4 Tips for Efficient Delivery of Duty by Medical Assistants

As you spend a significant number of hours of your day at work, it is important that you’re happy and at peace when delivering your duties. A healthy and happy mind enables one to work efficiently and increases productivity. That being said, not every day at work can be an ideal one as we may be exposed to elements beyond our control.

To become an effective medical assistant, one needs to not only obtain proper training and medical assistant certification, but also develop a positive outlook and characteristics that complement this profession and enhance your performance.

Medical assistants can perform well at work by using the simple, but important tips mentioned below:

1. Respond Instead Of Reacting to Stress

Patient care, administrative work, assistance to doctor(s), laboratory tests, and report preparation can, at times, make certain days long and hectic. Since medical practice largely concerns with patients’ well-being and life, medical practitioners have no scope for making errors that can potentially damage patients’ health. Hence, practitioners are required to maintain a stable temperament and work in the best interest of the patients, irrespective of their personal shortcomings or stressful situations.

Responding to stress rather than reacting to it aids practitioners in maintaining a sense of calm and patience. Certain situations may be well out of your control. In such cases, it is advisable to accept the conditions and let go of what cannot be changed. You can recognize the source of the stress and try to keep yourself away from it as much as possible.

Do get enough sleep and exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. Physical exercise makes the brain release certain feel-good chemicals. Identify what you enjoy doing – walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, etc., and indulge. Change your outlook and be more positive to help yourself respond better to stressful conditions.

Do things that you enjoy. Keep yourself occupied by participating in activities other than professional endeavors during free time, and relax your mind by keeping worrisome thoughts away. Connect with family and friends to make space for other thoughts and moods, which will help release the pent up frustration and, perhaps, help you gain different perspectives of situations.

Most importantly, do not vent your frustration on patients. Read a book or listen to music during breaks to find peace. Approach every patient with a smile. Knowing that you have helped someone feel better will eventually make you happy and bring you a sense of achievement.

2. Be Compassionate and Friendly

Patients visit doctors for a cure to their physical or mental discomfort. As a medical assistant, you may be the first point-of-contact for them. You must, therefore, be able to handle ailing patients and make them feel comfortable and safe.

It is essential for practitioners to win the trust of their patients and create a healthy working rapport with them. This enables patients to open up and talk freely about their symptoms and health issues.

Be a good listener and allow patients to share their concerns without any fear of being judged. For example, you should handle the victim of an accident and the driver of the car that caused the accident with the same amount of professional care.

Be proactive in taking instructions from doctors and deliver efficiently on the tasks you are entrusted with.

Be compassionate and strike a chord with children and elderly individuals by engaging in pleasant conversations with them. Make them feel relaxed and help them undergo the treatment without prolonged stress.

Communicate gently with patients and help them understand the treatment and the medication procedures by translating medical terms into layman’s words. Maintain healthy working relationships for smooth transactions of information, products, and services.

3. Get Certified to Assist Better

Certification programs expose medical students to industry best practices. It is advisable for aspiring medical assistants to prepare for certifications and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills that add value to the employers’ medical practices.

Specializations such as administrative medical assistant and clinical medical assistant are good options to pursue for better and well-paying career opportunities. Hands-on training will make it easier for you to adapt to a new job and you can provide effective assistance to the doctor by using your knowledge and skills that have been validated and certified.

4. Critical Thinking

To stay competent, medical assistants must go beyond merely following instructions given by the doctors. Practitioners can contribute substantially towards medical practice by using logic and rational reasoning to identify alternate solutions and approaches for patient care and administrative issues.

Develop skills to recognize issues and find feasible solutions that can be applied. Showing deeper involvement in the tasks assigned to you will show the doctors that you are ready for bigger responsibilities. Participate in problem-solving and decision-making and provide rational data to support your suggestions. Achieving higher responsibilities from your manager is a great sign of growth and you can train for critical thinking to sharpen your rational thinking ability.


To stay ahead of the competition imposed by huge chunk of professionals, one must be willing to perennially learn and develop new skills that bring value to employers, thereby enhancing personal and professional growth opportunities. Self-imposed discipline and the need to learn and keep up with the market trends can help one to swiftly rise and explore new horizons. Build your career with knowledge and experience gained from credible sources.

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6 Important Lessons for Medical Billing & Coding Specialists

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% growth in the demand for medical billing and coding specialists between 2014 and 2024, making it one of the lucrative professions in the allied healthcare sector. The demand for billing and coding specialists has risen with the digitization of health records.

