Medical Assisting- A Day in The Life

Medical Assisting is not just a job – it’s a highly rewarding profession with a diverse array of roles and responsibilities. A day in the life of a Medical Assistant is difficult to pinpoint because your day to day activities may differ depending on what type of practice you work for or department you work in. No matter where you work, however, there will always be a need for professionalism, attention to detail and caring.

Medical Assistants should demonstrate professionalism and tact when interacting with patients, as well as follow protocol for determining a patient’s immediate needs. If you work primarily at the front desk, you’ll be responsible for answering the office’s phone system and using medical questions to determine the severity of the caller’s problem. Other tasks include informing the physician about patient concerns, scheduling appointments and greeting patients as they enter the office.

Attention to detail is also extremely important as a Medical Assistant. In addition to your reception duties, you will need to obtain patients’ insurance information, collect insurance co-payments, verify patients’ addresses and phone numbers, update and maintain HIPAA authorizations and call insurance companies for pre-authorization and pre-certification approval for testing or surgeries. Mistakes can be costly – for both the practice and the patient, so it’s critical that you are thorough and meticulous in completing these tasks. Performing in-house laboratory procedures fall under a Medical Assistant’s job description as well. Some procedures could include drawing blood, urinalysis, throat cultures, pregnancy tests, drug screens, and EKGs. While these may become second nature at some point in your career, attention to detail will still always be important here as well, because an error could cause a misdiagnosis.

If you work in the back office, you’ll have a greater opportunity to interact with patients which is why the simple act of caring goes a long way. As a Medical Assistant you play such an important role in making a patient feel comfortable during their appointment. Sounds easy enough to “care” but when you’ve seen dozens of patients in a day, it’s easy to forget that each one comes with their own set of symptoms and anxieties, and they all deserve individual attention. Often, you can help reduce a patient’s anxiety about an upcoming procedure by relaying information from the physician in terms that the patient can understand. It’s important to have a good bedside manner and a calm demeanor when dealing directly with patients.

On a typical day as a Medical Assistant you may help measure patients’ vital signs by taking their blood pressure, pulse, respirations, and height & weight. You might also obtain the patient’s medical history in order to brief the physician. Another task could be setting up the exam room for a procedure and at times you may even assist the physician with minor surgical procedures such as inserting or removing sutures. The tasks are endless.

Regardless of their role, Medical Assistants serve an essential function on the healthcare team. From the front office to the lab, they contribute to the success of the physician, the practice and ensure that patients have a good experience during their visit.

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