Types of Medical Assistants
Clinical Medical Assistants
Clinical medical assistants must have a variety of skills in order to execute their duties effectively. As well as working with patients, they may be required to perform other tasks as well. Being a good listener, retaining information, and being able to effectively communicate are important traits that will be exercised daily on the job. An understanding of medical procedures and terminology is essential in order to read and understand patient charts. They will also be tasked with the use of some equipment, such as stethoscopes, EEG or EKG machines, laboratory equipment, sterilization tools, and more. The assistant will also be aiding the physician with his or her patients and will need to remember information possibly regarding several patients at once. Patients may be ill, tired, frustrated, anxious, or effected by other maladies. A clinical medical assistant must be compassionate in order to foster a sense of comfort with the patient while maintaining professional distance. Keeping a professional attitude is important as becoming to involved with a patient on a personal level can cause undue stress or grief. The ability to effectively multitask is very essential as well. The duties of the assistant may not be limited to single tasks. They may need to check patient charts, sterilize equipment, perform laboratory duties, and execute other tasks simultaneously. Performing multiple tasks while assisting with patients requires the ability to remember information correctly, as mix ups and mistakes could have serious effects and consequences. The clinical assistant must have a knowledge of medical procedures, a positive and compassionate attitude, the ability to multitask, and excellent communication and memory skills.
Administrative Medical Assistants
An administrative medical assistant must be a good people person. They will spend the better part of their day talking to others. Administrative assistants will be the face of the physicians practice. They will be greeting patients, answering phones, writing letters, scheduling appointments, and communicating with insurance companies. Though their duties revolve primarily around communication skills there will also be other tasks they must complete. An administrative medical assistant will be responsible for filing and keeping patient records as well as following all restrictions for the release of sensitive patient data. They will also be filing insurance claims and communicating with insurance companies regarding those claims. Skills in accounting and billing will also be necessary as the assistant may be responsible for patient billing and keeping financial records for the physicians office. Time will for the most part be split between clerical work and communicating with a variety of people and companies. However, the administrative assistant must be able to remain calm under pressure. They may have to speak with irate patients, or handle problems that arise due to insurance errors and coverage. Being able to retain information and accurately recall it will be important as well. The assistant will be responsible for keeping records, so errors in those records may cause delays and complications. Records may not just be in paper medium. Many of the duties of the assistant may require the use of computers and other electronic devices. Appointments, patient billing, insurance information, patient phone numbers and addresses, prescriptions, and other important data will kept in computers as well as in paper records. The assistant must be up to date on all laws regarding data release, they must be computer literate, and they absolutely must be able to communicate with others in a polite and professional manner as they are the representative of the office at which they work.
Specialized Medical Assistants
Specialized medical assistants cover a broad spectrum of possible fields. They have chosen to specialize in a specific field of medicine. The field chosen would depend largely on the preferences of the individual as the skills and duties required for a given field may vary greatly from another. Choosing to be a specialized assistant may open up more opportunities for employment, but may restrict the individual to jobs in the field for which they have trained specifically. Fields such as cardiology, OB/GYN, internal medicine, women’s health, endocrinology, urology, and many more. The skills and abilities required for a specialized assistant will depend on their field of study. There are however, certain skills that will be useful regardless of the field of study chosen. Firstly, a medical assistant will need to be an excellent listener and communicator. The assistant will be receiving information from patients, physicians, or both. They will also need to be able to communicate accurately to the patients and physicians. Being computer literate is needed, as much of the information dealt with will be stored on computers and other devices. The assistant may be required to keep records, or retrieve information for the physician. A knowledge of medical procedures and terms will be important as well, regardless of the field chosen. A medical assistant of any kind will need to know the procedures, terminology, and the operation of all equipment relevant to their field of study. An assistants duties revolve around helping the physicians office or practice run more smoothly. Being able to multitask is a necessary skill as their may be multiple duties that require immediate attention. The job of a specialized medical assistant may vary greatly from one to another. It is the field of study that an individual chooses that decides what their duties will be. One should take care to choose a field that not only interests them, but also a field that they believe they will excel in. The individual person must take care to know what needed training and certification will be required. They need to know what their duties will be, what equipment they will be responsible for using or preparing, and what personal skills they need to have in order to effectively complete their tasks.