Becoming A Certified Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants

Want a job that is gratifying and challenging? Did you know that it takes as little as nine months to become a medical assistant? You can get educated and certified in under a year and start earning as an entry-level medical assistant. So, are you asking yourself, “What does a medical assistant do?”

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants are responsible for both administrative and clinical tasks. They greet, escort, and talk with patients. Medical assistants are the patient’s liaison between the waiting room up and when they leave the medical office. The medical assistant works closely with doctors and nurses, ensuring that patients have a positive experience. A medical assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Overseeing the schedule of the doctor and office
  • Triaging phone calls as needed
  • Greeting and escorting patients to exam rooms
  • Taking vital signs and reviewing medical histories
  • Collecting lab specimens including blood
  • Administering vaccinations
  • Performing diagnostic tests like EKG
  • Sterilizing instruments and surfaces between patients
  • Managing medical records

How Do You Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

The first step in becoming a certified medical assistant is by graduating from a medical assisting program at a vocational school. A medical assistant program will teach you what you need to know to start working at a physician’s office, medical clinic, or any other medical facility. In the classroom you learn front office skills, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, first aid, and CPR. During lab work, you learn about phlebotomy, EKGs, and many other clinical tasks that you will perform as a certified medical assistant.

The next step involves passing a certification exam from a select number of medical assistant associations. Passing these exams and becoming certified will help you find your first job as a medical assistant and when you are interested in moving up to a more senior level position.

Why Choose a Career as a Medical Assistant?

Careers in medical assisting have many benefits, such as short training programs, a positive work-life balance, flexibility, a supportive environment, and an opportunity to learn. With this information, you can make a better decision whether or not to become a certified medical assistant.

Short Training Programs

In as little as nine months, you can become a certified medical assistant. Most vocational schools focus on what you will need to work as a medical assistant. They prepare you for your first day at work. Much of the learning happens in the lab while being supervised by industry-experienced instructors. This program prepares you for your first day and gives you the confidence to walk into the door of your new job and hit the ground running.

A Positive Work-Life Balance

Most physician offices are open during normal business hours and is when most medical assistant shifts occur. This gives you time to have a life outside of work to exercise, visit with family, take up a hobby, etc. A positive work-life balance is important, so you don’t burn out at your job. Becoming a certified medical assistant may give you that balance.

A Supportive Environment

As a medical assistant, you will work with colleagues that care as much about their patients as you do. Everyone in a medical facility has their job to do, but there is always someone available to support you. A medical staff works as a team. Everyone is needed to give patients a positive outcome.

Opportunity to Learn

Part of being a medical assistant involves learning new equipment and procedures. There is always something new to learn. The medical industry moves fast, and there are new technologies being introduced to physician’s offices all the time, new vaccines, new ways to test a patient’s heart, and more. If you like to learn then becoming a certified medical assistant may be the right career for you.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how long it takes to become a certified medical assistant, it is time to start the journey. Helping others is gratifying, and having a supportive environment makes work a great place to be, especially if it allows you to enjoy life outside of work, too. If you have a passion for medicine and a true desire to help others, then becoming a certified medical assistant may be the right career path for you. Get ready to start a career you will enjoy for years to come.

Are you looking for a good career in healthcare? Ready for an exciting career as a certified medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Who Becomes a Medical Assistant

Healthcare is an attractive field. Jobs are plentiful, flexible, and there’s room for professional growth. But providing hands-on care isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Medical assisting is an ideal career for people who like working with patients but prefer a blend of clinical and administrative responsibilities. You’ll enjoy being a medical assistant if:

You’re Interested in Science and Medicine

If you have an aptitude for science, you’ll appreciate what medical assisting offers. From working with cutting edge technology to exploring the newest in treatments, you’ll have a front-row seat for the most exciting developments in medicine.

During a medical assisting program, you will learn about anatomy, physiology, and phlebotomy. Science is involved in everything you do as a medical assistant.

You’re Passionate About Helping Others

Helping others is part of every profession, but nowhere is it more intimate than in the healthcare field. Working with physically and emotionally vulnerable patients, you’ll have an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in their lives. You will help people from every walk of life. If you wake up in the morning asking yourself how you can make the world a better place, working in the medical field is an excellent place to start.

You Like Working with a Team

Healthcare is a team sport. You’ll never feel alone or unsupported. Colleagues work together on a common mission to provide patients with the highest quality, most comprehensive care possible. Everyone works together. If you thrive on camaraderie and a team-based approach to solving problems, you’ll make a great medical assistant.

As a medical assistant, you will also work with like minded colleagues that care about their patients and want them to have the best outcomes possible. Working with a medical team is supportive, and you will always be able to turn to someone on your team when you need help or just want someone to talk with.

You Prefer to Stay Busy

Healthcare settings are fast paced. Productivity is important because it saves lives. There is also urgent matters that rearrange your schedule each day. If you like to stay busy at work, medical assisting is engaging without being overwhelming.

You Want Your Opinion to Matter

Many employees don’t feel valued at work. They believe managers don’t hear their opinions, and what they contribute to their company’s success is undervalued. However in healthcare, employers realize that each member has a unique connection to patients and therefore, a distinct and valuable point of view.

