you can note correct information. Doctors sometimes take hasty notes that may be difficult to read. If you’re unsure about a procedure or treatment, ask.
  • Follow through to make sure that information was submitted and that claims were paid correctly and in a timely fashion. If a claim is rejected or denied, make sure that the payer included an explanation of benefits (EOB).

Partially because of a rapidly aging U.S. population, healthcare jobs are in demand because as people age, they usually need more medical care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for medical records and health information technicians (billers and coders) is growing much faster than the average for other occupations because people in these jobs are the ones who handle insurance and patient claims.

MTI College offers a Medical Billing and Coding Professional Diploma Program that can prepare you to enter this in-demand field. When you study at MTI College, you train for both positions. Upon graduation from the program, you could be working alongside doctors and nurses in a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, nursing home or other medical facility, using your skills to provide much-needed assistance.

MTI College’s Medical Billing and Coding Training Program gives you the background you need to enter the exciting, busy world of healthcare. Contact MTI College Sacramento today to jump-start your career.

Sources:

https://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/common-problems-coding/

https://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/potential-billing-problems-returned-claims/

http://www.healthcarebusinesstech.com/medical-billing/

http://schoolsmedicalbilling.org/ethical-issues-concern-medical-billing-coding/

http://www.providersedge.com/ehdocs/ehr_articles/America-s_Hidden_Healthcare_Crisis.pdf

Summer’s coming, and that’s a great time to update your hair with a new cut, color or style. If you’ve been thinking about doing something to change your look, but you aren’t sure what, check out these hair trends for the summer of 2018.


New cuts and styles to watch out for

There really are no rules anymore when it comes to hairstyles and cuts, but we’ll be seeing more of some looks than others this summer.

  • The blunt chin-length bob is going to be popular this summer. Rather than the layered bob of the past, this one is straight cut – quite possibly with choppy bangs. The summer will also see shorter, choppier cuts.
  • Bangs will be front and center with stylists this season. From “curtain fringe” to textured or flyaway, bangs will frame faces all over the country.
  • Center-parted natural curls will be both stylish and easy this summer, so put your curl relaxer aside and let the ringlets cascade as they may.
  • Disheveled, texturized locks will give a sexy bedhead look that shows off a carefree, summery attitude. Even if you have flyaway hairs, embrace them because they’re styling.
  • Ponytails in all shapes and forms will make summer hair care effortless. Make a loop, double-bind them or “bandage” them with a wrap-around or two of cloth for a 2018 look.
  • Schoolgirl-style hair is coming back for those who prefer a natural, unassuming look. Think long, fishtail braids and pulled-back hair secured with pins.
  • Buns offer easy up-do styling, but the way you swirl them will be what makes them trendy. Try a croissant bun for a half-up, half-down hairdo, or turn your braids into a manicured bun. Even if you have shorter hair, you can do a “baby” bun at the nape of your neck.
  • Beachy waves will continue to be popular for summer, but they may also appear loose and tousled if you use a lot of product for a “just out of the water” appearance.
  • Adornments for your hair may be the biggest trend of the summer. Barrettes are back, and so are wide headbands, scrunchies and hair ribbons. You’re likely to see crystal bangles tied to hair ends and rings or beads placed throughout to accessorize long locks.

Every color of, under or around the rainbow

Changing your hair color may be the easiest way to showcase your individuality or change your look. This summer, you’ll see a variety of colors and combinations of color.

