Medical assistants or physician assistants perform a number of clinical and administrative tasks at a medical facility. In the past, medical assistants used to be unlicensed workers but now they must be certified and qualified to perform their duties. It not only improves the care delivery process but also protects an organization from lawsuits and legal issues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants are in high demand and are projected to grow 23 percent in the coming years. With an aging baby-boomers population the demand for medical assistants would continue to grow and they would be performing more duties than now.

To streamline their role as functional workers, the healthcare industry is in immense need of certified and credentialed medical assistants. 

Let’s have a look at what duties and responsibilities medical assistants typically perform working at a medical facility and why is credentialing important for medical assistants.

  • Duties of the medical assistants start from the front desk where they schedule patient visits, handle canceled visits and follow up with the patients. 
  • They manage medical records and enter the data in electronic health record management systems. 
  • Medical assistants take patient vitals, get history and make note of their current medical condition and symptoms. If required, they take patient details such as weight, height, and demographics.
  • They prepare patients for a check-up by removing their clothes or dressing.
  • Most medical assistants change the dressing of the patients.
  • They also handle the proper availability of medical equipment, assist in CT scans or MRIs.
  • Medical assistants are also responsible to supervise laboratory testing. They get directions from physicians on which test to perform and proceed with collecting the samples. They pack the samples and send to laboratories.
  • Medical assistants take care of medications and injections, send prescriptions to pharmacies.
  • They also take care of insurance-related matters, check patient eligibility and assist in collections and billing related tasks.  

Keeping in view the important duties medical assistants perform, they must be qualified and credentialed. To get credentialed, a medical assistant must be certified by either the American Association of Medical Assistants (CMA), American Medical Technologists (RMA), American Registry of Medical Assistants (RMA), National Health career Association (CCMA) or National Center for Competency Testing (NCMA). They should demonstrate that they are properly qualified with appropriate education and certifications. They must demonstrate their education with work experience and proof of employment to get credentialed.

Getting credentialed is also beneficial for the professional career and growth of the medical assistants. Having a professional certification means that they are properly trained to perform their duties and they get good salary offers from employers.   

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also obligates that only credentialed medical assistants are allowed to perform clinical tasks such as entering lab, radiology or managing tasks on a computerized practice management system. By realizing the important role of medical assistants in a healthcare organization, more and more providers are only hiring certified medical assistants and credential them to make their workflow standardized.