You Want to Continue to Learn

The learning doesn’t stop once you graduate from the medical assisting diploma program. You have the opportunity to become certified by different organizations like the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). To keep this certification, you will be required to take continuing education classes. Everyday also brings new learning. Whether it is a new medical device, treatment, or procedure, there is always something new to learn as a medical assistant.

You Want to Advance in Your Career

Once you become a medical assistant and graduate with a diploma, you can work in a specialized field even with a little experience. Do you like to work with kids, the elderly, or pregnant moms to be? Regardless of the specialty, you will need to get the prerequisite medical assisting diploma before you move on to specialize. You can stay a medical assistant as long as you want. As a physician’s office medical assistant, you get to help a wide variety of people with many different backgrounds. Two days are never alike.

How Do You Become a Medical Assistant?

The best way to become a medical assistant is to get a vocational school diploma. In order to fully understand all of your responsibilities, it is important to get a formal education. Working on the job as a medical assistant may teach you a few skills, but completing a diploma program will give you a full education. Next time you are looking to specialize or move up the ladder, the diploma will come in handy.

Healthcare is complex, and graduates of a medical assisting program are ready for an entry-level role. Courses prepare students to tackle clinical and administrative responsibilities.

Are There Advancement Opportunities for Medical Assistants?

Medical assistants have a wide range of advancement opportunities. Their diverse skill set is welcomed in any healthcare setting. With experience, they can build on their education and move into supervisory positions or entirely different parts of the medical field. A medical assistant who excels in the lab could become a full-time phlebotomist with a little more training, while someone with a talent for finance or human resources could be an office manager.

The key to advancement is education. A diploma plus experience qualifies medical assistants for certification through professional organizations, such as The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the nation’s largest insurer, mandates medical assistants be certified to enter orders into electronic health records, so credentials make job applicants more attractive to hire. The more education medical assistants receive, the greater their opportunity to get ahead.

Final Thoughts

Do you have a passion for science and medicine? Want to help others on a daily basis? Then becoming a medical assistant may be the right career path for you. Start a medical assisting diploma program today and start help patients tomorrow.

Are you looking for a good career in healthcare? Ready for an exciting career as a medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Med Assistants are Essential

Medical Assistants

In times of crisis, many look to doctors and nurses as essential frontline workers. Public health professionals struggle to disseminate information in a crisis, and they rely on frontline healthcare workers to help patients separate fact from fear. Doctors and nurses are important, but they can’t do it alone. Some forget that medical assistants are essential workers too.

Medical assistants are on the frontlines, assisting doctors and nurses, allowing them to help more patients. Medical assistants manage patients in doctor’s offices and hospitals, helping the patients to reduce anxiety. A crisis can be worrisome, and a good medical assistant has empathy and compassion. They understand what a patient is going through and can help reduce fear through education. Medical assistants can educate patients about proper hygiene, how to prevent the spread of a virus, and when to contact their doctor. Medical assistants perform lifesaving tests and administer essential vaccines. They are responsible for administering virus and disease testing, blood draws and other laboratory testing needed during a crisis. For students interested in a rewarding career as a medical assistant, the time to seek training through an affordable vocational school program is now. Patients are waiting and you are essential.

What are Essential Workers?

An essential worker is someone who is required to work during a business closure in order to meet operational requirements. In this crisis, an essential worker is important to the safety of human life and the protection of property according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Examples include medical professionals, first responders, energy employees, water and sanitation, non-profit and social services organizations, public workers, communication and information technology, child care, financial services, law enforcement personnel, transit and delivery employees, and food processors.

In the health care sector specifically, essential workers include accounting, administrative, admitting, accrediting, certification, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, medical IT, emergency medical workers, urgent care, long-term care workers, inpatient and hospital workers, and community-based service providers. All of these workers are essential to keeping patients safe and healthy during a crisis. Of course, this includes medical assistants.

A medical assistant handles the many details that are an integral part of what is essential. They do both clinical and administrative tasks so doctors and nurses can concentrate on what they do best, treating the ill. Medical assistants are essential workers.

What Do Medical Assistants Do During a Crisis?

Medical assistants provide support for doctors and nurses in private practices and hospitals. Four out of five medical assistants are employed in doctor’s offices, putting them on the frontline of a public health crisis. The regular duties of a medical assistant during a crisis include:

  • Greeting patients
  • Keeping the reception area clean and sterilized
  • Phone call triage
  • Measuring vital signs
  • Drawing blood
  • Performing diagnostic tests
  • Administering medications including vaccinations
  • Assisting with minor surgical procedures
  • Arranging referrals
  • Submitting insurance claims
  • Ordering supplies
  • Patient education

Now more than ever, patients depend on their primary providers, and their medical assistants, for care. During a healthcare crisis, medical assistants use their clinical expertise to ensure patients who need urgent care receive it promptly. During a crisis, time is of the essence.

In a busy office, medical assistants can sanitize common touchpoints such as counters, doorknobs and pens. They can screen patients for symptoms of illness, such as fever. They can remind visitors to wash their hands and stay a safe distance from one another. Medical assistants can also use a patient’s waiting time to educate them about disease prevention. Medical assistants play an essential role during a crisis and are instrumental in saving the lives of their patients.

Why are Medical Assistants Essential Workers?

Many medical assistants are essential, and work side-by-side helping doctors and nurses in this crisis manage more patients, especially during outbreaks. Without medical assistants, patients wouldn’t get the quality of care they deserve. Medical assistants offer direct care to patients, by answering call lights, taking vital signs, administering medication and vaccines prescribed by doctors, and documenting medical histories.

