Administrative Medical Assistants

If you are looking for a career that you can enter quickly and that will provide you with a challenging work environment and a nice salary, you may want to consider becoming an administrative medical assistant.

Administrative medical assistants are responsible for managing the front desk operations of a hospital, physician’s office, or other medical facility so that doctors and other medical staff are free to provide the highest level of care to patients. In large facilities, administrative medical assistants work as part of a team, and are often responsible for managing multiple tasks in a high-pace work environment.

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What Is an Administrative Medical Assistant?

Administrative medical assistants are trained professionals working in a role that requires them to provide customer service when working with patients, as well as administrative support for medical facility staff.

With the mandates put in place by HIPAA and JACHO, administrative medical assistants must also stay current on all regulations and policies regarding the collection, storage, and dissemination of sensitive patient data.

Administrative medical assistants are responsible for a multitude of tasks that include communicating with patients, scheduling appointments, electronic medical coding, filing insurance claims, maintaining records, as well as accounting and billing. Administrative medical assistants are key players in providing healthcare facility support services. They are responsible for everything from making sure medical records are accurate to ensuring that medical facilities run smoothly.

Ideal Characteristics

Administrative medical assistants must have excellent people skills since they will spend most of their workday interacting with medical staff and patients. Whether answering phones, writing letters, or greeting patients, medical assistants must be both personable and professional. Because they may have to deal with busy physicians, moody patients, or uncompromising insurance companies, it is vital that administrative medical assistants are able to handle stress without losing their cool.

Administrative medical assistants must be adept at multitasking. The job often requires them to  remember large amounts of information and handle multiple tasks at once, all while working in a bustling environment. The most successful medical assistants are able to stay calm and clearheaded, even when overwhelmed with a multitude of tasks.

The ability to handle stress is also very important, as administrative medical assistants often work with people who are stressed, tired, sick, or even dying. The most successful medical assistants take steps to release stress and calm themselves after the workday ends.

Skills Needed

Administrative medical assisting is a skilled profession that is best suited to those with field-related knowledge developed through formal training. Administrative medical assistants must be excellent communicators and use impeccable spelling and grammar when completing professional documents or communicating in writing. In addition, administrative medical assistants must be highly proficient in the use of computers and common applications like word processing and spreadsheets.

Since administrative medical assistants often handle billing and light bookkeeping, they need to be good with numbers and have a good attention to detail. Administrative medical assistants must be comfortable with handling money and recording transactions accurately, even in a busy environment.

Finally, administrative medical assistants must be familiar with medical coding, insurance billing practices, and software that is commonly used in medical facility offices.

Accredited medical assisting programs provide graduates with all of these skills, and more.

Nature of the Work

Administrative medical assistants work in well-lit, comfortable settings and typically work a 40-hour week. Depending upon the needs of the practice, the assistant may have to work evenings, weekends, or even on a part-time basis.

During the course of a normal workday, administrative medical assistants will perform much of the clerical work required to keep medical facilities running efficiently. This includes answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, taking and recording payments, as well as filing and pulling patient records. Administrative medical assistants may also fill out insurance forms, communicate with insurance companies, track inventories and order supplies. It is also common for administrative medical assistants to schedule patient hospital admissions and laboratory tests. Depending upon the size of the practice, administrative medical assistants may also be required to perform clinical tasks as directed by the physician.

Education and Training

There are many formal medical assistant programs that can prepare you to become an administrative medical assistant. You may choose to earn your degree in a traditional classroom setting, or through one of the many online schools that are available. Regardless of the format you choose, make sure your program is properly accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Degree programs in medical assisting consist of comprehensive instruction in medical terminology, body structure, kinesiology, healthcare laws, pharmacology, and ethics. A quality program will also include classes in patient scheduling, healthcare data management, insurance filing and reimbursement, bookkeeping, medical billing and coding, automated office management, and much more.

Becoming an Administrative medical assistant will provide you with a great career and ample job opportunities. In this position, you can enjoy working with a team of dedicated professionals while earning a salary of $30,000 or more, depending upon where you work and your specific job title.

If you are ready to enter this dynamic career field, the first step is to find an accredited medical assisting program and start your formal training. If you’re ready to begin, we offer a comprehensive list of accredited medical assistant programs that can be taken online.

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