Medical office assistants are heavily involved in the effective, efficient administration of the medical office. Like any other administrative career role, a medical office assistant will certainly need to be able to manipulate the productivity software tools in use in office environments around the world. If you don’t know what a productivity suite is, it is a group of software programs (typically marketed as a package by software companies) that are used for such things as written document creation, spreadsheets, presentation slide design tools, email, calendar management and more. If you’ve used a computer at all, you’re probably already familiar with the Microsoft Office productivity suite which comes installed on the vast majority of computers in the world. Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and other tools in the Microsoft suite are standard tools used by office administrators and medical office assistants to produce, maintain and store all manner of documents created in the office environment. What you’re probably not aware of however, is that there are competitive productivity suites that are giving Microsoft Office a run for its money. Enter Google which has fielded its own suite, very much analogous to Microsoft Office. Google Docs is a word processor like MS Word. Google Sheets is the equivalent to Excel for spreadsheets. Google Present is their version of Powerpoint. And of course, Gmail and Google calendar can easily replace Microsoft Outlook. Generally speaking, if you’re proficient in manipulating the Microsoft tools, it would be an easy transition to use the Google suite which largely uses the same commands and functionality. One of the best advantages of Google’s tools however, is the fact that it is cloud-based, meaning it is accessible via internet browser connection as opposed to being software you have to install on your local machine (like Microsoft Office Suite). The cloud accessibility is also very good for collaboration between users in the same office or in offices anywhere in the world. If you’re a medical office assistant in a large healthcare group with offices all across the state or country, the Google suite in the cloud is an exceptional productivity tool. Having been overtaken by Google’s dominance in the cloud, Microsoft recently released Microsoft 365 which is their cloud-based version of the productivity suite that attempts to offer the same level of collaborative capability as Google. It mostly succeeds in this regard with one small but important distinction. Whereas Google’s tools are free to the home-based user, Microsoft’s require a minimum $10 monthly subscription to use. Ultimately though, you probably won’t be the person deciding which productivity suite to use as the medical office assistant. It will likely have been selected before you get to the job. That said, a good medical office assistant brings to his/her position, sufficient knowledge of all the administrative tools in wide use out in the business world. How proficient are you? Be sure to stay updated with our blog, and check out our programs at the Allen School of Health Sciences.