Medical assistants are imperative for lowering costs, improving patient quality of care and achieving better patient outcomes. They are ready at a moment’s notice to drop administrative duties and handle patient intake, respond to emergencies and triage phone calls. Medical assistants help medical facilities and doctor’s offices run smoothly to offer patients a quality experience. They are also discrete when handling sensitive or confidential information. Medical assistants are more than important, they are essential.

Final Thoughts

Medical assistants are essential workers and you can become one in as little as nine months. Many vocational schools even offer online classes to support those at home. Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding and challenging career choice where you can help save lives daily and truly be an essential worker.

Did learning about how medical assistants are essential workers interest you? Ready to work alongside colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate online to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Medical Assistants Are High Demand

Medical Assistants highly sought after

Job opportunities for medical assistants are expected to grow by a remarkable 23% in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 17% more than other healthcare support positions and 5% greater than total occupation growth nationwide. As the need for medical services expands, so does demand for skilled support professionals. For students interested in a career in healthcare, there’s no better time to become a medical assistant than now.

Why is the Demand for Healthcare Increasing?

The need is growing due to several factors, including an aging population, rising chronic disease rates, and advancements in healthcare.

An Aging Population
Before the 1940s, population growth in the United States was relatively stable. But after World War II, soldiers returned to a thriving economy, and couples took the opportunity to start families. Today, the children born in this era, called the Baby Boomers, are in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They are now the largest demographic group in the country, 75 million strong, and as they age, they will need more medical care.

Rising Chronic Disease Rates
Chronic disease rates among all age groups are rising exponentially. Care for these illnesses, including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, is expected to make up more than 50 percent of increases in healthcare spending through 2025 as such medical conditions require more attention, according to the Peterson Center on Healthcare.

Advancements in Healthcare
Medicine is evolving quickly, and advancements will be the new normal from here on out. Illnesses that were once incurable are now treatable, and innovations are improving quality of life for millions, spurring a rising demand for services and qualified personnel to bring them to the public.

Where Do Medical Assistants Fit in?

When patients have access to quality primary care, outcomes are better both medically and financially. As public health officials and insurers seek ways to improve the quality of medicine while lowering costs, the emphasis on preventive, primary care services is growing. With that, however, comes a staffing crisis.

There are currently millions of boomers working in the medical industry, so every retirement means one fewer healthcare worker. Experts estimate that up to a quarter of the medical workforce could be affected by this supply decline in the next ten years.

The rapid growth of healthcare is forcing the development of new staffing models. The nurses who once supported doctors in their clinical and administrative needs are now accepting greater responsibility, leading to a gap in care. Medical assistants are bridging that gap by tackling tasks that require skilled but not specialized attention.

The utilization of medical assistants in private practice has increased by more than 30% in the last two decades. In a hospital or doctor’s office, their duties may include:

  • Triaging phone calls
  • Managing the schedule
  • Greeting patients
  • Maintaining flow through reception areas
  • Taking vital signs
  • Assisting with examinations
  • Obtaining medical specimens
  • Performing basic lab tests
  • Giving injections
  • Overseeing referrals
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Assisting with billing

With their unique blend of clinical and administrative expertise, medical assistants are the ideal liaisons between clients and their healthcare providers, allowing doctors and nurses to focus on what they do best, healing.

As a medical assistant’s role continues to expand, there are opportunities in many settings. However, because most of the growth in the healthcare industry is occurring at the primary care level, the majority of opportunities for medical assistants are in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

The Benefits of Being a Medical Assistant

A job as a medical assistant offers more than just a paycheck, it’s a rewarding career. Benefits include affordable training, opportunity, flexibility, professional respect, room for advancement, excitement and the opportunity to help others.

Affordable Training
Not everyone who wants to work in healthcare can afford the time or fiscal requirements of a college degree. The good news is that while some medical assistants have an associate’s degree, vocational school training can be completed in as little as 9 months.

Opportunity
Few careers offer as much potential for job growth as medical assisting. But what’s even more important is that unlike some professions that face eventual elimination due to automation, healthcare is a people-first career that will always need a human touch.

Flexibility
Because medical assistants are in such high demand, employers are incentivized to create flexible part-time and full-time positions that attract higher numbers of job applicants. Working in a hospital may require chipping in an occasional weekend or holiday, but positions in private practices typically have family-friendly, Monday through Friday schedules.

Professional Respect
Medical assisting is not a new career, it’s been recognized as an occupation since the mid-1950s, and it has its own professional group, the American Association of Medical Assistants. Providers recognize the importance of the work a medical assistant does and the value of their training.

Room for Advancement
Medical assisting can be a steppingstone to other occupations in the healthcare field, including nursing, but it can also be a forever career. With additional training and experience, medical assistants can move into increasingly more responsible positions or seek specialty certification.

Excitement
Trained in both clinical and clerical procedures, medical assistants are jacks-of-all-trades. Even on average days, their responsibilities vary enough to keep things exciting. No two days in medicine are ever like, so while the setting stays the same, challenges continually evolve.

The Opportunity to Help Others
At least 30% of life is spent at work, so it’s no surprise that when surveyed, working with purpose and for the benefit of others consistently tops the list of what employees want. When staff feels like working for a paycheck is their only goal, motivation, morale and productivity decrease.

