Physicians Need Help: Medical Assisting on the Rise
The health services industry is expanding and there in a growing demand for qualified medical assistants. Technological advances in medicine combined with and increasing and aging population has lead to a great need for more medical attention facilities. These facilities are utilizing medical assisting more and more to take the burden of their limited doctor and nursing staff. According to the US Department of Labor, medical assisting is projected to be the fastest growing occupation.
Medical assistants generally perform routine administrative and clinical task, but their specific duties vary greatly from office to office. Employers include; physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners. It is the medical assistant's job to keep these offices running smoothly. Medical assistants' administrative duties include tasks such as answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients' medical records, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handling billing and bookkeeping. The clinical duties of a medical assistant will vary according to State law and include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.
Job prospects are be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, and most employers prefer graduates of formal program in medical assisting. Medical assistant programs usually last 1 year, resulting in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years, resulting in an associate degree. The program courses will cover anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, typing, transcription, record keeping, accounting, and insurance processing. Medical assisting students learn laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, the administration of medications, and first aid. They study office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics. Accredited programs will usually include an internship that provides practical experience in physicians' offices, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities.