Is a Medical Office Assistant The Same as a Receptionist?

Is a Medical Office Assistant The Same as a Receptionist?

People seeking an entry-level job in the field of healthcare administration may look at the job of a medical receptionist and that of a medical office assistant and wonder what the difference is. Both roles share many similar tasks, and some medical offices may use the two terms interchangeably, but there are a few key differences in these jobs.

What is the Difference Between a Receptionist and a Medical Office Assistant?

A receptionist is usually the first person that a patient sees when entering a doctor’s office. Receptionists check patients in and out, answer phones, and may schedule appointments. They may be the the “gatekeeper” between the doctor and office visitors.

A medical office assistant, on the other hand, has a much more comprehensive list of duties. While a medical office assistant doesn’t provide direct care to patients, their duties do make it easier for doctors and nurses to do their jobs. As the primary assistant in the medical office, their attention to detail and patient insurance filings improves the overall level of care the office provides patients.

Job Duties of a Medical Office Assistant

Each medical facility may have different specific duties for a medical assistant, but in general, you can expect some of the daily job duties to include the following:

  • Maintain confidential patient medical records
  • Process insurance reimbursement and payments
  • Determine coverage for each patient according to their insurance policy specifics
  • Act as a Front Office manager and perform office manager duties
  • Conduct collections as per facility rules and regulations
  • Code medical treatments for insurance billing

Medical Office Assistants must have good computer skills, as they may be required to use complex medical coding platforms, and a close eye for detail, as the accuracy and completeness of patient records is largely their responsibility. A medical office assistant should also have great interpersonal skills, as they will be dealing with a wide range of patients, many of whom may not fully understand their insurance policies or what is and is not covered.

A medical office assistant may also need to have a working knowledge of medical procedure codes and the phrasing of insurance policies, as most of their tasks will pertain to these.

Education and Training Required To Become a Medical Office Assistant

At PCI Health Training Center, we can provide the education and training required to become a medical office assistant in as little as six months! Our certification program includes classroom learning under the guidance of experienced educators, with topics that include:

  • EHR procedures
  • Managing medical records
  • Learning procedural codes for billing purposes
  • Overview of basic medical terminology
  • First aid and CPR

The program also covers practical training with hands-on opportunities to put your classroom learning into practice. Our program includes a 200-hour externship as a medical office assistant in a medical center, hospital, doctor’s office, or other similar care facility.

Ready To Start Training for a Career as a Medical Office Assistant?

If you’re ready to get started in the medical field, an office assistant is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn more about healthcare administration. At PCI Health Training Center, we have a medical office assistant program, so call us today to get started!


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