In healthcare, even simple tasks such as answering the telephone take on a greater sense of urgency and purpose. For students who want to make a difference in the lives of others, a career as a medical assistant is the perfect place to start.

Final Thoughts

Healthcare is growing at an unprecedented pace, and the demand for medical assistants will only increase. A dynamic and rewarding career with flexibility, stability, and room for professional growth could be less than a year away.

Did learning about the high demand for medical assistants interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares the graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.


**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Prepare for A Med Assistant Interview

preparing for med assisting job interview

Candidates succeed in job interviews when their answers match employer expectations. In a medical assisting interview, employers ask questions that reveal the candidates’ skills and whether they are a fit with the medical facility.

Medical assistants should take updated copies of their resume, relevant certificates and licenses to the interview. They should also have researched the medical facility interviewing them.

Interviewers ask questions common to all jobs apart from those specific to a medical assistant interview. Here are seven of the most common questions asked during a medical assisting interview:

Question #1 – Tell me about yourself.

This is an open-ended question intended to help interviewees relax. However, candidates should not talk too much, especially about their personal lives. Instead, they should mention a few interests relevant to medical assisting, such as volunteering, or focus on their professional skills or academics.

Candidates can discuss their employment history, including number of years, locations/facilities worked, as well their various responsibilities as a medical assistant. If asked to elaborate, they can mention taking patient vitals, medical histories, etc. If this will be the candidates first job after graduating, the candidate can talk about relevant work experience and how they work with people offering quality customer service. Candidates can also talk about their externship during the interview and hands-on experience gained while attending a vocational school.

Question #2 – What are your strengths and weaknesses?

While discussing strengths, candidates should avoid boasting. Ideally, they should share some job-related skills they are strong in, along with a few people skills or instances of academic excellence.

They should avoid using use the word “weakness.” Instead, they must talk of “areas that need improvement,” which can be perceived as a positive too. For example: “I am obsessed with completing all daily records diligently.”

Question #3 – Do you like being around people?

Since people skills are very essential for medical assistants, candidates should try to show that they love interacting with others and truly enjoy helping them.

Question #4 – What schedule do you hope to work? Do you have any scheduling restrictions?

Candidates can agree to work whenever needed, on the hope that once they get the job, they might be able to adjust the schedule. They may however refuse to work late hours, overtime or weekends, citing genuine unavoidable reasons.

Question #5 – How do you protect the rights and confidentiality of patients?

Candidates’ answers should focus on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) training they received and how they apply it by being discreet in their dealings with patients and their records.

Question #6 – Describe a difficult situation at your workplace and how you handled it.

Candidates should talk about a real experience, where their actions helped resolve the situation. They should also share the positive aspects of the experience, without blaming others.

If this is their first job, they can refer to instances from their training, externship or even from their personal lives.

Question #7 – What do you like most about being a medical assistant, and what do you like the least?

Although many candidates might say that they like everything about the job, it is better to say what they specifically like and why. Candidates can be open about what they find difficult, which would help employers to provide training or support in those areas.

Usually, interviewers close the interview by asking if the candidates have any questions for them. The answer should always be a “yes,” followed by at least one question — maybe about the possibility of future advancements or training. However, if interviewers have already covered everything, they can ask a general question about the working atmosphere or locality.

Did learning about medical assisting interview questions interest you? Ready to work with colleagues who want to help their patients stay healthy? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

 

Learn To Use Medical Software

medical software training

Are you good with computers and like to help others? Medical assisting might be the right career for you. During the course of daily operations, at a physician’s office or medical facility, the medical assistant will learn to use medical software and electronic health records (EHRs). The use of medical software like PMS and EHRs is growing and the medical assistant will need to become comfortable using different software tools to manage patient interactions and medical information. A general comfort with learning new computer software interfaces and data entry dashboards is a must.

Medical Software

Medical software deals with the day-to-day operations of a medical practice. Medical software allows medical assistants the ability to keep electronic health records, capture patient demographics, schedule appointments, track patients, manage medical codes, perform billing tasks, manage claims and generate reports. Medical software can be purchased separately or as part of a software system. The main uses of medical software include:

Keeping Electronic Health Records – management of records is important, and many paper records are being converted to electronic records. Medical software allows the medical assistant to search millions of documents and find the right patient records in seconds rather than hours. These software packages can also streamline the transfer of medical records from one medical practice to another.

Appointment Scheduling – allows medical assistants to create and track upcoming patient visits. This function helps keep a medical facility or doctor’s office running smoothly and doctors continuously working.

Patient Tracking – medical software helps medical staff keep track of patients whether they are admitting, discharging, or checking them in at a doctor’s office or managing which departments a patient visits during an appointment. At urgent care and hospitals, medical assistants can keep track of the places a patient goes and what they need based on a physician’s diagnosis. The Software can also track prescriptions and treatment options.

Claims and Statements – this software reduces the time medical assistants spend on billing and claims. It also allows them to manage medical codes easier.

Manage Medical Codes – medical assistants are responsible for remembering many different coding systems for claims, record keeping, and billing. These coding systems include CPT, HCPCS and ICD-10. With the help of medical software, medical assistants can seamlessly add codes to patient records without rope memorization or cheat sheets that cover the computer monitor.

