What Are the Roles a Medical Assistant?
Updated: Oct 25, 2019
We recently went over the roles of the 'Front Office Staff'. Since these employees are typically the first contact with your patients, it is critical they successfully perform the correct duties. They should be building relationships with the patients by communicating effectively and positively. Core functions of the office staff include verifying insurance benefits, collecting payments at time of service, keeping the schedule full, being positive, building confidence in the doctor and in the office while on and off duty, and having knowledge on the products and services offered. Our poll asked "Is Your Front Office Staff Verifying Insurance Before the Patients Appointment?". Ninety-one percent of participants said "Yes", and 9% said "No".
Before the patient even arrives to your office, their insurance should be contacted and their coverage should be verified. Once this is completed, the patient can be made aware of the portion that they may be responsible for will be due upon their arrival.
The next few posts will discuss the roles of various positions that perform or assist with treatment. This week will be about Medical Assistants.The patient is likely spending more time with the assistant than the doctor. Because of this, they are the ones who build the foundation of a relationship between doctor and patient. Medical Assistants are used administratively and clinically and therefore must be well rounded and flexible. The clinical tasks that Medical Assistants perform may vary greatly depending on the specialty of practice and which state the practice is located.
Roles of a Medical Assistant:
Form Trusting Relationship with Patients
Listen to and record patients chief complaint.
Keep personal notes on patient to develop repertoire.
Communicate positively to patient. Assistants are the bridge between the patient, the doctor, and the front office.
Verify Patients Medical History.
Record any changes to medications, past surgeries, or previous diagnosis.
Prepare Clinical Exam Rooms
Dispose of contaminated items following OSHA regulations.
Ensure tools have been sterilized and equipment has been disinfected.
Ensure correct armamentarium is present depending on what has been scheduled.
Assist with Imaging / Lab Tests
Arrange laboratory testing for patients.
Prepare patient for imaging, operate and/or process x-rays.
Collect lab specimens.
Perform Basic Clinical Functions
Communicate doctor recommended treatments, therapies, and procedures to patient.
Prepare patient for exams and testing.
Assist doctor and other clinicians with procedures.
Medical Assistant's scope of practice varies greatly from state to state.
Answer phone calls and calling patients to fill schedule.
Process insurance forms.
Complete billing and bookkeeping tasks.
Follow HIPPA regulations.
Keep detailed notes of each appointment.
Refrain from using abbreviations.
Patients can request their records at any time, so only facts should be recorded in their file.
Medical Assistants are the greatest multi-taskers in the practice as they float from clinical to clerical duties. The quality of care that the patient receives can vary greatly depending on the abilities of a medical assistant. Great communication skills are essential because they are the patient liaison between the doctor as well as the front desk staff. They direct the patient on recommended treatments, prescriptions, and therapies while at the same time advocate the patient.
The reason we are publishing these articles is so that your office can increase its success. We appreciate your feedback on how we can help you more and love it when you pass these articles along to other practice owners and office managers. If you have a question that you would like answers to in a blog post, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have not signed up for our blog, please do, so you can continue to receive these important insights and participate in our weekly polls.
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