Medical assisting jobs can vary greatly. Medical assistants often help to intake new patients, take medical histories and check vital signs of patients. They may also help with the organization of the medical office with items such as filing, documentation, and verifying insurance information to name a few.
Medical assistants may complete both clinical and administrative tasks in doctors’ offices, private medical practices, health care facilities and hospitals. Duties can be varied or highly specialized depending on the size of the practice. Some offices may have a single Medical Assistant, while others may have an entire staff of Medical Assistants.
The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
While positions can vary based on the size of the office or facility, medical assistants typically perform some or all the following tasks:
- Greet new patients and answer phones
- Record patient history
- Document patients’ personal information
- Provide intake forms to incoming or new patients
- Measure vital signs
- Assist physicians with patient examinations
- Give patients injections or medications (directed by physicians), as permitted by state law
- Schedule appointments
- Prepare blood samples for lab tests
- Enter patient information into Patient Records systems
- Occasional light computer and administrative work
Medical assistants may take and record patients’ personal information or may provide forms to patients to gather the information on the patients’ behalf.
Understanding the legalities of confidentiality is imperative for medical assistants. As a medical assistant your responsibility is to both the patient and the physician. Both maturity and discernment are vital qualities for excellent medical assistants.
The adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are changing the workflow inside of medical offices. Knowing several EHR systems can be highly beneficial. Some medical assistants may help their office transition from a paper to a digital filing system. Having a firm understanding of dataflow, spreadsheets, and up-to-date practices is required to assist in this capacity.
Medical assistants are not to be confused with physician assistants. A physician assistant may examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician’s supervision. The two are not the same.
In jobs where there is a large staff of medical assistants, you may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.
A medical assistant specializing in administrative tasks may assist with insurance forms, billing, coding and organizing patient medical information. They may also answer telephones, schedule patient appointments, perform general office duties and greet patients.
Medical Assistants who specialize in clinical assisting will have different responsibilities. Regulations vary by state and determine what duties a medical assistant can perform in a clinical environment. They may do basic lab tests, clean and prepare exam rooms, and sterilize medical instruments. Other duties might include instructing patients about medications, preparing patients for x rays, changing dressings, removing stitches, or drawing blood.
Some medical assistants choose their specialty according to the type of medical office they want to work. Medical assistants can specialize in many different fields such as general practice, cosmetology, ophthalmology, podiatry, pediatrics – the opportunities are truly endless.
The career path of a medical assistant is challenging, and can vary greatly depending on office/practice size, level of specialty and expertise, and areas of interest and skill.
To learn more about the various medical assisting programs offered by Daymar College speak with an admissions representative, today or explore our programs online.