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Dr’s Utilizing Medical Assistants as First Line in Optimal Patient Care

caringmedicalassistantIn today’s healthcare environment, Medical Assistants are saving doctors a ton of critical time! The use of Medical Assistants allow doctors to focus on the high level of care only they can provide, while the Medical Assistant is utilized to handle other procedures that fall within their level of skills and expertise. More than ever doctors are turning to Medical Assistants as the first line in patient care by delegating many responsibilities to this mid level medical professional.

Medical Assistants are finding their ranks growing, their salaries increasing, and their services ever more appreciated in today’s high pressure environment of medicine.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Medical Assistants save doctors critical time in private practice by doing a great deal of patient interaction prior to the doctor checking in on the patient.A Medical Assistant can take a patient back to an exam room and begin an initial assessment that may include gathering of history, vital statistics, medication usage and information related to the current visit. Medical Assistants often begin with getting the weight, height, blood pressure, pulse and blood oxygen levels of patients.

They will often review a patient’s history by discussing previous visits and health issues and following up on how things are progressing. The Medical Assistant will question the patient about the medication they are taking, if there have been any changes in their medication, any side effects, or if they need refills. Additionally, the Medical Assistant may discuss with the patient what has brought them to the doctor today.

As the Medical Assistant will note all this information in the patient’s chart, this will save the doctor a great deal of valuable time as he will then be able to get right to the key concerns with the patient. Not only does this allow the doctor to be more efficient, the patient may feel their needs have been better addressed also because during the time the doctor was able to spend with them, they were able to focus on their most important issues.

Being the Eyes and Ears of the Doctor

In major health care institutions such as hospitals, Medical Assistants are able to save doctors critical time in much the same way they do in private practice. They spend critical time with patients, evaluating their conditions and monitoring changes. A doctor can then review the chart and be quickly up to date regarding the care and condition of the patient since their last visit.

A Medical Assistant employed at a hospital may see a patient multiple times during the course of a day or night. This gives them a unique and knowledgeable perspective that doctors can draw on to ensure they are aware of concerns they might not otherwise notice, given the limited amount of time a doctor can spend with any hospitalized patient each day.

For example, a Medical Assistant may note that a heart patient experiences brief cyanotic episodes after walking or while sleeping, or note concerns that an elderly person needing chronic care has a contentious relationship with a family member(s) who are to take care of them. These are key things doctors need to know to provide the best possible care but can be missed since a doctor can’t be there as much as a Medical Assistant.

The Medical Assistant is the doctor’s eyes and ears on the ground, so to speak, and has the appropriate training to know what would be important to the doctor. This is just one aspect of what makes a Medical Assistant so valuable to a doctor.

Delegating the Details with Confidence

Another way a Medical Assistant may save a doctor tons of time are assisting with the daily details nearly all doctors must deal with, but in reality, rarely have the time to do so. Medical Assistants can handle medication requests for the doctor as patients call in for refills.

They can research the patient’s chart and once the doctor approves, contact the pharmacy. Medical Assistants can do prep work such as pulling charts for a day’s patient visits, updating charts with test results, managing patient education materials, keeping sample stock up to date, meeting with pharmaceutical reps about the sample and educational materials needs of the practice, scheduling time for the doctor to manage required calls, charting, meetings, etc., without interruption.

The doctor will ultimately decide which responsibilities to delegate to the Medical Assistant and which ones to retain, but a qualified, efficient and resourceful Medical Assistant is worth their weight in gold to a busy doctor!

Achieving a True Partnership

Whether a Medical Assistant works for a doctor in private practice, at a clinic employing several doctors, or at a major medical facility, their value and function cannot be overstated. Medical Assistants are often the key link between patient and doctor that optimizes the outcome for both.

Based on experience, proficiency and the willingness to be proactive and assume additional responsibilities, a good Medical Assistant will function like a doctor’s right hand, enabling that doctor to work quickly and efficiently. When Medical Assistants save doctors critical time, patients also have the confidence that they have received the highest quality care when spending time with the doctor, thus creating a win-win for everybody.

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