  • Blonde is no longer a single color. New variations include a cool ash blonde that’s just deeper than gray, snow white, blonde-beige, margarine blonde, lightly toasted and rose gold.
  • Coffee colorings bring warmth and richness to brunette shades. Think dark chocolate, carob, subtle ombre, mocha latte and chestnut hues.
  • Reds are vibrant and flaming, as well as shimmering and coppery, this year. Among the trendier shades, fire-engine red and carrot orange are gaining in popularity. However, If you’re more traditional, you may prefer autumn-colored hair that has hints of pumpkin, russet, bronze, copper and gold. One popular copper-red and bronze-brown blend has been labeled “ronze.”
  • Metallics, like buttered rose – metallic pink over blonde – and silver are gaining in popularity.
  • Millennial pink – and anything pink, really – is trendy for hair. Watch for colors that range from pastels to bubblegum and hot pink.
    Peanut butter and jelly hair is real. Imagine golden brown with hues of purple throughout that look just like peanut butter and grape jelly.
  • Succulent is a multi-toned, varied-intensity color combo that resembles something you might see on a snorkeling expedition. It’s a mélange of purple, magenta, blue, turquoise and sea green.
  • Highlighting offers blends of colors, and the style you use can give different effects. A color bleed has a strong root color with perhaps a brighter color at the ends. It sort of looks like you are growing out your color. A chocolate and rose-gold combination, and amethyst roots over platinum blonde, are both considered trendy types of highlights.
  • Color melting produces a natural light-reflecting look when complementary tones seem to blend or melt together. Remember ombre with the dark on top and light on the bottom? This is much more subtle, so you don’t see where one color ends and another begins.
  • Ecaille uses three or more shades of caramel, golden blonde, honey blonde and chestnut enhanced with shine that’s worked through hair to create more movement that’s especially good for those with thin hair. It’s easier to keep up and doesn’t have to be touched up as frequently.
  • Balayage is hand-painted highlights (without foils) that add dimension and give a more graduated, natural appearance with less-noticeable hair regrowth lines.

Do you enjoy changing your hair color with the season, or styling your friends’ hair? Perhaps a career in cosmetology is in your future. MTI College’s Paul Mitchell The School helps you develop the beauty and cosmetology skills you need for a rewarding career. Class size is small, and the one-on-one attention you receive from your instructors – professional hairstylists and estheticians – helps you succeed. Register for the cosmetology program at  MTI College today.

Sources:

  • https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/hair/g3027/best-hair-color-trends/
  • https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/beauty-trends/g12451844/spring-summer-2018-hair-makeup-trends/
  • https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/beauty-hair/beauty-trends/g14012264/hair-trends/
  • https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/hair/g38265/hair-trends-spring-summer-2018/
  • https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/hair/articles/g32408/hairstyle-trends-for-2018/
  • https://www.refinery29.com/hair-color-ideas-2018?bucketed=true&bucketing_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
  • https://www.refinery29.com/2018-hair-ideas-trends
  • http://www.womanandhome.com/beauty/2018-hair-trends-haircuts-colours-205501/
  • http://www.holleewoodhair.com/2015/11/30/ecaille-hair/
  • https://www.buzzfeed.com/augustafalletta/melted-hair-color?utm_term=.kjoEk20Xm#.ueZgQoYJd

Did you know that your skin is the largest and fastest-growing organ in your body? It covers and protects you 24/7.  With that in mind, it only makes sense that you would want to take very good care of it. Cosmetology products on the market are available to help you with your skin care program and skin health, but it’s important to know how to use them properly for optimum results. First, though, you need to understand your skin.

Skin’s layers and structure

The three layers of the skin cover your body, protecting your internal organs, keeping harmful bacteria out and giving you your sense of touch. The outer layer – the epidermis – is the barrier layer, but it also contains cells known as melanocytes. They contain melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. Below the epidermis is the dermis. Made up of elastin and collagen, it contains hair follicles, sweat glands and sebaceous glands. The deepest layer is the subcutis, where fat is deposited and stored as energy and insulation. Each layer has its own function, from regulating body temperature to retaining moisture and elasticity to removing toxins and producing Vitamin D.

Skin texture

Many of us envy those with “perfect” skin – soft, smooth and dewy – and long to make our problem skin look better. Poor skin texture is a problem for many and appears as rough skin or patches of rough skin. This may be dry, flaky skin on the face, sagging jowls or dark spots caused by sun damage. To improve the skin’s texture, you need to develop and consistently follow a proper skin care regime.