Reporting – reporting capabilities to allow medical assistants to extract detailed data on financial performance and patient financial history.

EHRs and the Changes for Medical Assistants

Electronic health records (EHRs) are being adopted by physicians, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Medical assistants should learn the Electronic Health Record software to better manage patient records. Some of the benefits of training with EHRs for medical assistants include:

• Digital formatting of information to be shared over a secure network
• The ability to better decipher physicians’ hand-writing, minimizing mistakes
• Decreases billing processing time for a more accurate billing system
• Better tracking of care and outcomes
• Helps trigger warnings and reminders
• Easier to send and receive orders, reports, and results

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHRs)?

An electronic health record (EHR) is an official health record for a patient that is managed with the use of medical software and shared among medical facilities and physicians. EHRs may record a range of data, including medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, vital signs, personal statistics and billing information.

EHR systems are designed to store data accurately and keep track of a patient over the life of care. The EHR system eliminates the need to track down a patient’s previous paper medical records making sure data is accurate and legible. The EHR system can reduce risk of data replication as there is only one modifiable file.

EHR Software Programs

A medical assistant must learn to use medical software in the course of education and on the job training. Electronic health records (EHRs) play a vital role in the medical industry today and training to use electronic health records is vital for medical assistants to succeed. There are many different EHR software programs.

Final Thoughts

Saving time with medical software will not make medical assistant jobs obsolete, as many believe technology will do. This software will help medical assistants work much more efficiently and be available for the growth in the population and demand for healthcare. With the national demand for medical assistants growing 19 percent in the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, now is the time to become a medical assistant. It can be accomplished in as little as 9 months and you could be helping others as an essential worker on the frontlines.

Do you have an interest in both medicine and technology? Are you interested in learning more about medical assistant software training? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. PCI Health Training Center in Dallas & Richardson, Texas, is a private career training school committed to meeting the educational challenge of educating and graduating men and women who are qualified and job-ready for employment in the growing health care industry.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Why Do Med Assistants Take Vital Signs

Why Do Med Assistants Take Vital Signs

Vital signs are clinical measurements of the body’s essential functions. These readings help doctors diagnose disease and other medical conditions. Performed by a medical assistant, it’s a routine but critical task that requires technical expertise, skill, and accuracy.

What Are the Different Vital Signs?

The four principal vital signs are temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. Measures of clinical significance, including height, weight, and peripheral oxygen saturation, aren’t always a part of vital signs in all doctor’s offices; it depends on their specialty. Oxygen saturation is the percentage of oxygen in peripheral tissue and is a more valuable indicator of health as part of a cardiac workup than a gynecological exam.

When Does a Medical Assistant Take Vital Signs?

Medical assistants take vital signs at each visit. Changes in temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations can indicate an acute illness, but patterns over time are even more telling. A single elevated blood pressure reading, for example, is rarely clinically significant on its own, but an up or down trend over months could indicate a serious disorder.

How Are Vital Signs Taken?

Medical assistants take vital signs using the latest equipment and these methods:

Temperature

The normal adult body temperature is variable. 98.6 is only an average. The healthy range is between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature is measured orally, rectally, tympanic, and on skin.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force blood exerts on artery walls during a two-part cardiac cycle. Systolic blood pressure, measured when the heart beats, reflects the strength of the muscle. It’s reported “over” the diastolic measurement, which is taken when the heart is relaxed. Together readings paint a picture of the patient’s cardiovascular function.

A medical assistant takes a patient’s BP with a sphygmomanometer, a device that measures the rise and fall of a column of mercury as air is added to, or released from, a cuff wrapped around the upper arm. The medical assistant records results as millimeters of mercury, or “mm Hg.”

Pulse

Arteries vibrate with every heartbeat. Medical assistants measure heart rate, or “pulse,” over the arteries in the wrist, neck or groin by counting the pulsations for 15 seconds and multiplying the result by four.

The rhythm and character of the beats are also noted. Patients with abnormal heart rates or rhythms require special care. Medical assistants use a stethoscope to listen to heartbeats directly because it’s easier to detect abnormalities.

Respiratory Rate

A patient’s respiratory rate is how many breaths they take in 60 seconds, adults average 12–16. Stress and anxiety can cause unexpected changes in how people breathe, so medical assistants count while making chit chat, so patients are unaware.

Height

Medical assistants measure height in inches or centimeters against a vertical surface. Using the same device and a consistent technique at each visit ensures accuracy.

Weight

Medical assistants obtain weight in pounds or kilograms using a standing scale. A few pounds gained or lost can be clinically significant, so precision counts.

Peripheral Oxygen Saturation

Oxygen saturation readings indicate how much hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance in blood, is reaching the brain and peripheral tissues. Readings are taken with a pulse oximeter that clamps to the patient’s fingertip. The medical assistant records results as a percentage. 95 to 100 is normal. Cold fingers and dark nail polish may cause abnormally low results.

Why Are Vital Signs Taken

Taking vital signs at every visit gives doctors a wealth of information that serves several important purposes.

It Establishes a Baseline

Changes in a patients’ vital signs can only be detected if they’ve been regularly monitored. Readings vary between individuals, and it’s essential not to make treatment decisions without knowing what’s normal for each patient.

It Can Diagnose Illness and Disease

A change in vital signs is often the first indicator of an acute illness. Specific patterns are recognized as indicative of certain conditions. An elevated temperature, pulse and respiratory rate, for example, may suggest infection.