Students who aspire to build their career in the allied healthcare industry can choose to get trained in courses offered by recognized institutions. The medical billing and coding course provides theoretical and hands-on training to students on the areas mentioned below, to acquaint students with best practices that help them in the successful delivery of their professional duties.

1. Computer Proficiency

Operating a computer with ease is one of the prerequisites for becoming a medical billing and coding specialist. Medical coders are required to read notes and make computer entries. Thus, familiarity with computer technology helps them to work efficiently at the required pace.

Computer literacy, along with the knowledge of specific software programs, is delivered to the students during the training. Records of patients' history are saved in computers and the information is converted using the codes and shared with respective stakeholders online. Billing and coding specialists must be able to save, access, and process all information on the computer system by ensuring safety of all the confidential data.

2. Medical Insurance Policies

Medical insurance is a significant part of the medical billing and coding process. The medical billing and coding specialist uses patient's medical information to process the bill for the services provided. The bill is sent to the patient's medical insurance provider to claim the payment. Upon receiving the payment, the balance amount, if any, is calculated by the billing specialist and sent to the patient for payment to the healthcare service provider.

Medical billing specialists are required to communicate with insurance companies on a regular basis to ensure timely payment, and solve and respond to queries that may arise during the process. During the course, students are trained on collection and submission of insurance claims. Detailed training on several health care policies and programs, in addition to personal injury claims, group health coverage, and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid is given to students.

3. Medical Terminology

Knowledge of medical terminologies is crucial for billing and coding specialists to grasp the information about the patient's medical treatment and create medical records and bills. The study of medical terminologies helps specialists understand and identify the treatments and medical procedures. This information is of crucial importance in preparing the patient's medical report and the bill for claiming payment from insurance companies.

During our Medical Billing & Coding Specialist Training in Connecticut, the students are prepared to study and comprehend the medical terminologies and their respective codes.

4. Medical Billing and Coding

Students are trained on managing office affairs and verifying insurance cards along with calculating payments and deductibles. They are taught to develop efficiency in calculating bills or claims, and ensure timely and accurate payments for the services rendered.

An important part of the billing and coding job is understanding the medical terminologies and the corresponding medical codes. The standard classification system of codes established by the WHO called the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) developed by the American Medical Association are used to describe the diagnosis, treatment, and medical procedure used by the healthcare service provider to treat the patient. Students preparing to become coding specialists are required to gain proficiency in the codes that aid in streamlining the reporting procedure.

5. Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Digital records of the patient's health information are maintained to make information available to the authorized stakeholders across multiple healthcare organizations in a secure manner, so that no information is lost or abused. Students are educated to create and maintain the patient's electronic health record that includes the patient's medical history, medication and treatment plans, dates of hospital visits, allergies, and a list of laboratory tests and results. Additionally, students are also taught to enter the physician's workflow related to patient care and treatment into the electronic health record system.

6. Medical Laws and Ethics

It becomes imperative for every medical practitioner to know and understand his/her responsibilities and duties towards the profession, the patient, and the practice at large.

Medical laws have been established to provide legal and moral guidelines to practitioners for them to operate within by providing the best of their expertise to ailing patients. Laws also establish rules to safeguard patients' health-related information and establish procedures for safe and secure transfer of data to authorized personnel.

Medical billing and coding course offers education and training on medical laws and ethics to help students perform to the best of their ability and knowledge.


The rising demand for healthcare professionals is good news for individuals who wish to pursue jobs that are credible and come with a high degree of job security. Effective planning about choosing a good institution to get trained with and getting certified creates several opportunities of employment with highly-established healthcare organizations. Well trained and certified professionals carry an edge over others as their skills are easily gauged through the credentials achieved.

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Introduction to Best Practices for Phlebotomy Technicians (Part I)

When signs and symptoms fail to provide concrete evidence, doctors often prescribe blood tests to determine causes and nature of diseases. Blood tests are common in the current day and age as they are a part of the routine health checkup procedures.

While venipuncture or the procedure of drawing blood from the vein appears to be simple, phlebotomists have to take several precautions to ensure the safety of the patients as this is one of the most invasive procedures in healthcare.

Procedures and guidelines have been created for phlebotomists to adhere to, in order to prevent injuries and the transmission of perilous diseases during blood sample collection. Phlebotomy technician programs are conducted with the goal to standardize the practice and educate prospective phlebotomists on health and safety practices.

Best Practices for Phlebotomists to Follow

1. Planning Ahead

Planning in advance for any procedure is the most important activity and should be performed diligently at the start of a phlebotomy session. Technicians are required to check for the availability of all necessary equipment, tools, and medicines needed during the procedure.

