PCDI Canada Blog

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Written by PCDI Canada on Saturday, 29 September 2018. Posted in Career, Healthcare

Medical Office Assistant and Senior Woman Patient Doing Intake

Behind every successful business is a support person who makes it all happen all day, every day: the office assistant. In a large corporation, it’s very likely there’s a team of them. Few business can provide products or services without solid behind-the-scenes support. While executives are directing, doctors are diagnosing, and salespeople are selling, somebody has to be organizing all the tasks and tools it takes to make those things happen. And that’s where office assistants come in.

Office assistants can take many forms. Administrative assistants, receptionists, secretaries, clerks, and executive assistants are variations of the job. People in these roles are responsible for a variety of routine tasks around an office. They may specialize in certain departmental functions–like reception, legal, or IT. They also may specialize in a certain industry–like education, banking, or publishing. In the healthcare world, medical office assistants are responsible for clerical needs specific to the medical field. They have specialized knowledge for working in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and allied healthcare businesses.

The Medical Office Assistant Job Description

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) took a survey of medical office assistants and created a standard job description. Then they designed an exam to qualify job seekers for that role. The Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam tests a student's ability to meet a job description that includes:

  • greeting patients and other office visitors
  • patient intake (acquiring personal data, insurance info, etc.)
  • scheduling patient appointments
  • arrangement of patient diagnostic tests and procedures
  • general patient communications
  • compliance with patient privacy and workplace safety law
  • data entry/maintenance of medical records
  • basic financial management (patient payments, insurance claims, office petty cash, etc.)
  • mail preparation/delivery/receipt
  • knowledge of Medicare/Medicaid services
  • general office management (opening/closing, staffing/attendance, purchasing supplies, etc.)
  • telephone and written communications
  • basic computer skills
  • knowledge of basic medical terminology and abbreviations

In addition to having the quantifiable skills above, medical office assistants should be helpers who find it rewarding to work with people–especially people who are ill. They should be clean and organized, and proactive problem solvers who can anticipate the needs of their patients and employers.

Effective medical office assistants are priceless when it comes to running a successful healthcare business. If you think you’ve got what it takes to help a hospital, private practice, or allied health company provide the best possible customer service and patient care, explore the Medical Office Assistant career program available online through PCDI Canada. You can start moving toward a new career today!

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PCDI Canada

PCDI Canada

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