Before electing to undergo medical assistant training programs, individuals may want to know “What does a medical assistant do?” The medical assistant duties and responsibilities are dependent on the employer’s requirements. Medical Assistants may be employed in any health-related site such as a health practitioner’s clinic or office, hospitals, insurance companies, and even commercial establishments. Medical assistants are in great demand precisely because of their ability to competently fill multiple roles simultaneously so it is reasonable to expect that medical assistants would be expected to carry out both clinical and administrative responsibilities.
The medical assistant duties and responsibilities in small clinics or offices of health practitioners such as physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, and chiropractors, typically involve both clinical and administrative tasks, with emphasis on specialized clinical tasks specific to the type of health practitioner. For example, medical assistants working in a chiropractor’s clinic may have the responsibility of taking x-rays, if qualified according to state laws and regulations, and may also take care of the cleaning and upkeep of x-ray equipment. On the other hand, medical assistants working in an ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s clinic may be expected to instruct patients on the care and use of ophthalmic devices such as contact lenses. The probability that the medical assistant will be expected to manage the books, billing, and insurance is higher when working in a smaller work environment.
In larger institutions, such as general and surgical hospitals, the larger workforce may mean a more specialized job description. Medical assistant duties and responsibilities may be strictly clinical or strictly administrative. The larger the workforce and the patient population, the higher the likelihood that the area of responsibility is more focused. A medical assistant may be assigned only clerical and transcribing work, or may be responsible only for the maintenance of specialized equipment in one sector of the hospital only.
Medical assistant duties and responsibilities in other establishments such as insurance companies and general merchandise establishments may involve less specialized clinical tasks such as simple patient history-taking, obtaining vital signs, and facilitating diagnostic examinations, as well as clerical administrative tasks.
An alternative but lucrative job opportunity is the medical assistant educator. It is important to note that full time educators typically earn comparably larger wages compared to practicing medical assistants. Medical assistant duties and responsibilities are geared towards instructing students in training programs, in accordance to the curriculum. In this case, clinical and administrative tasks are taught and demonstrated, and additional responsibilities include developing class work, continuing medical assistant education to keep updated on the latest changes in the field, evaluating students and maintaining student records and progress notes, among others.