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The Roles and Responsibilities of a Medical Administrative Assistant

Are you someone that’s always organized? Do you have exceptional people skills? Have you always wanted a high-demand career where you can focus on helping others?

If you answered yes to those questions, you could have a long and lucrative career as a medical administrative assistant.

The medical administrative assistant field is booming. Plenty of doctor’s offices, hospitals, and clinics are looking for people that can juggle the duties that come along with working in the modern health care office

If you’re interested in learning more about what the career requires, read on to learn more about your potential future profession.

Medical Administrative Assistant: What to Expect

A medical administrative assistant wears many hats and does a variety of duties throughout the day. The work you do can largely depend on the size of administrative staff your workplace has and the number of patients the practice sees.

There are a lot of helpful medical administrative assistant programs you can enroll in that can prepare you for your career. But for now, let’s take some time to focus on duties and responsibilities you may need to handle in your new career.


If you work as a medical administrative assistant, a lot of your job is going to revolve around scheduling appointments.

The scheduling aspect of your job is going to look a lot easier than it actually is. You’re going to need the right mix of people skills and strategic thinking in order to master this part of the job.

A skilled administrative assistant in a medical job is going to know to ask the right mix of questions to ensure that the doctors and nurses are set up properly before any appointment.

See if they’re a new or existing patient so you can prepare them for new paperwork before their appointment. Make detailed notes about why they’re seeing the doctor, or if they’re being treated by anyone else in your doctor’s network.

Checking in Patients

Checking patients in is going to be a lot more than asking someone to put their name on a sign-in sheet and telling them to sit down. It’s often one of the most important jobs in a doctor’s office.

When you check patients in, you’re setting the tone for their entire visit. You need to be polite, accommodating, and ready to take any information they give you. If you make a mistake, it could reflect badly on the entire practice. 

You’ll need to ensure that their records are up to date and that they have the right insurance information on file. You may need to quickly inform doctors and nurses about any important changes in their condition.

Patient Management

You may not be a medical practitioner, but you’re still going to do a lot of work with the patients that come into the office each day.

One of the most helpful things a medical administrative assistant can do is to get as much information about the patient as possible before they see the doctors and nurses. 

In-depth information about the patient, their medical history, and current systems is very important and can help improve their treatment plan. Unfortunately, a doctor or nurse doing this can take up precious appointment time. 

This is where assistants can help bridge the gap. When they ask the right questions during scheduling or when the patient arrives, they can free up important and precious time for doctors and nurses to spend with them.

You may have gotten helpful information during the scheduling process, but you should also be sure to ask important questions when they arrive at the office.

See if there have been any changes since you’ve last spoken to them. Ask them specific questions about how they’re feeling, or if they’ve seen any doctors or other medical professionals since you’ve last spoken.

Medical Record Management 

A lot of medical records are in an interesting state of change at the moment.

Some doctors literally have stacks upon stacks of written patient records that they need to digitize. Others may have a portion of new records in a digital system, but could still have a lot more written data that needs to be uploaded.

You may not be writing down specific information in patient charts, but it’ll still be up to you to upload important information into certain software and database systems for easier patient management.

Be sure you’re up to date on the latest HIPAA privacy laws to make sure that you’re compliant. Violating HIPAA standards can cause a lot of trouble for both you and your employer.

Inter-Office Communication

Lab results need to be transferred to primary care doctors, a patient may need a specialty referral, and you’re going to need to be able to handle getting the right information to the right offices.

Inter-office communication is a critical skill for every medical administrative assistant. Transferring information between doctors, hospitals, specialty care clinics, and even family members and patients will be important.

A stellar medical administrative assistant is going to know how to get the right information to the right people. Not only will they have to get it right the first time, but they’re also going to have to make sure that they’re HIPAA compliant.

Processing Payments

Ideally, every medical payment would be simple. You’d just have to swipe a card or process a check and the entire thing would be done in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, involving insurance makes things a little more tricky. It’s possible that you could attempt to process a payment an insurance company won’t want to honor. Or you could have the wrong insurance information on file.

This is why it’s important for medical administrative assistants to understand the nuances of paying through insurance. You’ll need to know what to do when a payment fails, and who to contact when things go wrong.

A Promising Future

A medical administrative assistant needs to be prepared to take on a lot of different roles. You’ll need the right mix of analytical and people skills to excel, and the right person can find themselves with a lucrative and fulfilling career.

Are you interested in learning about other careers, or just career advice in general?

We have a lot of interesting content on our site that can help you on your career journey. Be sure to browse all of the content we have to find a topic that resonates with you.

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