Medical Assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly.
- The duties of Medical Assistants vary from office to office depending on the location and size of the office.
- The Medical Assistant helps by handling most of the administrative duties.
- The Medical Assistant often helps with some of the clinical duties reporting directly to an office manager.
- Medical Assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests, on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments.
- The Medical Assistant usually completes postsecondary medical assisting programs which are offered at in vocational –technical high schools or at a community college.
The Medical Assistant who works in large practices tend to specialize in particular area, under the supervision of department administrators. Medical Assistants who perform administrative tasks have many duties. The Medical Assistant is responsible to update and file patients’ medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and bookkeeping.
The Clinical Medical Assistant, duties vary according to what is allowed by State law. The Medical Assistant in the clinical setting takes the patient’s medical histories and records their vital signs. The Medical Assistant is often required to explain treatment procedures to patents, prepare patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations. The Medical Assistant collects and prepares laboratory and other specimens. Often the Medical Assistant may perform some of the laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize the medical instruments. They also explain to patients about their medications giving them instructions on how to take the medication.
The Clinical Medical Assistant often prepares or advises patients on special diets. The Medical Assistant can also authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings. Patient care is vital aspect of the Medical Assistant duties. Many times the patient has more direct contact with the Medical Assistant and the patient depends on the Medical Assistant for help. The physician has many things to be responsible for and they rely on their Medical Assistant to take care of many of the minor problems with a patient. In this manner they can concentrate on the things that are very serious but they also depend on the Medical Assistant to keep them informed about any patient who is having a serious problem. The Medical Assistant must be able to assess patients when they are taking care of them and determine if there is a problem or if they are not responding as well as they should be on medications. If the patient is suffering problems then it is the duty of the Medical Assistant to let the physician know. At that point the physician man order lab tests or other do a physical exam to determine what the underlying problem maybe.
The Medical Assistant arranges the examining room instruments and equipment to make it easier for the physician. Often the Medical Assistant may accompany the physician while they are examining the patient. The Medical Assistant is responsible to purchase and maintain supplies and equipment. The Medical Assistant is the one who must keep the waiting and examining rooms neat and clean. There are special types of Medical Assistants who have additional duties. These specialized Medical Assistants are known as Ophthalmic Medical Assistants, Optometric Assistants, and Podiatric Medical Assistants who take special training in order to specialize in these fields.
The Ophthalmic Medical Assistants, Optometric Assistants, and Podiatric Medical Assistants are prime examples of how Medical Assistants can achieve a higher level in the field. Medical Assistances may advance to other occupations through experience or additional training. Just as an example some Medical Assistants go on to teaching others to become a Medical Assistant. While others pursue additional education to become nurses or other health care workers many prefer to just remain working in the same position. Administrative Medical Assistants may advance to office manager, or qualify for a variety of administrative support occupations. There are many opportunities for a Medical Assistant and the field is constantly hiring in need of qualified people to fill the position.