Medical assistants play a pivotal role in healthcare procedures and operations. They’re tasked with a broad range of responsibilities that help in ensuring things run smoothly at healthcare units.
What exactly do medical assistants do? Let’s take a closer look.
The Role & Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants provide a diverse range of services at their respective healthcare unit. These include an assortment of clerical, technical, and patient care duties that they perform under the supervision of senior medical practitioners. The exact scope and nature of tasks performed by medical assistants depends on their workplace. Typically, though, medical assistants are responsible for collecting medical history from patients, documenting key information, assisting with office-based medical procedures, and addressing patient concerns.
It’s important to remember that the role of medical assistants differs from that of physician assistants. The latter are trained to diagnose and treat patients, and may perform medical procedures under supervision. On the contrary, medical assistants don’t have the license to diagnose or treat patients and may only assist with certain procedures. Their role is more toward the administrative side and they’re in charge of performing various types of basic clinical tasks.
Where Do Medical Assistants Work?
Medical assistants are employed at various healthcare and related units. These include hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, medical units at corporations, and other places that may require patient care or medical assistance.
The nature of their work varies with the work environment and specific requirements of an organization.
The Role of a Medical Assistant in a Clinic
In clinics, medical assistants are typically in charge of handling more extensive work to fill in any gaps in documentation. They may sometimes be referred to as “generalists”, as their work covers tasks of all kinds.
For instance, a medical assistant at a clinic may be responsible for greeting patients and interacting with their caretakers, changing dressings and bandages, and helping out with various minor procedures performed in a doctor’s office. They may also provide patients and their caretakers with instructions regarding medical procedures, post procedural care, medication dosages, and dietary or lifestyle changes. Thus, medical assistants perform a blend of routine administrative and clinical tasks to ensure that things run smoothly at clinics.
The Role of a Medical Assistant in a Hospital
At hospitals, medical assistants tend to take on more specific duties based on the department or care unit they’re working at. They still perform various clinical, clerical, and administrative tasks, but these are dependent on the particular requirements of their unit.
For example, medical assistants may be responsible for attending phone calls and drop-in visitors, scheduling appointments and medical procedures, doing paperwork and documenting details, and coordinating the billing processes. They may also assist with laboratory work and be tasked with examining, labeling, and storing fluid samples obtained from patients. Additionally, they may assist an attending physician or nurse with minor procedures or processes performed inside the patient wards/doctor’s offices.
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