Career Development

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Find out what a medical office assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a medical office assistant.

Medical office assistants are the behind-the-scenes workers in the medical field. They handle a wide range of administrative tasks, from scheduling appointments to filing paperwork and answering phones.

Medical office assistants may also be responsible for interacting with patients directly. This might include helping them fill out forms or answer questions about their health concerns.

Medical Office Assistant Job Duties

A medical office assistant typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Completing insurance forms for new patients and updating information for existing patients
  • Answering phones and responding to inquiries from patients, family members, and other staff members
  • Scheduling appointments with patients and communicating with them about upcoming appointments
  • Performing administrative tasks such as filing, photocopying, scanning, faxing, typing, organizing files, and maintaining records
  • Receiving payments from patients at the time of service or transferring payments to billing departments for processing
  • Preparing patients for examination by cleaning rooms, arranging equipment, and collecting specimens
  • Taking and transcribing medical histories of new patients, recording vital signs, and noting any significant medical information
  • Providing basic medical services such as taking blood pressure and recording temperatures
  • Providing clerical support for the health care team by preparing paperwork for appointments and updating patient records

Medical Office Assistant Salary & Outlook

Medical office assistants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the company and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $38,000 ($18.27/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)

The employment of medical office assistants is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

As the large baby-boom population ages and people stay active later in life, demand for healthcare services is expected to increase. As a result, medical office assistants will be needed to help doctors and other healthcare providers meet the needs of their patients.

Related: In-Depth Medical Office Assistant Salary Guide

Medical Office Assistant Job Requirements

A medical office assistant typically needs to have the following:

Education: Most medical office assistants have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed a medical assistant program. These programs typically take about a year to complete and include courses in anatomy, medical terminology, patient care and record keeping.

Training & Experience: Most medical office assistants learn the specific skills and knowledge related to their role while on the job. Training may last for a few weeks to a few months, depending on the company and the role. Training often includes shadowing current medical office assistants or office managers and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not always required for a role as an medical office assistant, they can be useful in finding a job and increasing your earning potential.

Medical Office Assistant Skills

Medical office assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are also important in this role. You may be communicating with patients, doctors and other medical staff, so it’s important to be able to speak clearly and understand what others are saying. You may also be responsible for relaying messages or information, so it’s important to be able to do so effectively.

Attention to detail: Medical assistants often work with sensitive information and data, so it’s important to pay close attention to detail when handling paperwork, entering data and performing other tasks. Attention to detail can also help you ensure you’re following proper procedures and protocols.

Computer proficiency: Computer proficiency is a necessary skill for an office assistant. You may be required to use a variety of computer programs, including word processing, spreadsheet and database programs. You should be able to navigate through computer programs and learn new programs quickly.

Organization: As an office assistant, you’ll likely be responsible for maintaining files and records for your employer. This requires excellent organizational skills. You’ll need to be able to find files quickly and keep them in order. You’ll also need to be able to keep track of your own tasks and assignments.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you interact with patients and other medical professionals. You can use these skills to answer questions, direct patients to the right areas of the office and help patients feel comfortable. Customer service skills can also help you work with patients to ensure they get the care they need.

Medical Office Assistant Work Environment

Medical office assistants work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private physician’s offices, and HMOs. They typically work a 40-hour week, although some may work evenings or weekends. Medical office assistants are usually assigned to a particular area of the medical office, such as reception, billing, or medical records. They may be required to work with computers, fax machines, and other office equipment. Medical office assistants must be able to handle a variety of tasks at one time and be able to work well under pressure. They must also have good people skills to deal with patients, families, and other medical office staff.

Medical Office Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how medical office assistants work. Medical office assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in the Medical Office

The medical office is increasingly using technology to improve efficiency and patient care. This trend is being driven by the increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) in medical offices.

As medical offices adopt new technologies, medical assistants will need to be familiar with how to use them effectively. This includes learning how to use EHRs and other software tools that are used to manage patient data. In addition, medical assistants will need to be comfortable with using computers and other devices in the medical office.

More Focus on Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction has become a more important factor in the medical industry over the past few years. This is due to the fact that patients are now more informed about their options and have more power to choose where they get treated.

Medical office assistants can capitalize on this trend by focusing on customer service and making sure that patients are happy with their experience. This may include things like providing information about insurance coverage or helping patients find the right doctor for their needs.

A Greater Need for Interpersonal Skills

The medical field is becoming increasingly complex, which is leading to a greater need for interpersonal skills among medical professionals.

Medical office assistants are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they are often the first point of contact for patients and families who are looking for help. By developing strong interpersonal skills, medical office assistants can better serve their clients and provide them with the support they need.

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant

A career as an office assistant can be a great way to get started in the workforce. It’s a job that offers variety, with tasks ranging from answering phones and emails to filing paperwork and preparing mailings. Office assistants also have the opportunity to learn new skills and take on more responsibility as they progress in their careers.

To become an office assistant, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers also require certification in basic office skills, such as typing and computer use.

Related: How to Write a Medical Office Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

Medical office assistants can find advancement opportunities in a number of ways. One is to specialize in a certain area, such as billing or coding. Another is to take on more responsibility within their current position, such as becoming a lead medical office assistant or supervisor. Additionally, medical office assistants with experience and additional education may be able to transition into related roles such as medical transcriptionist, medical records technician, or even registered nurse.

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