Doctors use trends over time to diagnose disease. A few high blood pressure readings could be flukes, but if it remains elevated, it reflects hypertension, a primary disorder often rooted in heart or kidney disease. Accurate vital signs tell the doctor what to look for and what steps to take.

It’s Used to Calculate and Adjust Medication Dosages

Many medications are prescribed based on:

Heart Rate – Drugs for abnormal heart rhythms can lower heart rate too much. Patients on these medications are asked to check their pulse daily before taking a dose, adjusting it up or down based on rate.

Blood Pressure – Many people’s blood pressure is too variable for a preset dose of antihypertensive drugs, so instead, physicians prescribe a range of BP-related doses. These patients monitor their readings at home and take more or less medication based on the results.

BMI – Also known as body mass index, this reading is used to calculate dosage for a wide range of medications, from antibiotics to anticoagulants. BMI is a calculation using a patient’s height and weight, so those measurements must be accurate.

Oxygen Saturation – Levels are used to determine if someone needs supplemental oxygen or breathing medications. Dosages can be tricky because many people with respiratory issues also have heart disease, and doses for each condition vary. It’s a balancing act made safer by taking vital signs.

Final Thoughts

Medical assistants perform a broad range of administrative and clinical functions, but among the most meaningful is taking timely, accurate vital signs. These essential measures are a window into a patient’s health and a must for physicians to make sound, therapeutic decisions.

Did learning about taking vital signs interest you? Ready to become a medical assistant? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Math For Med Assisting

Lady and Doctor

Being a Medical Assistant can be a very rewarding career. There’s something very fulfilling about helping someone with their health issues or pain relief. Medical Assistants rely on several necessary skills for success in the field. Math is a skill that plays a very important role in the healthcare profession, especially for Medical Assistants. You may not have realized the importance of accurate math skills for Medical Assistants, but it is used in several different ways throughout their day: such as calculating medication, metric system conversions, vital signs, lab tests and while conducting clerical office work.

Calculating Medication

A doctor’s prescription may be filled by Medical Assistants to administer medication to patients. In measuring the medication, the Medical Assistant needs to gauge the correct dosage. It’s vitally important to calculate the correct amount, as giving too much or too little to a patient could cause serious harm.

Ratios and proportions are also used when calculating how much medication to give to a patient. The patient’s weight dictates the medication’s dosage. Sometimes micrograms will have to be converted into milligrams by setting up proportions.

In calculating medications for children, one formula to use is Clark’s rule. Graphs and rubrics are also used in determining the correct weight and height. A Medical Assistant will use the weight and height of a patient to create a graph. If a baby scale is unavailable, a Medical Assistant may have to calculate a baby’s weight by weighing an adult and the baby together and then subtracting the adult’s weight from the total.

Metric System

The medical field primarily uses the metric system for measurements. It’s the most common measurement system in the world. Many believe the metric system is a more accurate way to give medication. Decimal points are also often used in converting metrics as a short-cut. Medical Assistants must have knowledge of converting the customary U.S. measurements into metric measurements. Accurate calculations with those measurements is written in unit notations.

Vital Signs

One of the most important vital signs Medical Assistants will take is the pulse/heart rate. They will need math skills for taking respiratory rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
A person’s heart rate is measured by the number of times their heart beats per minute. A patient’s pulse can be taken by placing two fingers (not a thumb) at their wrist over the artery and multiplying the number of beats counted in 15 seconds by 4 to get the heart rate. Respiratory rates can be calculated by watching someone breathe for 15 seconds and multiplying the number of breaths taken by 4.

Blood pressure is measured by two different numbers; the higher number is the systolic pressure and the lower number is the diastolic pressure. When taken, it’s written as a ratio figure with the systolic pressure number over the diastolic pressure number. A Medical Assistant may need mathematical skills to read a thermometer and convert Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Clerical Office Work

Medical Assistants often assist with patient billing. They must know basic addition and subtraction to calculate bills for the cost of the office visit, plus any procedures that were done. A Medical Assistant may call the patient’s insurance provider to verify their insurance and the amount the insurance company will pay toward the patient’s bill and then calculate what the patient owes, minus what their insurance pays.

Did learning about the importance of math for Medical Assistants interest you? Interested in working with colleagues who want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the Medical Assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant programs prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a Medical Assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information..

Can A Med Assistant Draw Blood

Medical Assistants
Medical assistants play a critical front-line role in healthcare. Trained to handle both administrative and clinical tasks, their well-rounded skills are a perfect match for today’s busy private practices. From managing the front office to taking vital signs, a medical assistant has a wide range of responsibilities, but few are as essential as venipuncture. It’s one of many technical skills a medical assistant learns in school.What is Venipuncture?
Venipuncture — “veni”, Latin for vein and “puncture”, meaning to penetrate, is the process of drawing blood from a vein. It’s the simplest way to collect cells and plasma for chemical study. Also known as phlebotomy, medical assistants perform venipuncture in most doctor’s offices when lab work is ordered as a value-added service for patients.

Why Does a Medical Assistant Draw Blood?
A medical assistant draws blood only under a physician’s order. Samples are used to diagnose and treat disease, type and crossmatch for transfusions, and monitor therapeutic drug levels.