Developing a skincare regimen

Anyone can follow a plan for better skin care. How your skin looks is as much a result of skin care habits as heredity. The basic formula for a skin care regimen is very simple: cleanse, tone and moisturize. The goal of your skin care program is to make your skin function at its best. It won’t happen overnight; it takes time to reap the benefits and notice the effects – generally six weeks of following the plan consistently. Here’s the simple plan toward better skin care:

  • Cleanse (to clear the skin of debris and excess oils)
    The most essential part of your skincare program: wash your face twice a day with a cleanser that doesn’t strip away the healthy oils. Use it like a professional, concentrating it in the areas where you have the most pores (often around your nose). Never use soap to wash your face, and look for a cleanser made for your skin type:Oily/acne-prone skin: Choose a foaming cleanser
    Dry/eczema-prone skin: Choose a cream or lotion cleanser
    Mature skin: Choose a butter-like salve
    All skin types: Choose anything with micellar water because it removes debris and oil
  • Tone (to balance the skin)
    Think of a toner as a supplement to wipe away the residue. Look for products with alpha and beta hydroxyl acids, which remove dead skin cells; hyaluronic acid, which boosts hydration and seals in dewiness; rose water and green tea, which calm irritated skin; and/or Vitamins E and C,which attack free radicals. Always apply with clean hands and after cleansing your face.
  • Moisturize (to hydrate the skin)
    When you moisturize, you’re hydrating and softening your skin by preventing water loss. Use a moisturizer year round, twice a day. In the morning, your moisturizer – your day cream – should protect your skin from environmental hazards and toxins that come through the air. At night, your moisturizer has a different job: to repair damage. Remember to apply moisturizer when your skin is damp so that it is easily absorbed, and always use one that has a built-in broad-spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

Getting the most from your cosmetology products

It’s more in how you use your products than which ones you use. There is an order of application that you should follow, and it usually goes by consistency– going from the thinnest products to the thickest. Normally, whatever you put on first penetrates the best. If you’re using two products to treat two different problems, apply one to bare skin the morning and save the other until nighttime. The exception to the consistency rule is to apply retinoid creams after others because they could irritate sensitive skin if applied first. Also, you want to apply your sunscreen – the most important product you will use – last.

Best skin care tips

Consistency in following your skin care program is essential to success. Here are some other tips that can help you care for your skin and keep it looking bright and healthy.

  • Don’t expect a single miracle ingredient or product.
  • Exfoliate your skin gently at least three times a week with an acid-based exfoliant (glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid).
  • Apply sunscreen in dots and wear it every time you go outside, regardless of the season.
  • Avoid products with harsh or irritating ingredients, and pay attention to how your skin reacts to products.
  • Apply serum while your face is damp.
  • Remember that your morning routine is about protection, and the evening routine is about repair.
  • Choose products that are recommended for your skin type.
  • Avoid toners with alcohol 40 or denatured alcohol.
  • Adjust your skin care regiment seasonally.
  • Use retinoid products at night to keep your skin more youthful.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Learn more about health and beauty at MTI College

If beauty and cosmetology products have always interested you, why not make it a career? Consider studying cosmetology at MTI College’s Paul Mitchell Beauty, Cosmetology and Barbering School. You will learn professional skills in hair, skin and nail care by working hands-on in the school’s clinic classroom. Class sizes are limited, so you will receive one-on-one attention from your instructors. All of them are professional hairstylists and beauty professionals who bring their real-world expertise into the classroom.

Call today and secure your place in the next class at Paul Mitchell the School.

It’s a degree, for people who don’t know what they want to do. You’ll never climb the ladder if you study business administration. Your background won’t impress hiring managers. These are a few of the more common misconceptions about business administration. The truth is that pursuing a business administration program can open doors in many fields.

Let’s bust some of those misconceptions.

Business administration is boring. Yes, you do have to learn quite a few basic principles about running a business successfully. However, the learning process is filled with information about many business sectors – human resources, finance, marketing, accounting, customer service and management – and gives you skills you can carry with you throughout your career.

