Now that the health care field is growing rapidly, many people are asking, “What are administrative medical assistants?” They ask this question because the number of job openings for this career is increasing. Many people are curious because they are interested in changing their line of work. Other capable individuals have lost their jobs in the latest economic decline and they want to find something fulfilling to do with their skills.
Administrative medical assistants are trained to carry out a number of important tasks in a doctor’s office. These go far beyond secretarial duties, although they are charged with certain duties that resemble secretarial work. However, their interactions with patients require them to have a medical background, though their education is limited compared to a physician’s.
The most basic role for an administrative assistant entails communicating with patients. Whereas a secretary would be limited to discussing scheduling and payments, a medical assistant discusses medical matters and passes along data to the overseeing physician. They interview patients about their medical histories and discuss reactions to medicine and other medical issues. They also educate patients about the medicines that they will take or the procedures that they are going to undergo.
Some medical assisting specialists are asked to go beyond this level of interaction. Their overseeing physicians instruct them to take patients’ vital signs, draw blood, give injections and perform laboratory tests for their doctors. They also handle much of the machinery that doctors use in their exams, such as x-ray machines. They are even known to operate the EKG devices that issue readouts about a patient’s heart rate.
Administrative assistants also have financial duties. They are the workers in a doctor’s office who will speak directly with insurance companies. They manage the files where medical records are kept and oversee their care. They are also typically the people who will contact patients directly about any and all matters related to their visits to the doctor’s office.
Medical assistants find work in several different areas. Primarily they work in doctors’ offices, directly assisting physicians. They also work in independent laboratories and in clinics. They even work directly for hospitals in the public and private sector.
In order to become an administrative medical assistant it is possible to find on the job training. However, most places of employment for medical assistants require some sort of certification. This can be acquired by attending classes in special programs designed to train people for this work. Some of these programs have a duration of as little as a year. Others last as much as two years.
Demand for administrative medical assistants is not likely to abate for quite some time. The United States has an aging population and medical matters have become a part of everyone’s life. As medical technology advances more and more people are able to treat conditions that were simply left untreated years ago. Now that they are seeking medical help, doctors’ offices are swamped and medical assistants are the cure to that problem.