You may have heard about the rising demand for medical assistants. But did you know that medical assistants specialize? Some medical assistants concentrate their knowledge and skills within specific medical fields, such as pediatrics or ophthalmology. Some medical assistants work administratively, utilizing office equipment to help organize patients and staff. Clinical medical assistants work directly in clinical settings with patients and other healthcare professionals.
At Prism Career Institute, our Medical Assistant program is available at three campus locations, Cherry Hill, NJ, Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. Here, we discuss the role of a clinical medical assistant and how students can prepare to become one.
Knowing Your Options for Medical Assistant Training
Prism Career Institute prepares students for a choice of medical assistant career paths and our programs include instruction in phlebotomy, medical billing and coding, and medical office administration. In addition, students gain knowledge and experience as clinical medical assistants. If you are interested in a career where you interact with patients while helping physicians and nurses diagnose and treat illnesses and other health complaints, discover the work of clinical medical assistants.
Job Duties for Clinical Medical Assistants
Medical assistants work throughout the healthcare sector. That means hospital departments, outpatient clinics, private physician practices, public health nonprofit organizations, surgery centers, specialty clinics, and long-term care facilities. Wherever patients seek medical care, medical assistants are helping them schedule appointments, update their medical records, and get ready for an examination. Here are some of the most common duties performed by clinical medical assistants:
- Prepare exam rooms and help patients get ready for medical examination
- Take readings for blood pressure, weight, height, and body temperature
- Input and update information in the patient’s electronic medical record
- Assist healthcare professionals during examinations and in-office procedures
- Collect laboratory samples, such as urine, blood, saliva
- Sterilize equipment, such as devices used in eye exams or radiologic scans
- Run routine tests, depending on medical specialty
- Bandage wounds and administer medications
- Provide education and discussion about health conditions with patients
How Medical Assistant Roles Differ
Medical assistants who work on the administrative side of healthcare also update and process information in patient electronic health records. However, it is often the type of information that aids communication with insurance companies for insurance claims, such as medical coding. They spend time on the telephone making appointments and rescheduling when necessary. They may even handle the schedule for the healthcare team, making sure vacation time, holidays, conferences, and other times away from the office are clear of patient visits. Administrative work includes filling out paperwork for laboratory tests, and hospital admissions, and processing information for medical billing functions.
To some extent, the size and focus of the healthcare enterprise determine how much specialization is found in the medical assistant job description. In a small physician’s office, one medical assistant may schedule the appointments and help dress wounds or take samples for laboratory testing. When medical offices are very specialized, the medical assistant’s role can change. For example, podiatrists are healthcare professionals who care for feet, and their clinical medical assistants may find themselves making images of feet, or even helping with minor surgery in the office.
Demand for Medical Assistants
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for medical assistants is projected to grow 18 percent between 2020 to 2030. The BLS indicates that 57 percent of medical assistants were employed in physician offices in 2020. As the aging population in the U.S. requires more medical care, there will be increased pressure on physicians, nurses, and physician assistants to increase their patient loads. The medical assistant is an important player on the healthcare team, who takes over smaller medical tasks and frees up time for these professionals to spend time with patients. In addition, the skillful, well-qualified assistance offered by medical assistants adds to the efficiency of the operation.
Become a Clinical Medical Assistant
If you want to help patients and dream of working in healthcare, consider becoming a clinical medical assistant. With the thorough training received at Prism Career Institute, graduates can choose between a variety of medical assistant career opportunities. Explore your options in this important and fulfilling field by contacting us today for more information about our programs in Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor Township, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA.