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December 21, 1984

My Ideal Office Assistant

Author Affiliations

Redwood City, Calif

JAMA. 1984;252(23):3296. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350230056037

Reliable office assistants are valuable assets in any practice. We look for a combination of qualities—dependability, efficiency, and a pleasant manner—hoping that the nice features outweigh any disadvantages, without too many compromises.

As a psychiatrist with a small volume of patients, I haven't had a great deal of work for an assistant to do. Generally I like to take my own telephone calls, and with a decent answering service that task is manageable. Letters and reports are not extensive; I type fairly well and occasionally use a secretarial service. Bookkeeping, insurance forms, and billing require only a few hours of my time every month.

So why do I need anyone? Well, mainly to welcome patients and make them as comfortable as possible until their appointment times.

That need has been filled admirably. My receptionist comes to work with me in the morning, so he's on time if I am. He