2. Using the Right Location

The area used for the procedure must be clean, devoid of noise, and well-lit. Whether working with in-patients or out-patients, optimal level of cleanliness must be maintained to avoid transmission of any infection during venipuncture.

3. Ensuring Quality Control

Quality control and application of safety measures is most vital in ensuring the prevention of the spreading of the infection.

Quality control in phlebotomy is realized through implementation of the following elements:

3.1 Education and Training

Students training to become phlebotomists are trained to understand anatomy, and the risks arising from blood exposure, and absence of infection prevention and control measures.

3.2 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

SOPs are necessary to be followed at every step of blood sampling. The procedures are well-defined and made easily available to phlebotomists and other health workers at all times.

3.3 Sample Condition

The samples collected are to be stored in hygienic conditions to ensure accurate results of the laboratory tests.

3.4 Accurate Identification of Patients

Samples must be labeled precisely to produce accurate results for patients. The results of laboratory tests need to be rightly identified with the patients whose samples were tested. A flawless system of identification and tracking is crucial in the delivery of correct test results.

3.5 Safe Transportation

Blood samples must be safely transported for tests, as contamination of samples will not produce accurate results. Inaccurate results lead to wrong diagnosis, eventually resulting in the prescription of wrong treatment.

3.6 Incident Reporting System

All adverse events and cases of wrong test results, with precise details and identified cause(s) must be recorded as soon as the mishap is identified or noticed.

4. Quality Care for Health Workers and Patients

Phlebotomists are expected to maintain high levels of hygiene to negate the vulnerability of patients and themselves towards infection and potential diseases. Hygiene materials like soap, water and alcohol rub, and well-fitting and non-sterile gloves must be used before, during, and post blood collection, and labeling procedures should be in accordance with the established safety measures.

For optimal level of infection prevention among patients, phlebotomists must use single-use disposable sterile needles and syringes.

5. Practices for Infection Prevention

The WHO recommends guidelines for phlebotomists for establishing infection control and prevention practices that include the implementation of the following measures:

  • WHO’s “My 5 moments for hand hygiene” approach can be used by phlebotomy experts to clean and disinfect their hands before every blood collection and storage procedure.
  • Phlebotomists are recommended to use one pair of non-sterile gloves per patient.
  • A single-use device or needle must be used per patient for blood sampling and drawing. For every extra procedure on the same patient, a new syringe is required to be used by the technicians.
  • Patient’s skin must be disinfected without fail using 70% alcohol swabs, right before and after venipuncture is performed.
  • Immediately post the collection and transmission of blood into blood-collecting tubes, phlebotomists must discard the used needle and syringe (treated as a single device).
  • The sample tubes are to be placed in a study rack.
  • Phlebotomists are to refrain from washing and reusing gloves and needles.
  • The disinfected punctured site must not be touched with bare hands by phlebotomy technicians.
  • Any accident that occurs must be immediately reported by the technicians, and they must at once seek assistance to start the post-exposure prophylaxis in order to prevent contamination.
  • Phlebotomy technicians are advised to ensure high levels of hygiene and disinfection not just for patients, but also for themselves.

Use of Needles and Syringes

Efficient judgment of the correct gauge of the needle by a phlebotomist is crucial in blood collection procedures, and more importantly in preventing injuries to the patients.

The technicians are trained to be skilled at controlling the amount of vacuum applied when drawing blood and doing so without causing the veins to collapse.

Training programs that impart theoretical and practical knowledge are important as they make the students proficient in intricacies that make a huge difference when procedures are performed on patients.


The allied healthcare industry is booming with high career prospects. Students aspiring to join the industry can source education and training from recognized organizations and become skilled healthcare professionals. With the rising need for healthcare, medical establishments will need to be served by skilled phlebotomy technicians who can bring in hands-on experience and exhibit job-ready skills.

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Expand Your Career Prospects with Medical Assistant Training

Widespread and expanding, the fields of medical science and healthcare provide prodigious employment opportunities to aspiring individuals. Off the total healthcare workforce in the US, 60% of medical professionals work for the allied healthcare sector. More often than not, the healthcare streams are inter-woven and offer knowledge on several subjects and concepts when pursuing education in a specific medical field.

Medical assistant training programs are designed to prepare students for medical assistant certification. They also disseminate knowledge on several medical concepts/streams as mentioned below:

1. Medical Laws and Ethics

Medical laws have been established to help healthcare professionals understand their responsibilities towards the patients and the society at large. Laws and ethics govern the medical procedures and practices carried out for diagnosing and treating diseases. They also provide guidelines to practitioners, helping them understand their rights and duties at work. Medical ethics enforce values and ensure complete adherence to professionalism by medical practitioners.