You’ll never advance from an entry-level position. If you hear that you’ll only be an office clerk or receptionist, that is not correct. With a degree in business administration, you may even bypass those positions because you will have a broad scope of business knowledge behind you. Although many who are senior-level business admins have advanced degrees, many have also worked their way up the ladder. When you study business administration, you may boost yourself up through the ranks because you:

  • Increase your self-confidence by developing interpersonal skills to help you deal with people
  • Improve your communication and listening skills by learning to write reports, letters and emails; deliver presentations; and negotiate with customers and colleagues
  • Become an involved team player working in a collaborative environment
  • Learn to provide excellent customer service by understanding your company’s services and how to best present them to your customers and satisfy their needs
  • Solve problems and make decisions that can help your company grow and profit
  • Exert your creativity by presenting new ideas and making innovations that make an impact

Business administration is not an “in-demand” career.  According to O*NET Online, jobs in business administration are projected to grow faster than average through 2026. Your education will provide familiarity with human resources and business management, marketing, finance and accounting, and the legal environment of modern business. You can apply your knowledge in nearly every industry.

It’s only appropriate for someone who wants to work for a corporation. This is also not true. Although it prepares you to work within a corporation, you can also work in government, retail, advertising, health care, market research, nonprofit, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, service firms and hospitality. Your skills are transferable. Although you may be a “generalist” when you graduate, you can soon become a “specialist” because of the versatility your education provides. You may get a first job in a hospital, for example, and decide that you want to focus on business admin possibilities in health care.

Once you start your business administration program, you must have a career plan. You may know exactly what you want to do once you graduate, but this program is actually ideal for someone who doesn’t really have specific career ambitions. As you study, you may find that you prefer human resources to finance, or marketing to management. You have the opportunity to explore and develop your passion.

 Figure that you’ll be in a traditional 9-to-5 job. Some companies still prefer this type of arrangement, but the trend in today’s workplace is toward the untraditional, with flexible hours, job sharing, telecommuting and even shortened workdays. Depending on where you work, you may have options.

Career options in business administration are limited. Getting the education is just the start. There are so many different paths you could choose. You could become an accounting technician, an airline customer service agent, a facility manager, a restaurant manager, human resources administrator, special events coordinator, account manager, property manager, credit analyst, marketing director and more.

It’s hard to find a job in business administration. Because your education gives you knowledge of so many components of business, your job search can cross multiple boundaries and fields. You will have a broad set of transferable skills. If you are studying an MTI College business program and are in good standing, you can take advantage of free job placement assistance through MTI College’s Career Services Department.

You must be good with numbers and math. Although part of running a business involves accounting and financial skills, you are not limited to those fields as a business administrator. Organizational skills and attention to detail – keeping track of the numbers – are more important than knowing the math.

Where to get an education in business administration

If you think the versatility of a business administration career might be for you, consider studying at MTI College Sacramento. You have a choice of studying one of two business administration programs:

  • Business Administration (associate degree program) that provides you with business training in general administrative skills and the principles of business management
  • Administrative Office Professional (diploma program) that, in as little as nine months, teaches you the skills you need for an entry-level business support position as a secretary, an administrative assistant or an executive assistant

When you have an opportunity to get hands-on experience, you learn better. That’s one of MTI’s signature training methods. Since your instructors have worked in business, they share their experiences with you and put you into real-world scenarios that you may well be faced with once you enter the business workplace.

With both program options, MTI prepares you with the hands-on training and skills you need to confidently work in business. The skills you earn are easily adaptable to any type of business, and they provide a foundation for job growth.

There’s no time like the present to begin your business administration career training. Contact MTI today.

A company’s business administrator plays a crucial role in ensuring its efficient operation. Regardless of title – CEO, general manager, operations manager or something else – the one who assumes the role of business administrator should be a mentor and motivator with many responsibilities. Perhaps the most important duty is making decisions that affect the organization, its employees and its stakeholders.

