Medical and Dental Assistants
Medical and dental assistants make patients feel more comfortable by helping out the dentist or physician. Medical and dental assistants have a wide variety of clinical and administrative duties and responsibilities. Medical and dental assistants’ duties and responsibilities include the maintenance of efficiency of the offices and clinics of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors and other practitioners. Medical and dental assistants must make sure that the office or clinic that they are working is running smoothly.
The duties and responsibilities of medical and dental assistants depend on the location of the practice, size of the practice and type of specialization of the practitioner. Some of the duties also differ from office to office. Medical and dental assistants that are working on small practices handle both the administrative and clinical tasks and chores. They often report to an office supervisor, a general practitioner, or other types of health care practitioner. While medical and dental assistant that work on large practices are more likely to specialize on a certain area. They are usually under the direction of a department administrators.
Medical and dental assistants perform many administrative tasks; these includes the answering of the telephones, updating and filing of the medical records a patient, processing and filing of insurance forms, laboratory services, bookkeeping and handling billing, arranging for hospital admission, scheduling appointments and handling correspondence.
The clinical tasks and duties of medical and dental assistants vary according to the State Law. Some of these tasks and duties include taking medical histories, documenting and recording vital signs, explaining some treatment procedure to patients, helping the physician during examination and patient preparation prior to examination. Some medical assistants collect or prepare lab tests and samples, perform basic laboratory examinations, disposing contaminated materials or supplies and sterilizing medical tools and instruments. Some have the authority to instruct the patients regarding their medications, diets, preparation and administration of medications as directed by a physician. They can also authorize drug refills, draw blood, prepare patients for electrocardiograms and x-rays, and remove and change sutures or dressings.
Some employers prefer medical and dental assistants who have additional successfully taken formal training programs. Medical and dental assisting programs are offered on vocational and technical schools, some on high schools, community and junior colleges. There are post secondary medical and dental assisting programs that usually last six months to a year (graduates of these programs will receive a diploma or certificate) while there are some medical and dental assisting programs that last two years (associate degree).
Formal training for medical and dental assistants is not mandatory but most employers prefer individuals who are graduates of formal training programs. The employment growth of medical and dental assistants has increased over the years. Experts say that it will increase more as more and more people will need health care services.