Laws cultivate a culture of adherence to standardized practices, which is essential in upholding perpetual discipline. Students pursuing medical assistant training will be given an in-depth understanding of medical laws and ethics to ensure their definite cohesion with the established laws.

2. Phlebotomy

While undergoing the medical assistant training course, students will be trained in the process of drawing blood from the veins of the patients, otherwise known as venipuncture, for testing, donation, or research purposes. While phlebotomists have expertise in this practice, medical assistants trained in phlebotomy can also perform venipuncture to assist doctors in treating patients and collecting specimens.

Every new skill acquired helps to expand the employment horizons for the allied healthcare professionals and gives them an edge over their peers.

3. Medical Terminology and Anatomy & Physiology

For effective and accurate communication with doctors and patients, medical assistants must be equipped with extensive knowledge about the medical terminologies. Medical assistant training imparts knowledge of the basic science of medicine – human anatomy and physiology. The training enables them understand the functioning and interrelationships of the intricate functions and the systems of the body.

The study of related disciplines of anatomy and physiology is essential for students to learn numerous terminologies and perform daily tasks of patient care, and assist doctors in providing treatment through knowledge of the human body and its systems.

4. Pharmacology

This branch of medicine educates students on medication and the effect of drugs on the biological systems of the body. While prescribing medicines is a job for the doctors, medical assistants are expected to be aware of the common forms of medication. Since medical assistants administer drugs, knowledge of the drug brands and names of generic medicines makes their job easy. It also eases the efforts of the doctors in prescribing the dosage.

To administer medication efficiently, medical assistants must be able to clearly comprehend written prescriptions and medication orders. Several doctors specify the knowledge of pharmacology as a prerequisite when they seek to hire medical assistants.

5. Medical Billing

Medical billing is the process of recording the patients’ information and updating their medical history using a specialized coding system. Information about diagnosis and treatment is converted into universally-accepted codes and saved in the repository for numerous purposes. The information can be retrieved and used as and when needed. One of the primary purposes of recording the details is to use the data to claim payment from insurance companies, and patients for the medical services rendered by the service providers (doctors, medical establishments).

Few establishments require medical assistants to be skilled at billing and coding, and take charge of recording and updating patients’ medical history. Additional knowledge about medical procedures and administrative practices increases the employability of qualified medical assistants.

6. Clinical and Diagnostic Procedures

Medical assistants can strengthen their job profile by specializing in various skills that add value to their job, and also to their employer’s routine operations and services.

Diagnostic procedures are often performed at hospitals, clinics, and laboratories to identify medical conditions and causes of diseases. Medical assistants can be engaged by hospitals to perform diagnostic readings and explain results of the tests to the patients. Hands-on knowledge about diagnostic procedures helps to widen the scope of work for the assistants, as they can efficiently deliver on conducting basic laboratory tests, sterilizing medical equipments, preparing patients and operation rooms for x-rays and other procedures respectively.


With a diverse range of specialized skills and an increasing demand for healthcare , medical assistants have encouraging career prospects. While good career opportunities await, prospective professionals can acquire the necessary education and certification to fill in the demand for healthcare services. Medical assistants can gain rapid career growth by continuing to learn more about their field.

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Pursue One of the Fastest Growing Allied Healthcare Professions in America

The allied healthcare sector has become a lucrative employment option as the demand for healthcare professionals is on the rise. The projected growth of employment in the healthcare sector, as observed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is expected to rise by 19% from 2014 to 2024.

For individuals who intend to pursue careers in healthcare and finish their studies within short span of time and at low education costs, allied healthcare proffers good career prospects in more than 80 different professions. Technological advances and aging population in the country have created space for more professionals that provide healthcare services.

If you are interested in knowing about employment prospects in the industry, continue reading for a list of a few fast-growing allied healthcare professions. One can choose a profession based on their interest, eligibility criteria, cost of education, and job outlook.

1. Pharmacy Technician

9% growth, which is faster than the average, is foreseen for pharmacy technicians between 2014 and 2024, indicating a good period for a career in pharmacy.

Pharmacy technicians primarily assist pharmacists in dispensing medicines to the customers and the patients. They are also responsible for attending to queries from patients and fulfilling administrative duties. Qualified technicians can take up employment at establishments like hospitals, retail drug stores, department stores, nursing homes, and private clinics.

Post the completion of high school diploma or a degree of equivalent value, prospective technicians can enroll for the pharmacy technician program and avail the training and the education required to become a certified pharmacy technician.

