Medical Assistant Job Description and Requirements

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So that the medical office functions perfectly and efficiently, every employee has to know his/her duties and perform them well.

Within a medical practice, clinic, or other healthcare settings you may encounter an assistant behind the desk whose job is to greet you and who you first meet when you enter a healthcare setting.

That person is vital to the success of the practice, as he/she is in charge of providing the administrative support which is obligatory to ensure that all patients receive the highest quality of care and service.

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The Roles and Duties of the Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical administrative assistants who are also known as medical office assistants do office duties such as accounting, billing, charting, medical transcription, patient scheduling, and filing insurance claims.

As we have already mentioned, these professionals make the first contact with patients, and they do not only greet them but also take initial information.

Besides these activities, we would like to mention some other duties of a medical office assistant such as:

  • Managing and updating patient records
  • Greeting patients
  • Making appointments
  • Maintaining the front desk and reception areas
  • Performing general accounting and billing services
  • Transcribing treatment notes
  • Arranging for patient hospitalization
  • Processing insurance forms
  • Overseeing office and medical supplies inventory
  • Managing email and mail traffic

However, if a medical administrative assistant finds a job in large hospitals, his/her role is going to be specialized.

This means that he/she will only be responsible for accounting and record-keeping, and his/her colleague will be responsible for insurance billing.

On the other hand, if medical administrative assistants find a job in a smaller setting, they cannot expect to have clearly defined roles, as they will be responsible for a number of administrative tasks during the course of the day.

Medical Administrative Assistant Skills

As you probably know, every person working in a medical office is of great importance so that it can be an efficient and organized facility.

This involves superb medical office assistants who are there to ensure that the company operates professionally.

To be able to achieve this, medical administrative assistants have to possess certain skills, besides great knowledge related to medical terminology and medical duties.

The best medical office assistant possesses excellent written and oral communication skills which are needed both in contact with a patient and the medical office staff.

Furthermore, they must be pleasant, friendly, and polite, meaning that medical office assistant must always stay calm when talking to patients, no matter how tiring and difficult to manage they are.

Last but not least, their work is usually performed using computers, so they need to be proficient with technology, as well.

So as to be a successful medical office assistant, you are supposed to possess the knowledge of the following:

  • Medical terminology
  • Industry software applications
  • Accounting procedures
  • Insurance billing procedures
  • Medical ethics and laws

Requirements to Become a Medical Administrative Assistant

Even though it is not required by the state laws, medical practices and healthcare facilities are those who look for medical office assistants who have completed a medical assistant training and education program when hiring.

You can choose to enroll in a general medical assistant program at the certificate, diploma, or associate degree level, during which you will gain an education in both the clinical and administrative aspects.

This means that if you enroll in this type of medical assistant program, the topics your studies will be focused on are:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Interpersonal professional communications
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Office accounting
  • Medical office procedures
  • Software applications
  • Healthcare coding
  • Medical transcription

Furthermore, it is very common that students in a medical administrative assistant program focus on topics such as:

  • Medical malpractice and medical practice
  • Medical records management
  • Confidentiality
  • Personnel management and communication
  • Fraud abuse
  • Documentation and risk assessment
  • Technology in the healthcare environment
  • Responsibilities of the office manager
  • Abbreviations and symbols used in the medical office
  • Accounting, financial statements, cost analysis, and budgeting
  • Patient bill of rights and confidentiality
  • Credit arrangements
  • Specialty office responsibilities
  • Office policy and procedure manual
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Federal and state regulations
  • Medical emergencies

Upon the completion of a medical office assistant program and an externship, medical office assistants should start to think about getting the national certification as a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) through the National Healthcareer Association.

Recognized credentials for medical office assistants also include the American Association of Medical Assistants, Certified Medical Assistant credential, and the American Medical Technologists, Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).


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