by: Kelsey Andriot
During the past 10 years, I have had many different jobs in the healthcare industry with many different job duties. However, working as a Medical Assistant is one of the best jobs I have had so far.
I wanted to give some insight for anyone that wants to learn more about Medical Assisting and give some examples of what we actually do at work on a daily basis. Please keep in mind, that each clinic will have different policies and protocols that their Medical Assistants need to follow. However, the duties listed are pretty universal with every clinic.
In the healthcare industry, the only place that you will really find a Medical Assistant is in a clinic. The term “Rooming” is a term that is used for the action of a medical assistant calling a patient from the waiting room, getting a detailed history, and vital signs prior to that patient seeing their physician. When a patient goes to see the doctor for an office visit, the a Medical Assistant is always the medical professional that a patient sees immediately prior to seeing their physician (not a nurse).
Phone Calls (Incoming and Outgoing)
A lot of patients will call their physician’s office with many questions. Some calls can be regarding forms and medical clearance. Other calls can be regarding questions patients may have about medications and dosages, appointments, symptoms, and more. Normally, when a patient calls their physician’s office, the first person to answer the phone is a medical assistant. In some situations, the medical assistant can help the patient directly and answer any questions or address any concerns that the patient might have. There are other situations, which might require a physician’s or a nurse’s attention; in those situations, the medical assistant will take a message and give it to the appropriate personnel.
The topic of outgoing calls can vary just as widely as the incoming calls. Medical Assistants can call patients with questions about refills. We can call patients regarding test results or to give the patient a message from a doctor. We can also call other physician offices to obtain (or send) certain medical records that we have not yet been obtained (or sent). Again, there is a multitude of reasons medical assistants can make phone calls. But generally speaking, if we are not rooming patients, then medical assistants are making or taking phone calls.
Physician clinics can see a very large volume of refill requests that come from their patients on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the doctor does not usually have the time to go through these refill requests entirely on his own. As a result, protocol usually is written so that the medical assistant can legally take over this job duty.
When a Medical Assistant helps with refilling medications, really what we are doing is we are checking everything about that patient and the medication that is being refilled. We are looking to make sure that the medication requested is on the patient’s medication list and if the dosage is the same. If it is not then we will contact the patient to discuss the situation. Or another item we look for is whether or not the patient has seen their physician or has had the appropriate labs drawn in the last year or so. If the there is something wrong with the refill request (i.e. the patient has not seen a doctor in a few years) then we will ask a nurse or a doctor for advice regarding whether or not to refill the medication.