While certification is not mandatory, it does add value and provide validation of knowledge, which is preferred by many employers. Pharmacy technician certification can be obtained from Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or from the National Healthcareer Association by satisfying their respective eligibility criteria.

2. Cardiovascular Technologist

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the country, thus demanding technological improvements, and cardiovascular specialists and technicians to cater to heart-related ailments.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 24% rise in the demand for Cardiovascular Technologists in the present decade. The average annual pay in this field as recorded in the year 2014 was $62,540. With rising demand, the pay packages are expected to only rise from the current scale. For greater career opportunities, technologists can obtain certification from the The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The key duties of a cardiovascular technologist include assisting physicians in diagnosing and treating cardiac and peripheral vascular (blood vessels) ailments. Students are given theoretical and practical training to impart hands-on experience and sound technical skills, making them job-ready. The technologists are employed at hospitals, clinics, and at medical and diagnostic laboratories.

3. Medical Assistant

Patient care, administrative tasks, stakeholder engagement and communication, medicine administration, conduction of diagnosis, and patient health record maintenance are the tasks of a medical assistant.

The demand for medical assistants is on the rise with the average growth expected to increase by 23% in the next ten years. Medical facilities like surgical and non-surgical hospitals, private clinics, out-patient care facilities, and nursing homes employ medical assistants.

The median annual salary of a medical assistant was recorded to be $29,960 in the year 2014. For better career opportunities, medical assistants can become certified by opting for certification from any one of the certifying organizations. American Association of Medical Assistants, American Medical Technologists, National Healthcareer Association, and the National Center for Competency Testing are the bodies that certify medical assistants.

4. Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

These professionals perform the vital task of recording all health-related information of the patients. They use universally established ICD and CPT codes to record and use information for claiming payments for the medical services provided.

Medical billing and coding specialists earn an average pay of $35,900 and are employed by medical service providers like hospitals, clinics, medical facilities, and physicians. Engaging with insurance companies and the patients is one of their important tasks, in order to facilitate inflow of payment for the services rendered.

22% increase in the demand for these specialists has been reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics by the year 2022. To get employed by credible and well-established healthcare facilities, billing and coding specialists can obtain certification from either one of the three certifying bodies namely American Academy of Professional Coders, National HealthCareer Association, and the American Health Information Management Association.


Aspiring professionals can choose from the many allied healthcare professions by evaluating and comparing the demand, the pay scale and the career prospects related with each profession. Education from recognized institutions followed by certification can help students achieve good professional growth in a short span of time.

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Join the Growing Healthcare Industry: Become a Phlebotomist

Blood, the word synonymous with heart and life; the importance of this element in healthcare is indispensable, and so is the relevance of a skilled phlebotomist. The thriving healthcare industry is projected to launch itself into a bright future, carrying alongside all the allied healthcare services.

As estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of Phlebotomists will grow by 25% between 2014 and 2024.

Certified phlebotomy technicians can anticipate better job prospects as a steady rise in the number of people opting for health insurance is being noticed. This will certainly have an obvious positive impact on blood-work-related services.

Role of a Phlebotomy Technician

A phlebotomy technician performs venipuncture, the process of drawing blood from a patient’s vein to collect blood specimens for laboratory testing or merely collecting blood from donors. Phlebotomists are important members of clinical laboratories and are employed at a number of healthcare units like nursing homes, research organizations, hospitals, independent laboratories and clinics, and physicians’ offices.

Regular operations performed by a phlebotomy technician are as listed below:

  • Perform venipuncture on patients and blood donors
  • Verify patient’s identity
  • Ensure accurate labeling of blood samples
  • Take and record blood pressure, pulse, and respiration readings
  • Sterilize and clean equipments needed during venipuncture
  • Update patient records
  • Send collected blood sample for lab testing

Education and Training

Recognized institutions provide courses on phlebotomy to educate candidates on the following subjects, procedures, and practices:

  • Phlebotomy laboratory skills
  • First aid
  • Phlebotomy department management
  • Phlebotomy equipments
  • Health law procedures
  • Legal issues pertaining to medicine
  • Blood and cell composition
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Blood sampling procedures

In addition to the above, practical training on the below-mentioned blood-drawing procedures is also rendered to the trainees:

  • Butterfly technique used for children and aged patients with small veins
  • Healstick technique used for newborns
  • Fingerstick technique used for individuals with damaged veins

The time taken to complete phlebotomy training is usually less than a year, facilitating aspirants to quickly progress towards certification and consequent employment opportunities. Phlebotomy training is a good start for individuals aspiring for a career in laboratory technology. Several phlebotomists go on to eventually become laboratory specialists and technologists.

