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Medical assistants must know how to use a computer. They’re responsible for bookkeeping, billing and filling out insurance forms. They record medical histories, update and file medical records. Some medical assistants conduct diagnostic tests or develop X-rays. These jobs are all computer-related and require medical assistants to use different kinds of software to complete them.
Specialized accounting software is available for health care organizations. In addition to tracking profit and loss, and performing other accounting tasks, medical accounting software is designed to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and maintain patient confidentiality. It also lets you track multiple payers, including the patient and the insurance company, and monitor the visiting histories of patients.
Patient management software, also known as medical practice management software, lets medical assistants handle a range of duties including billing, managing claims, keeping electronic medical records, scheduling appointments and managing medical codes. Programs can be purchased separately, as part of a software system or even licensed on a subscription basis.
Email programs let a medical assistant contact patients electronically to remind them of appointment times and dates, or give them instructions from the doctor. Some doctors use video conferencing software to help them make medical decisions when the patient can’t come to the office. If a medical assistant works in an office that uses conferencing software, she may have to know how to use it. Medical assistants also need to know how to use word processing software to create letters, faxes, memos and reports. Finally, she should be familiar with whatever operating software (OS) the office computer uses.
2016 Salary Information for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $31,540 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $26,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $37,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 634,400 people were employed in the U.S. as medical assistants.
Lani Thompson began writing in 1987 as a journalist for the "Pequawket Valley News." In 1993 she became managing editor of the "Independent Observer" in East Stoneham, Maine. Thompson also developed and produced the "Clan Thompson Celiac Pocketguides" for people with celiac disease. She attended the University of New Hampshire.