Clinical/Medical Assistant – Ensure the Smooth Functioning of a Health Care Practice

Clinical/ Medical Assistants are multi-skilled health care professionals who offer clinical, administrative and technical support to health practitioners in order to ensure the smooth running of their offices. However, their specific duties depend upon several factors such as location and size of the practice, as well as their education and training.Medical Assistants working in a small practice usually perform a wide variety of tasks and report directly to the physician or office manager; those working in a larger practice perform more specialized tasks under the direct supervision of a department administrator. Their administrative duties include scheduling appointments for patients, greeting patients, answering phone calls, updating and filing patient’s medical records, filling out insurance forms for patients, and handling billing and bookkeeping.The clinical duties of a medical helper depend upon the laws in the state they wish to practice in, which can vary quite greatly. Their tasks may include recording medical history of a patient, taking certain vital signs and preparing patients for medical exams, x-rays, electrocardiograms and so on. Additionally, they collect lab specimens and perform some basic laboratory tests; they sterilize medical equipment and dispose of contaminated supplies. A medical helper may guide patients about the physician’s directions regarding medication and specified diet plan. They may also remove sutures, and change the dressings of a patient.In larger practices, medical worker perform more specialized tasks such as that of an ophthalmic medical assistant, optometric assistant, and podiatric medical assistants. They provide assistance to ophthalmologists, optometrists, and podiatrists in their tasks, respectively.A large percentage of medical helper work in physicians offices; some work in private and public hospitals, while the rest work in other health care environments such as outpatient care centers, and nursing and residential care facilities.Medical support training programs are offered in vocational schools, community colleges and career schools. Programs are usually one year long, resulting in a certificate or diploma, or a two-year program resulting in an associate degree.Students pursuing a medical assistant training program will typically learn about laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, and pharmaceutical principles, administration of medications, first aid, office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics. The coursework also covers anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, transcription, accounting, record keeping and insurance processing.According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical help is expected to increase by 34 percent from 2008 to 2018. With advancements in the medical technology and the increasing aging of the population, the demand for medical support and health care services can only rise.