Phlebotomy Certification

Certification allows for easy validation of knowledge and skills and is highly preferred by employers, reducing their effort on verifying the qualifications of prospective employees.

Phlebotomy Technician Certification can be availed from the following certifying bodies:

American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) – Candidates who have no past experience are considered eligible for phlebotomy certification by ASCP if they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of high school graduation or an equivalent degree
  • Completion of 40-hour classroom and 120-hour hands-on phlebotomy training
  • Successful unaided collection of 100 blood samples

ASCP necessitates the training to include laboratory operations, specimen collection, processing and handling, physiology, and anatomy lessons.

The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) – Phlebotomy technicians with either one full year of part-time employment or six months of full-time employment as phlebotomists are considered eligible for phlebotomy certification by the ASPT.

Candidates with no experience must satisfy the following mandatory requirements for certification:

  • Completion of phlebotomy training from an accredited institute
  • Completion of 100 documented venipunctures
  • Completion of 5 successful skin punctures
  • Current membership with the ASPT

National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) – Unless a candidate has at least one year of work experience as a phlebotomist, he/she must attend phlebotomy training to qualify for certification granted by the NPA.

The training program attended must include:

  • Venipuncture techniques
  • Clinical internship
  • 160-hour classroom training, apart from the clinical internship

Choosing the Right Certification

Candidates can choose from among the aforementioned certifications by considering the following:

  • Different states approve different certifications. Candidates must check with the state board for an updated list of respective approved certifications.
  • Certain employers prefer one certification over another. Should a candidate already have a list of preferred employers or be keen on working with any specific employer, then it would be advisable to check for specific certification(s) approved by that particular employer.
  • It is best to opt for a certification provided by nationally-recognized institutions.

Getting a vein punctured for collecting blood samples can be a stressful process for patients and donors. A phlebotomist has to be adept at the job and be able perform venipuncture without causing much discomfort to them. Venipuncture is performed not just for diagnosing diseases, but also for processes catering to preventive healthcare and treatment of lifestyle diseases.

Owing to federal health insurance reforms, applications for health insurance are expected to be on the rise. Applying for health insurance necessitates individuals to undergo blood tests for submission of required reports. The aforementioned developments are certain to increase the demand for healthcare professionals including qualified and skilled phlebotomists.

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Medical Billing and Coding Specialist: Thriving Careers in Health Informatics

Standing tall and mighty at $2.9 trillion, the American healthcare industry is accelerating towards new heights by targeting improved research and medical facilities. Fed by heavy investments and the invention of new compounds and drugs, the industry is also creating several opportunities for healthcare professionals to meet the rising demand for healthcare. Healthcare professionals and technicians make one of the largest occupational groups in America, having withstood the recession and other financial and political challenges.

It is, therefore, a sprouting industry to pursue a career in. The demand for medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, and medical billing and coding specialists is on the rise owing to the emergence of new medical establishments and increased healthcare requirements.

Improved digitization of systems, new insurance policies, changes in insurance billing process, sharing of patient records, etc. have all brought the focus on health informatics.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22% rise in the jobs for certified medical billing and coding specialists by the year 2022. Medical billing and coding specialists form an integral part of the healthcare system, ensuring that healthcare providers always receive the correct remuneration for the services they provide.

What Do Medical Billing and Medical Coding Specialists Do?

Medical billing and coding is the process of translating all the relevant patient information into universal numeric or alphanumeric codes. Right from patient visits, symptoms, tests performed, to diagnosis – all the information is coded using ICD (International Classification of Diseases) or CPT (Current Procedural Terminologies) codes. While medical coding and medical billing are separate fields, employers often prefer hiring specialists with proficiency in both.

Medical Billing:

Medical billing facilitates payments to healthcare service providers for the services they offer. While the codes help to track the spread of diseases and the effectiveness of a procedure, their main purpose is to aid the reimbursement process.

Billing is carried out to process payments between three parties: the patient, the healthcare service provider (doctor, clinic, hospital, medical facility, etc), and the insurance company (payer). The medical billing associate negotiates and arranges for payment between these three parties.

The billing professional collates all the information related to a patient and his/her medical procedure, and uses it to produce the bill, otherwise called the claim, for the insurance company. In addition to the insurance coverage information, the claim also contains the patient’s medical history and the list of procedures that were performed as a part of the treatment for the patient. The billing associate is responsible for interpreting the patient’s insurance plan and creating a claim accordingly. The procedure (CPT) and the diagnosis codes (ICD) used by the medical coder are referred upon by the medical billing associate to create the claim.