Diagnose and Treat Disease
Changes in body chemistry can reflect illness. Blood tests detect conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Clotting abnormalities
  • Heart, kidney and liver disease
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Type and Crossmatch for Transfusions
The purpose of a “type and crossmatch” is to ensure blood is compatible for transfusions. It has three components, ABO-Rh typing, crossmatching and antibody screening. Typing categorizes blood by group — A, B, AB, O — and by Rh factor — positive or negative, while crossmatching checks a mix of donor and recipient blood for compatibility. Antibody screening looks for additional antibodies that could cause dangerous reactions. In a doctor’s office, a medical assistant may collect blood samples for preliminary typing and crossmatching before planned surgical procedures or in-office transfusions.

Monitor Therapeutic Drug Levels
Certain drugs, such as anticoagulants, anticonvulsants and some antibiotics, have a narrow therapeutic window, too little isn’t beneficial while too much can be toxic. Checking blood samples periodically ensures that prescribed medications are safe and having the desired effect.

The Venipuncture Process
Venipuncture requires both technical and people skills. Sound clinical judgment is a must. The process is designed to reduce errors, improve patient comfort and obtain the most accurate results. There are a few steps in the venipuncture process, they include:

Step #1: Check the Test Requisition
Identify the tests to be performed and verify that patients are properly prepared. Some analyses require fasting or taking medication before the draw.

Step #2: Explain the Process
Patients have the right to know the purpose of testing and what to expect. Proceed only with full consent.

Step #3: Position the Patient
A sturdy chair with armrests is ideal, but a patient with a history of fainting during venipuncture should lie down for safety. Fear and anxiety are best addressed before the procedure.

Step #4: Gather Needed Equipment
Tools for venipuncture include gloves, rubbing alcohol, needles, tourniquets, sample collection tubes, gauze, tape and bandages.

Gloves – all blood products could potentially be contaminated. Medical assistants should protect themselves with gloves.

Rubbing Alcohol – used to disinfect the area where the venipuncture will be performed. Combined with a brisk scrubbing motion, rubbing alcohol doesn’t sterilize skin, but it removes dirt and most bacteria.

Needles – come in a range of lengths and diameters for different veins. Diameter is noted in gauge from 18 for adults to 27 for children. The lower the number, the larger the diameter.

Lengths range from 0.5 to 1.5 inches. Short needles are usually best for superficial vessels, such as those on top of the hand. Longer needles help draw blood from the medial cubital vein at the bend of the elbow.

The medical assistant chooses the diameter and length based on the size of the patient, the location of the vein and the angle of approach.

Tourniquets – confines blood to the area from which it will be drawn. It keeps the vein plump and gives it a firm texture through which to insert the needle.

Sample Collection Tubes – venipuncture was once done with a needle and syringe, but new color-coded tubes with required additives already inside have simplified the process. Rubber-covered needles are screwed into plastic holders, and once inserted in the vein, the medical assistant presses the tubes onto the back of the needle. The pull of the vacuum allows blood to flow on its own.

Gauze, Tape and Bandages – when venipuncture is complete, the site is compressed with a layer of gauze to stop bleeding, and the medical assistant applies an adhesive bandage to protect the patient’s clothing. If the patient has sensitive skin or is allergic to bandage adhesive, secure the gauze with light, hypoallergenic paper tape instead.

Step #5: Assess Veins
Veins may be challenging to draw from if they’re too small, irregularly shaped or deep. Finding the best vessel improves the odds of success on the first draw attempt.

Step #6: Wash Hands
Gloves protect a medical assistant from contaminated blood but washing hands with soap and water protects the patient from infection.

Step #7: Disinfect the Site
Scrub the venipuncture site with an alcohol pad or alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Select tests require using alternative agents, such as chlorhexidine.

Step #8: Apply the Tourniquet
Medical assistants should apply tourniquets tight enough to constrict blood flow but not so tight as to cause pain. It can take several minutes to complete a draw, so ask the patient for feedback.

Step #9: Anchor the Vein
With the patient’s arm secure on an armrest, a vein can be anchored by placing a thumb just below the site. It provides stability and makes the vessel less likely to roll.

Step #10: Puncture the Vein
Insert the needle into the vein with a quick jab at a 30-degree angle. Press a tube into place and fill, each has a minimum fill line. Remove and replace tubes as needed until all samples are drawn.

Step #11: Wrapping Up
To avoid blood spurt, loosen the tourniquet before removing the needle. Cover the site with gauze as the needle is withdrawn, and when the bleeding stops, apply tape or a bandage.

Discard the used needle into a sharps container and carefully label tubes per workplace policy, mislabeled samples are usually rejected. Before patients leave, let them know when results can be expected and how to receive them.

Final Thoughts
Venipuncture isn’t a job requirement in all doctor’s offices. But as practices offer more on-site services for patient convenience, it’s a valuable skill that breeds opportunity. With experience, medical assistants can seek phlebotomy certification and open the door for future opportunities. It’s a great way to become indispensable to an employer and grow a rewarding career.

Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.

Qualities Of A Good Medical Assistant

Becoming a medical assistant requires a diploma from a vocational school and skills that are vital for the job. Candidates must also possess several personal qualities that ensure they are able to interact with patients as well as members of the healthcare team.

Quality #1: Effective Communicator

A medical assistant must learn medical terminology in order to understand professional conversations regarding medical conditions, diagnostics and treatments. In addition to communicating with members of the medical team, good medical assistants must have the ability to translate the terminology into lay-person terms that patients can understand.

