The Different Types of Medical Assistants

Medical assistants can be found in a number of different environments in the healthcare industry. Though traditionally they have worked in urgent care facilities, clinics, and ambulatory care centers, medical assistants can now be found in both private and public hospitals, inpatient and outpatient facilities, and assisted living homes. Medical assistants are an essential part of the health care industry. With medical assistants found in nearly aspect of the industry, how do these talented workers differ?

Generally speaking medical assistants assist the physician. They are required to help physicians with patient examinations, take patient history and measure vital signs, administer injections as instructed by the physician, schedule appointments and prepare blood work and other test samples for laboratory tests.  Perhaps one of the most important duties of a medical assistant is preparing electronic health records for patients. Because more and more physicians are moving their patient information online, medical assistants that are skilled with electronic health records are a particularly desirable commodity.

Though many duties may overlap between medical assistants, each kind of medical assistant has specialized and unique responsibilities.  The following is a list of some of the different kinds of medical assistants and their typical duties.

Administrative Medical Assistants

Because every clinic, practice, hospital, and facility needs a good administrative staff, administrative medical assistants are some of the most important medical assistants in the labor force today. Administrative medical assistants often specialize in dealing with insurance companies, knowing the ins and outs of filling out insurance forms. Administrative medical assistants are also responsible for organization and coding of patient information. Some administrative assistants are also responsible for upkeep of the clinic’s supplies and equipment.

Clinical Medical Assistants

Clinical medical assistant’s duties vary from state to state because of different state laws.  These medical assistants are often found helping with laboratory tests, disposing of contaminated supplies, sterilizing medical instruments, instructing about dietary and medication, preparing patients for x-rays, removing stitching, drawing blood, and more. Clinical medical assistants are flexible workers that are adaptable in addition to being able to demonstrate compassion for patients in a professional manner.

Specialized Medical Assistants

Specialized medical assistants specialize in assisting physicians in specific fields, thus they can be found in a wide variety of fields. In addition to the duties and responsibilities of clinical medical assistants, a specialized medical assistant can assist in fields like podiatry, optometry, or ophthalmology.  Specialized medical assistants perform duties specific to their fields. These duties can vary from instructing patients on how to use contact lenses, making castings of feet, developing x rays, and instructing patients on various procedures.