So, you want to know, How To Become a Medical Assistant? A medical assistant is a multi-skilled health practitioner who is expected to perform multiple roles in the medical clinic, outpatient health center, hospital, or other healthcare-related facilities. In smaller workplaces, duties of a medical assistant usually involve both clinical and administrative tasks, while their tasks may be more specialized if they work in larger institutions.
Duties of A Medical Assistant in Administrative Roles
Administrative roles that a medical assistant may be asked to fulfill include secretary or personal assistant, record keeper, and accountant. As a personal assistant, the medical assistant is expected to answer the telephone, receive patients and visitors graciously, and ensure their comfort. They schedule subsequent patient appointments and laboratory procedures, and if admission is required, they are able to coordinate with the necessary transport services and hospital to ensure a speedy admission process where the physician’s orders are all carried out. They also accomplish and file insurance forms and claims.
Duties of a medical assistant as a record keeper include updating and filing the patient’s records, and transcribing physician dictations. Medical assistants may also be asked to execute accounting tasks such as billing the patient, updating the books, and even managing the payroll. Training programs that instruct individuals on how to become a medical assistant include subjects such as Medical Terminology, Medical Transcription, Medial Office Management, and Medical Coding and Insurance. These are geared towards teaching and enhancing such administrative skills.
Duties of A Medical Assistant in Clinical Roles
The clinical duties of a medical assistant involve medical procedures such as obtaining the patient’s clinical history and vital signs, clarifying the aspects of medical procedures for patients, and even sometimes preparing the patient for them. The medical assistant may also be expected to collect specimens, perform blood extractions, and perform simple diagnostics procedures such as radiographic procedures or electrocardiograms (EKG). They may be assigned to perform therapeutic interventions under the supervision of a physician, such as performing first aid measures, dressing wounds, applying bandages and splints. The medical assistant may also be charged with instructing patients regarding their medications and how to take them. Relevant courses in programs that school individuals on how to become a medical assistant include Anatomy and Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Clinical Office Procedures, Emergency Preparedness, etc.
There are numerous programs nationwide accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAA-HEP) that train individuals on how to become a medical assistant, however they have variable lengths and cover different subjects. Lengthier programs usually provide more relevant instruction and exposure to the various clinical and administrative skills that encompass the duties of a medical assistant.