The changes that the Affordable Care Act has brought to America’s health care system have directly affected the demand for medical assistants in the nation’s hospitals. Medical assistants are currently in high-demand and highly-valued within the clinical environment.
Darlene Larson, Regional Physician Practice Administrator at OhioHealth credits the training that medical assistants go through as being a key factor in their growing popularity.
Medical assistants are able to conduct many of the duties that were done by nurses and/or physicians in the past, including giving injections, performing respiratory testing and assisting with minor surgeries. They are also trained in clerical duties which include scheduling, insurance inquires and patient histories making them very versatile in a continually evolving medical environment.
Students entering a medical assistant program should look for a school that offers externships at outside health-care facilities. The value of the externship is immeasurable as it prepares students in real life situations, making them much more employable. A combination of education and certification is typically the best way to obtain a position as a medical assistant in preparation for on-the-job training.
Demand also remains high because of the turnover rate among medical assistants. Many use it as a stepping stone to advance into other medical careers including nursing or moving into another area of the health care system. It is also cost effective for facilities to hire medical assistants for duties once performed by nurses. Medical assistant are also more prominent in a clinical setting while nurses tend to work in larger institutions like hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Their importance to the patients themselves also continues to increase, as they are typically the first person a patient sees and the health care professional with which they spend the most time.