For CAs: Responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant

The Chiro.Org Blog

We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.

Enjoy Chapter 7 from Dr. Schafer’s best-selling book:

“The Chiropractic Assistant”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.

Chapter 7:   Responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant

Proper scheduling and planning help any office function smoothly with less possibility of omitting necessary actions. The doctor in charge will identify each assistant’s duties and functions and discuss her responsibility for the performance of each assigned task. During her initial orientation and training, these functions may be subdivided into procedural steps necessary.

Task plans and work schedules eliminate the confusion of whom should perform a specific duty. It eliminates the question, “What do I do next?” Work schedules based on good planning eliminate the need to work beyond expected hours, except for rare emergency situations. Keep in mind, however, that a plan is not a permanent thing. As conditions change, the doctor must revise schedules, duties, and responsibilities to reflect changes. Flexibility is a necessary qualification for a chiropractic assistant.

Patient handling and patient control are the two major factors determining the success or failure of any practice. As professional competence should be taken for granted, patient satisfaction makes the difference in success or failure. This one factor determines a high or low patient return and a high or low referral rate.

This chapter describes common duties of an administrative assistant. In both the professional and business world, however, specific job descriptions vary to meet the needs of management.


It is frequently stated that the doctor should not be required to do anything in his office that an assistant can do as well or better. Valuable clinical time would be wasted if the doctor had to answer routine telephone calls, make appointments, supervise patient flow, send out notices and reminders, type letters, make billings, file records, and attend to the various other duties necessary to administer and manage the business side of a practice. To be efficient in his profession, the doctor must delegate much authority and responsibility for many office details to his assistant(s) so that his time will be used optimally in doing that which he has been specially prepared—helping the sick to get well and helping the healthy stay well.

The extent of delegated administrative responsibility depends largely on the nature of the practice itself, the assistant’s experience and training, and the size of the administrative staff. In a small solo practice with one assistant, the assistant will be required to assume several small roles. In a large office with several assistants, the number of duties will be reduced, but their scope will be expanded for each assistant.

Review the complete Chapter (including sketches and Tables) at the ACAPress website