Communication is a two-way street. A medical assistant must also possess good listening skills. Medical assistants listen to patients explain their symptoms and concerns. The medical assistant must answer questions to the best of their knowledge. When interviewing a patient, they need to know how to obtain all of the pertinent information from the patient to ensure the physician has the facts necessary to make an appropriate diagnosis. Good listening skills are also necessary when receiving instruction from physicians and nurses. Following an examination, patients may ask a medical assistant to clearly explain any procedures they must undergo and the treatment they will receive.

Quality #2: Compassionate

A medical assistant may encounter patients experiencing pain. Patients or parents may express fear concerning a potential diagnosis or condition. Medical assistants must offer compassion and support. Patients must feel that the medical team understands their concerns and has sympathy for their emotional state. The qualities of compassion and understanding help alleviate anxiety and encourage a sense of calm in patients of all ages.

Quality #3: Outgoing

Throughout each work day, medical assistants interact with a variety of patients, physicians, nurses and other members of the medical team. At times, the medical assistant may need clarification concerning a particular task. They must be able to ask the questions necessary to stay informed. Many of the conversations occur in person. Some of the conversations occur over the telephone. In any instance, a medical assistant must be a “people person.” This occupation is not for someone who is shy or withdrawn.

Quality #4: Nonjudgmental

A medical assistant may encounter patients who require medical treatment as a result of a prior unwise decision. Medical assistants may meet patients who have lifestyle choices or who are from cultures that are in stark contrast to their own. Regardless of the circumstance, the professional behavior of the medical assistant requires that they do not pass judgment on others. It is also unprofessional for a medical assistant to judge or gossip about patients or other employees. During their career, medical assistants may encounter ethical and moral issues but, as a member of the medical team, a medical assistant’s main concern is to always provide the best possible care for their patients.

Quality #5: Self-Controlled

Patients consult with medical professionals in order to receive the treatment they need to maintain their health and well-being. The field often presents several emotional challenges. Medical assistants may interact with patients exhibiting a wide range of emotions. At times it is difficult not to become emotionally attached or affected by the emotions displayed by others. However, despite what a medical assistant thinks or feels in the moment, they must display a professional attitude toward the patient and others.

Medical assistants may encounter people who are less than personable. Medical staff and patients may, at times, become frustrated or angry. In these cases, the medical assistant must have the ability to take another person’s personal temperament in stride and not allow the encounter to prevent them from performing their duties.

Quality #6: Calm Under Pressure

Physicians’ offices, quick-care clinics or similar medical facilities are bustling with activity throughout the day. Staff members pitch in and manage a number of responsibilities and assignments. During the course of the day, a medical assistant might encounter ranting patients or demanding members of the medical team, in addition to trying to fulfill their own duties. At times, an eight-hour shift may seem like a never-ending array of demands. Under these circumstances, the job can easily become stressful. A medical assistant must be able to handle multiple tasks and deal with difficult situations as they arise with a calm, controlled and cool-headed demeanor.

Quality #7: Reliable

Reliability is one of the most desirable qualities any employee can possess. Medical employees are expected to arrive at the agreed upon time and to accomplish the assigned duties within their scope of practice. Other members of the health care team rely on medical assistants to behave and act in a professional manner that appropriately represents the facility in which they are employed.

Quality #8: Honest

By being an honest person, a medical assistant is better able to establish trusting relationships with both patients and colleagues. When explaining procedures and treatments with patients, they must resist the urge to sugar coat the experience. Likewise, if a medical assistant makes a mistake, they should admit the error, make the necessary corrections, make amends and strive to improve. Co-workers will not view someone who engages in deceptive behavior as trustworthy.

Quality #9: Integrity

The quality of integrity can be described as how someone acts when others are not around to witness their behavior. The trait must be displayed when interacting with co-workers or in an examination room with a patient. Patient information is another area in which integrity has a role. The HIPAA Privacy Act protects patient information. Personal patient information should never be shared with people outside of the medical team responsible for that individual’s care. Behavior and conversations in and around the workplace must be both professional and discreet.

Quality #10: Well Organized

The many tasks that a medical assistant might complete in a day require that the individual is well organized. In addition to visiting with patients and consulting with colleagues, the medical assistant is required to complete various documents. They may need to provide medical professionals with laboratory tests and other pertinent information needed to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment. The various tasks must be completed at specific times during the day. The medical assistant needs to manage their time accordingly to accomplish their duties to the best of their ability in the time frame allowed.

Quality #11: Adaptable

Adaptability is a good trait to possess. A medical assistant must be able to adjust their normal schedule to accommodate sudden change. They may need to use problem-solving skills in order to manage all that is required in the moment. Adaptability also helps when dealing with the many different personalities that medical assistants encounter. As their career progresses, medical assistants may need to learn additional skills or gain advanced knowledge. It is in the best interest of the medical assistant to embrace change as needed.

Did learning about the qualities that make a good medical assistant interest you? Interested in working with colleagues that want to help their patients stay healthy? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant programs prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist, Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

**PCI firmly upholds its policy of nondiscrimination. Inquiries regarding policy may be directed to TitleIXCoordinator@pcihealth.com.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who complete the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.pcihealth.edu/consumer-information.