None of us can foretell the future with any accuracy, but we all know there is a trend to automate tasks. Robots are used in manufacturing, agriculture, scientific research, and the military. Healthcare is another arena where robots are being developed. But can they replace medical assistant jobs? We don’t think so.
Prism Career Institute, with campuses in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor Township, NJ, offers a Medical Assistant program that fosters human empathy and excellent communication skills, a winning combination for this vital, caring health profession. Here, we discuss why medical assistant positions are unlikely to be replaced by advanced technology.
Robots in Healthcare
Unless you have needed surgery lately, you may not realize that robots are already helping surgeons perform technical, precise procedures. The doctors use computers and high-tech imaging techniques to make careful cuts to the bone when replacing joints, such as hips and knees. Other robotic surgery systems deliver targeted beams of radiation to tumors. These robots can reach tumors in difficult-to-access areas of the body, and by repositioning itself, the robot targets all sides of the tumor without making the patient move.
Automated robots are already being used to help disinfect and clean patient rooms, to reduce and eliminate hospital-acquired infections. Therapeutic robots, shaped like small animals, are being used experimentally to help reduce depression in patients recovering from surgery or other treatments. These simulated animal companions might prove to be helpful with dementia patients, for example. And, just as some robots deliver packages in rural areas, they are also traversing the halls of hospitals, moving supplies, lab samples, laundry items, and even food trays around the hospital.
These examples show how robots are already useful in modern healthcare, and it’s reasonable to expect their uses to advance and increase. Medical assistant jobs might be changed by robotic technology, and some tasks may shift from human to machine. However, note that humans are an integral part of each of these scenarios:
- Meals don’t get fed to disabled patients by robots.
- People schedule, inspect, and monitor the disinfecting work of robots in hospitals.
- Healthcare teams and patients find, biopsy, identify, and develop treatments for tumors.
- Experienced, well-trained surgeons utilize the robotic surgical arm as a tool to better perform surgery.
Healthcare Teams Need Medical Assistants
Some studies show that more office functions will become automated, such as scheduling appointments with patients—similarly to the automated appointment reminders that call and message us before medical visits. And many aspects of electronic health records are automated around big data, where anonymous pools of coded data are analyzed and mined for beneficial information by researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other public health agencies.
But there is still plenty of important work for medical assistants! The medical coding training received in medical assistant programs makes that data more accurate and useful. The health record may be electronic, but the living human medical assistant that inputs the data has the knowledge, multiple sources of information, and a whole healthcare team of experts informing that data.
Perhaps the most important element that medical assistants help bring to healthcare is referred to as the human touch. The sensitive, respectful touch of the healthcare professional to the patient—whether it’s helping them onto the exam table, holding their hand when receiving a diagnosis, explaining their new food plan, or showing them how to take a new medication.
Medical Assistant Jobs Are Human Jobs
When patients are sick, they rely on their healthcare team. And the medical assistant is an important, front-line member of that team. Medical assistant jobs are so much more than reminding patients of upcoming appointments or delivering urine samples to the lab. They are the caring, sensitive people who explain how to properly give the urine sample, or which clothes should be removed before the doctor comes into the room for the examination. They take vital signs with concern for comfort and try to diffuse some of the tension the patient may be feeling. And they assist doctors and nurses in delicate procedures, adapting with empathy to each patient.
Learn About Our Medical Assistant Programs in New Jersey
The medical assistant program at Prism Career Institute is offered on all three campus locations, Cherry Hill, NJ, Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. With an outstanding staff, up-to-date curriculum, and externship opportunities, our students are prepared for in-demand, modern medical assistant jobs. Are you ready to make a difference in people’s lives? Contact us for more information.