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What is a Medical Administrative Assistant?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A medical administrative assistant is an allied health professional who handles administrative and some clinical tasks in medical settings. Most medical administrative assistants work in doctor's offices and medical clinics, although they can also be found in hospitals and other environments. Training requirements for members of this profession vary, but as a general rule, they need at least a two year degree from a program which trains medical administrative assistants.

Administratively, there are a number of duties which can fall under the purview of a medical administrative assistant. These can include billing, bookkeeping, supply ordering, handling payroll, and other financial tasks as well as managing office maintenance and keeping staff organized. Medical administrative assistants also participate in scheduling, making scheduling arrangements for staff members in addition to booking medical appointments.

Many are also responsible for secretarial tasks such as answering phones, greeting patients, handling inquiries, making copies, and so forth. A medical administrative assistant can also manage a filing system and oversee other staff members in the office who may handle some office duties as well. Their work can also include making the waiting room environment pleasant and clean with magazines, plants, and so forth to make patients feel comfortable and welcomed.

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Clinical tasks performed by a medical administrative assistant vary, depending on region, training, and legal requirements. They may be able to handle basic patient care under supervision, such as preparing and administering medications, collecting samples or instructing patients in sample collection, performing basic lab tests, and providing basic dietary and other advice to patients. This can help reduce the workload on the doctors, nurses, and physician assistants in the practice by allowing them to focus on patient care which cannot be performed by anyone else.

The pay for this type of work varies. The more training someone has, the more employable he or she is, and extra skills such as being bilingual or experienced with augmentative communication can be a plus in the eyes of some medical practices. Cultural sensitivity can also be important; if, for example, a practice is located in an area with a lot of East Indian residents, someone who is East Indian or who has experience with East Indian culture may be a better fit for a practice than someone who has no experience with people from this region of the world. A medical administrative assistant should also have a professional demeanor, a neat and clean appearance, and a genuine interest in improving health for patients.

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