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Medical assistants work in various healthcare settings. Health facilities include anything from general hospitals and rehabilitation centers to primary doctor offices. Medical assistants complete multiple tasks throughout the day, most relating to patients. Physicians are often too busy to take care of all aspects of dealing with patients and getting them checked in. Thus, a medical assistant will be able to aid in the process of providing healthcare.
Preparing Medical Charts
Medical assistants must complete paperwork during the workday. This consists of medical charts for each patient. Medical facilities are required to keep patient health records in charts. Medical assistants organize and have charts ready for use during a consultation. They may have to interview patients for the purpose of gathering further information related to their case.
Taking and Recording Vital Signs
Pre-screens of patients are always completed prior to consulting doctors. Medical assistants take and record several vital signs such as current weight, pulse and blood pressure level. This is done to every single patient and added to medical charts.
Preparing Patients for Examination
Patients are continuously in need of medical exams from healthcare facilities. Nurses as well as medical assistants are necessary to prepare patients by collecting information and making sure they are in the right clothing for the procedure. Assistants may also aid physicians examine and treat the patients. They may gather instruments and materials needed to perform certain examinations, or set up test equipment. Sometimes medical assistants will have to provide detailed explanations of how exams will take place.
Almost all healthcare providers require an appointment to be seen by a physician. Medical assistants work with patients to schedule a convenient time to visit. Only one appointment can be scheduled at a time. Assistants must be able to input this information into an appointment book or database on a computer. Scheduling appointments may be in person or over the phone.
Filing Diagnostic Test Results
In addition to organizing and preparing medical charts, further paperwork must be filed. Medical assistants are to file diagnostic test results ordered by physicians. These can include blood tests, tissue samples and other laboratory specimens.
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.
Michel Charles has been a writing coach since 2007 and became a copywriter in 2010. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work and creative writing from the University of South Florida.