Doctors are serving people with special needs and a plethora of health concerns for which mastering health care and medical skills and overcoming communication barriers is essential. Most employers set their standards high and often hire only medical assistants with formal training and recognized medical assisting certifications. The correct title for a graduate of a formal medical assisting training program who is not yet certified is Medical Assistant (MA). The correct title for a medical assistant who has passed a certification exam is Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), etc. Their name and title must be displayed on the identification badge and used in signing official patient-care documents.
Medical assistants are found in an ambulatory medical practice setting where they apply their skills under the direct supervision of the doctor. Medical assistants at the front desk reception area handle specialized administrative procedures. They register new patients, help them fill out paperwork, explain available services, their cost, and copayments. They check the patient’s health insurance coverage and put together the patient’s medical chart. Duties range from clerical and managerial skills, patient registration, appointment scheduling, medical record filing, health insurance verification, referrals to specialists for further evaluation, special diagnostics, screening and therapeutic appointments.
The clinical medical assistant in the back office predominantly focuses on direct patient care tasks. Most are trained to perform tests that require special devices, such as a Holter Monitor, oxygen-, cardio-pulmonary and respiratory device, EKG/ECG machine, and are efficient with injections, such as vaccines, allergy skin testing, or prescribed medications. They may also check and monitor vital signs, or fill out prescription pads for medications, which the doctor must approve and sign. With additional education and training, or through specialty workshops medical assistants advance into various other positions, such as:
- Medical Assistant Technologist
- Patient Care Technician
- Medical Care Technician
Medical assistants must pay attention to detail and always carry themselves in a professional manner. Naturally, having compassion for people with medical issues, health concerns and special needs is very high on the list. Nowhere is the need bigger for empathy, caring, professionalism and proper conduct than in a healthcare setting.