Skills required for a business administrator

Because a business administrator needs to “hold things together” in the company, he or she will face challenges throughout his or her tenure. Graduating from a good business administration program, such as the one at MTI College in Sacramento, can help prepare you for those challenges. However, to manage the needs of the organization, the business administrator also needs to be particularly skilled in:

  • Communicating business activities and status with management and between management and employees
  • Planning and organizing procedures and policies
  • Critical thinking and knowing how to make decisions that will affect many
  • Concepting ideas and strategies to help keep the company on track and in the black
  • Negotiating to improve the organization
  • Being part of a team to achieve goals
  • Using technology to update and manage data, plans and procedures

Of those skills, critical thinking is most important to a key area of the business administrator’s job: decision-making.

Steps to making decisions

Herbert Simon – Nobel Prize-winning American political scientist, economist, sociologist and psychologist – wrote in Administrative Behavior: a Study in Decision Making Processes in Administrative Organizations that decision-making is the “heart” of business administration. He believed that the logic and the psychology of human choice determine administrative theory, and the duty of the business administrator is to design an environment that allows the approach to decision-making to be as rational as possible. This is accomplished by following these general steps to making decisions:

  • Recognize the problem or opportunity and then address it.
  • Gather information to make an informed decision.
  • Identify other possibilities by analyzing various solutions.
  • Weigh the pros and cons, and choose the option that offers the greatest potential for success.
  • Choose from among the alternatives, but understand the risks that come with each.
  • Take action by creating a plan to implement your decision; know which resources are required and get others involved.
  • Review the decision and evaluate it for effectiveness; determine how you can improve it for the next time.

Although the steps in making decisions are similar, the approach to decision-making can differ.

Reactive decision-making

Sometimes unexpected things happen, and the business administrator – the decision maker – is put on the spot to solve the problem; he or she “reacts” to the situation. An example could be a burglary at the office, the sudden resignations of several key players or a natural disaster. When companies make reactive decisions that are not well thought out, they can be unwise, putting the company behind its competition. An administrator who chronically makes decisions reactively may not have the experience and adaptability to plan ahead and take charge.

Proactive decision-making

A business administrator who proactively makes decisions can actually relieve stress and maintain control. By being proactive, a business administrator can anticipate problems and plan ahead. He or she develops habits that help advance the company’s objectives and respond to unexpected situations. For example, if the company has an emergency escape plan that has been communicated and practiced among employees, everyone will know what to do if and when the time comes. Similarly, if there’s a backup plan in place for scheduled employee absences, it can be put in place in the event of resignations or downsizing. By planning ahead – being proactive – the company, through its business administrator, can stay ahead of potential problems and issues, and focus on the long-term goals.

Strategic decision-making

Creating a plan based on the company’s mission or long-term goals and visions is strategic decision-making. When the “big picture” is in the foreground, it’s much easier to align shorter-term goals so that they ultimately impact the long-term mission. Each of these is a step toward the company’s goals, which guide the strategic decisions and provide a quantifiable assessment of progress.

Business administrators use strategic decision-making to plan for their company’s future, keeping in mind the impact potential decisions will have on the company, its competition and its market. They need to consider:

  • Long-term company growth
    The administrator and management need to determine how much growth they want to achieve, how they want to get there and how to handle scenarios that are likely to come up as the company grows.
  • Risk
    No one can know exactly what the future holds, but administrators must anticipate change and the risks associated with it. Usually, the changes are significant, such as having to introduce a new manufacturing system or needing to modify company culture because of excessive employee turnover.
  • Analysis
    By analyzing the company’s position in the market and understanding its strengths and weaknesses, the business administrator can plan appropriate responses to remedy any problems and improve market share.
  • Implementation
    Administrators need to map out their plans and figure out what resources and staff to use to reach their goals.

MTI College

Getting an associate degree in business administration from MTI College is an important first step to put you on the path to a versatile career in marketing, human relations, management, economics or accounting. MTI’s thorough training is a foundation in general business administrative skills and the principles of business management – that you can build on and grow with.

There’s no time like the present to begin your business administration training. Contact MTI today to get on the road to an exciting career.

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