What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

Are you looking for a career that allows you to improve the lives, health, and wellbeing of others? A medical office assistant can do just that. They perform a variety of clerical and clinical tasks freeing up doctors and nurses to see more patients. While some medical office assistants work in small clinics or hospitals, others may work at physician’s offices or other medical facilities. So, what does a medical office assistant do?

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

These professionals perform a vital role in the successful operation and daily activities within a medical facility. This career choice is perfect for those who enjoy variety in their workday, as no two days are the same, in the field of medicine. Medical office assistants need to be technologically savvy and able to effectively utilize and troubleshoot office duties. Following are some of the many tasks that a medical office assistant is responsible for:

Prepare Invoices and Reports

Medical office assistants must be able to prepare invoices for billing purposes. This could be for insurance companies to get reimbursement for patient services or vendors while restocking medical supplies within the medical setting. Sometimes incidents may occur within the workplace that require appropriate documentation. In those situations, medical office assistants must create and file incident reports, as well as update these reports when additional information is gathered.

Keep Databases, Patient Medical Records, and Filing Systems Neat and Orderly

One of the most important duties performed by medical office assistants involves keeping medical files organized and up to date. It is important that a patient’s medical history is always kept as current as possible to effectively address new symptoms and diagnoses. In addition to improving the quality of care that patients receive, it is also important to keep their insurance records up to date. This can have a direct impact on their personal finances, as well as provide the medical facility with monetary reimbursement for any procedures or care they may offer.

Purchase Supplies and Manage Stock Rooms

An efficiently managed stockroom is critically important for the day-to-day operations of a medical office. Medical office assistants keep track of inventory and make sure the stock room is organized and well-supplied. They may place purchase orders for important items like sanitizer, sterile gloves, syringes, swabs, thermometers, cotton applicators, and tongue depressors.

Schedule Appointments for Patients and Physicians

Effectively scheduling appointments for patients is one of the most important tasks that a medical office assistant performs. They must ensure that physicians do not have conflicts in their scheduling, and make sure patients receive timely and adequate care. Scheduling patients to maximize a medical facility’s efficiency helps to keep the entire system running smoothly so that physicians can assist and treat as many patients as possible.

Schedule Staff and Team Meetings

To maintain effective communication between different teams, it is important to schedule meetings. Medical office assistants make sure that these meetings are scheduled on a regular basis and that the participants are provided with the materials they need to have a successful meeting. This may include preparing documents, presentations, and other items the participants may need during the meeting.

Multitask By Receiving and Sending Faxes and Messages

Demonstrating proficiency in receiving and sending emails and messages is an important administrative task for many workplaces, however it is of particular importance for medical office assistants. They must effectively send important messages and maintain seamless and timely communication between various departments within the medical facility.

How Do You Become a Medical Office Assistant?

The easiest way to become a medical office assistant is to enroll in a vocational school program. You get a complete curriculum, without developing knowledge gaps. Plus, instructors guide you through the coursework preparing you for your first day at your new career. After graduation, you are ready to hit the ground running.

What Do You Learn During a Medical Office Administration Program?

While enrolled in a medical office administration program, you will receive valuable instruction in a variety of topics. You will become proficient in the following medically related topics and subject matter:

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy is how the body is made and physiology is how the body works. These two subjects focus on the study of how the 14 body systems interact and function. It is important for a medical office assistant to understand the basics of anatomy and physiology when managing insurance claims and patient files. Additional coursework focuses on medical terminology.

Medical Terminology

During the course of work for a medical office assistant, they will come across many medical terms that they must understand and code properly. Instead of memorizing medical terminology, vocational programs teach you how to decipher medical terms within their roots, suffixes, and prefixes. Breaking down a medical term will help you understand the different parts of the whole term and assist you during billing, patient filing and other tasks as a medical office assistant.

Medical Billing and Coding

Some of the most important skills you will learn during this program is billing and coding. Insurance companies depend on accurate billing and coding to reimburse medical facilities for their services and ensure that coverage is approved for patients. Errors in billing and coding can be costly for both the facility as well as the patients. You will learn how to effectively input billing information and ensure accuracy to keep the facility running smoothly and efficiently.

Greeting Patients

Greeting patients and maintaining a friendly and pleasant demeanor is an important part of any medical setting. You will learn how to maintain positive communication as well as how to check patients in and orientate them to the medical facility. Many patients may be dealing with difficult health situations. Some may become particularly uncomfortable in medical settings. As a medical office assistant, you will learn how to make patients feel more comfortable and relaxed as they are waiting to be seen for their appointment.

The Importance of HIPAA

HIPAA refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. These rules were created to maintain patient confidentiality, as well as the security of health-related data. Furthermore, it requires patients to be informed of data breaches and aware of their right to privacy. This course will familiarize you with the importance of HIPAA, as well as how to prevent violating these terms. You will also learn about the serious consequences you may face if you violate HIPAA standards.


OSHA refers to The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This guarantees your right to safe and fair working conditions regardless of the industry you work in. This coursework will familiarize you with your own rights as a healthcare worker, as well as how to maintain health and safety standards for yourself and your fellow employees. You will learn how to identify unsafe practices and what you should do if you become injured on the job.


JCAHO refers to The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This commission ensures that effective and high-quality health care is provided across all medical offices and hospitals. You will learn how JCAHO operates to provide healthcare settings with the framework to improve health-related services, as well as how to implement these techniques in your medical office both effectively and efficiently.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a highly portable career that allows you work in the healthcare industry, consider a career as a medical office assistant. By pursuing a career in this field you’ll enjoy strong job prospects, opportunities for career advancement, as well as the satisfaction in knowing you are making a positive difference in the wellbeing of others every day.

Want to Learn More?

All healthcare facilities, from hospitals and physician’s offices, to rehab centers, clinics, and every other type of medical practice, rely on skilled Medical Office Administrators to function. At Interactive College of Technology, we’ll train you on a wide range of medical administrative practices and processes. Plus, you’ll get real-world experience through a 135-hour school externship in an actual healthcare facility. You’ll also interact with people from all walks of life, making your daily routine anything but dull.

So, let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.

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