This claim is used by the insurance company to determine the amount to be reimbursed to the healthcare service provider. Finally, the balance amount is sent to the patient by the billing associate to complete the payment cycle. An associate’s responsibility is to consistently communicate with the payer and the patient to ensure quick payment to the provider.

Medical Coding:

Medical coding requires one to be aware of thousands of codes assigned to symptoms, medications, and diagnosis. Hence, it becomes crucial for an aspirant to avail professional training in order to perform successfully on the job. With diseases and symptoms increasing in complexity, the amount of data needed to be sent to the insurance company also increases. This is where medical coding comes into the picture. Coding allows the efficient transfer of enormous amounts of data across medical facilities. Uniform coding enables easy interpretation of medical reports, diseases, and procedures performed by doctors across cities.

Coding also simplifies the process of collecting data and taking surveys and statistics for several diseases; an activity carried out by governments and health agencies to analyze healthcare-related issues and to maintain records.

During medical coding training, a medical coder learns to use the following codes to create accurate medical reports:

International Classification of Diseases – ICD codes were created by the WHO to maintain uniform vocabulary for injuries, symptoms, and diseases. These codes are used to represent the patient’s condition and the corresponding diagnosis performed by the doctor.

Current Procedure Terminology – Published and maintained by the AMA (American Medical Association), CPT codes are used to depict the medical procedures performed by a doctor or any other healthcare service provider.

Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System – HCPCS is a set of codes based on CPT codes. These codes are used to represent procedures, services, and equipments that are not covered by the CPT codes.

It is extremely crucial for the medical coding specialist to identify and enter the accurate codes in the medical report. Any misrepresentation of the codes can lead to serious administrative and health complications which could, at times, be irreversible.

Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Medical Billing and Coding Certifications are highly-valued as they provide assurance of knowledge validation and stand for best-in-class education and training.

In order to become a valued medical billing and coding specialist, a candidate can avail medical billing and coding training from recognized organizations and proceed towards pursuing the certification from the following recognized organizations:

American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) – AAPC offers Certified Professional Coder (CPC) examination and certification which is a gold standard for medical coding. Upon completion of the CPC certification, a candidate becomes eligible to apply for AHIMA and NHA certification examinations.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) – Candidates can increase their market value by demonstrating exceptional coding competencies by achieving the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential offered by AHIMA.

National HealthCareer Association (NHA) – NHA offers Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam and certification, thereby helping aspiring candidates gain extensive knowledge to become the most-sought-after billing and coding specialists. Skills acquired through this certification are valued greatly by physicians, hospitals, healthcare facilities, and insurance companies.


Sound knowledge of medical billing and coding guidelines is sure to foster effective growth for medical billing and coding professionals, thereby helping them perform vital roles in healthcare establishments. Due to the increasing demand, this profession offers job security and increased employment opportunities, especially for the certified specialists.

Join the Rapidly-Growing Healthcare Industry as a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacies are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play a vital role in dispensing medicines and making them easily available to the common people. Pharmacy technicians aid pharmacists in preparing prescribed medications, attending to customers, and carrying out administrative duties. The parallel growth of pharmacies along with other allied healthcare divisions has been noted in the last few years and a steady growth for pharmacy technicians is foreseen by health experts. Pharmacy technicians are employed at pharmacies and drug stores, general clinics and hospitals, specialty hospitals, and general stores.

Role of a Pharmacy Technician

While pursuing the Pharmacy Technician Training Program, a candidate learns to develop expertise in the following:

  • Pharmaceutical terminologies
  • Supervising medical inventory
  • Managing data entries
  • Learning to interpret prescriptions
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Providing medicines and other healthcare products to patients and customers following the doctor’s prescription
  • Engaging with wholesalers and purchase required medicines and other products
  • Connecting customers with pharmacists to help resolve queries on medication and health issues
  • Performing administrative duties
  • Liaising with clinics and hospitals for collecting prescriptions and supplying drugs accordingly

Qualities of a Successful Pharmacy Technician

Detail Oriented:

A pharmacy technician must be accurate at reading and interpreting prescriptions prescribed by the physicians. Incorrect interpretation can lead to serious health hazards causing complications for patients and retailers/pharmacists. A technician must be well-educated in the field to identify drugs that are not necessitated to be prescribed, as several times, customers ask for medicines without having any medical prescriptions.

Good Listener:

Listening clearly to doctors, patients, customers and pharmacists is critical for good reception of requests and orders. A pharmacy technician must be able to follow instructions and delegate their duties with utmost caution. Any activity involving the well-being and health of the patients must be performed with diligence, and care must be taken to ensure the correct determination of customer needs.

