Medical professionals are today’s new heroes, they answer the call when their communities are in need. But for every doctor and nurse on the front lines during this public health crisis, there are support specialists who manage the administrative intricacies of healthcare, giving licensed providers more time to spend with patients. Who are these behind the scenes champions? They’re medical office assistants, and they’re in higher demand than ever.
What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?
Medical office assistants work with a team of medical professionals committed to top-quality patient care. As the business part of medicine becomes more complex, they fill a unique role.
By handling the full spectrum of clerical tasks that are a fundamental part of every healthcare visit, they allow physicians and nurses to better focus on their clinical duties. It’s a vital non-clinical role that quickens care and makes it safer and more efficient.
A medical office assistant’s responsibilities may include:
- Managing the switchboard
- Scheduling appointments
- Providing general information
- Overseeing the reception area
- Checking in patients
- Transcribing doctor’s notes
- Maintaining medical records
- Filling out insurance claims
- Light Coding and billing
- Light bookkeeping
- Ordering supplies
Why are Medical Office Assistants in Such High Demand?
The demand for medical office assistants isn’t new, it was rising well before the pandemic. With thousands of Baby Boomers reaching retirement age daily, the need for preventive healthcare services is increasing.
Doctor’s offices are leading the way in providing care for vulnerable seniors as they age, serving as portals through which they can access a variety of community services, but they can’t do it alone. Medical facilities need highly qualified support staff to expand their services and make them more accessible to the public.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical office assistants is expected to rise more than 16-percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than other occupations on average. The current shortage is an issue the pandemic underscores.
While medical workers are always essential, they’re indispensable in a healthcare emergency. In some industries, professionals can work during a pandemic while allowing office functions, such as billing, to slide, but not in healthcare. Documentation and care are linked. What occurs in the front office is as important as what happens in the exam room.
When a patient sees their doctor, it’s just a single event in a bigger picture. Verifying details from demographics to insurance policy numbers is a must, safe continuity of care and timely insurance reimbursement depend on it. In a pandemic, public health departments rely on accurate patient data and properly coded insurance forms for data about disease trends. Without a medical office assistant to take on these responsibilities, vital details could easily be lost, and ultimately, patients would suffer.
Why Consider a Career as a Medical Office Assistant?
There are many ways to help the public during a crisis, but for students considering a career in healthcare, there’s no better time to seek training as a medical office assistant than now.
Getting a vocational school education is quick and cost-effective. Students attending full-time can be done and ready to earn in as little as six months. Programs give students the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for entry-level positions. Courses cover general office management, computerized records applications, and insurance billing. Although medical office assistants have no clinical responsibilities, training in medical terminology, law and ethics helps prepare students to function confidently in a busy healthcare environment.
After graduation, most medical office assistants work in private practices, but roles are expanding to hospitals and clinics. Graduates can help the country through tough times while nurturing a career in a respected field with opportunities, flexible schedules and room for advancement.
The job is fast-paced and never boring, there’s always something new and exciting to learn, and it’s personally fulfilling. A medical office assistant makes a difference in the lives of the people they serve. There are few professions requiring so little training that have as much potential.
Choosing a new career path isn’t easy. Students are taking a risk with their time and money, so it’s essential to evaluate the options and consider which occupations will remain relevant in the future. The good news for medical office assistants is that while the country won’t always be in the grip of a pandemic, healthcare workers will forever be essential.
Did reading about the demand for medical office assistants interest you? Ready to become a medical office assistant? The Medical Office Assistant Program is designed to prepare a graduate to work as an entry-level medical front office assistant, receptionist, insurance biller, insurance collector, appointment scheduler, medical secretary, or medical records clerk in health care centers, clinics, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and medical billing offices. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical office assistant and start a rewarding career today.
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For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.