Quality Customer Service:

Retail setups demand that pharmacy technicians be kind and polite when engaging with customers. Dealing with customers with different personalities and mind sets can get taxing. However, a pharmacy technician must be able to respond and react with patience and goodness to everyone who stops by.

Administrative Skills:

Efficient deployment of duties and responsibilities is essential for a pharmacy technician while being in-charge of healthcare. Good organization skills to maintain records, supervise inventory, serve customers, and manage the office are a must for a skilled pharmacy technician.

Gain Recognition through Certification

While a few pharmacy employers consider experience, several others mandate certification. At present, the following two organizations provide certifications for pharmacy technicians:

1. Pharmacy Technician Certification BoardPTCB develops and administers a nationally accredited certification for pharmacy technicians. Technicians can also avail PTCB’s recertification program every 2 years and attain high career prospects through recognized credentials.

1.1. Verify your Eligibility for PTC with PTCB – A candidate is eligible to apply for the pharmacy technician certificate upon satisfying the following requirements:

  • Completion of high school diploma or an equivalent degree
  • Compliance with applicable PTCB certification policies
  • Complete disclosure of criminal records
  • Achievement of the minimum passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

Aspiring candidates can apply online and register to schedule an appointment for certificate examination.

2. National Healthcareer Association – NHA certifies an individual to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). To avail this certification, candidates must register for the ExCPT Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination.

2.1 Eligibility for CPhT – The following requirements need to be satisfied by an individual to become eligible for the examination at NHA:

  • Successful completion of high school diploma or an equivalent degree.
  • Relevant work experience or successful completion of Pharmacy Technician Training Program offered by an accredited institution.
  • Candidates who have completed their graduation or training program five years prior to the date of application, must earn 1200 hours of supervised pharmacy related work experience.

Recertification must be availed every 2 years by the pharmacy technicians to depict continued learning and adherence to the latest best practices.

Benefits of Pharmacy Technician Certification

  • Increased job prospects
  • Eligibility for high salary
  • Validated achievement of knowledge
  • Edge over non-certified pharmacy technicians in the healthcare industry
  • Awareness and knowledge of industry best practices

Job Prospects

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 9% rise in jobs for pharmacy technicians owing to large number of aging baby boomers, increasing chronic diseases, and advanced pharmaceutical research.
With the rising demand, pharmacy technicians will graduate towards accepting more responsibilities, formerly handled by pharmacists, as pharmacists will begin to engage in managing advanced patient care.

Job Prospects


The healthcare industry is considered immune to economic crises and irrespective of the economic progress or slowdown, the industry will continue to grow, thanks to the growing need for medication. The progress of this industry will be enjoyed by all the stakeholders and professionals catering to the growing demands of medical services. It is, therefore, a feasible option to pursue a career as a healthcare professional by choosing among the several options available.

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Medical Assistant Jobs Are on the Rise

As reported by the US Department of Labor, medical assisting is believed to become one of the fastest growing occupations through 2018, making this the right time for aspiring healthcare professionals to avail the necessary training. A survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network projected medical assistant as one of the top five professionals vital to the Patient-Centered Medical Home team.

A multi-faceted personality is what makes a good medical assistant. The profession demands a strong foothold in various departments ranging from working in a physician’s office to performing administrative, technical and medical duties.

With minimal tuition fee and lower study hour requirements, the said profession is a viable option for health care aspirants.

A medical assistant is primarily responsible for supporting the physician and ensuring smooth operations of the medical facilities.

Learning to Become a Medical Assistant

The Medical Assistant training program imparts the following theoretical and practical knowledge:

  • Recording vital signs and performing diagnostic tests
  • Administering injections and medication
  • Preparing operation rooms with required equipments and instruments for surgical procedures
  • Sterilizing medical instruments
  • Assisting physicians while carrying out routine check-up and physical examination
  • Coordinating with pharmacies, blood banks, and other stakeholders
  • Preparing patients for X-rays, changing dressings, and removing sutures
  • Taking electrocardiograms
  • Maintaining records
  • Clinical assisting and office work

Must-Have Qualities in a Medical Assistant

Eye for Detail:

An aspiring medical assistant must be detail-oriented as physicians and insurance companies heavily depend on accurate data. This quality becomes necessary when a medical assistant records vital signs and other health related information about the patients.

Analytical Skills:

The ability to interpret medical charts and diagnosis results is a must for a medical assistant. In addition to this, a medical assistant also needs to be vigilant while handling patients’ medical history and billing records.

Technical Soundness:

Familiarity with basic medical instruments and devices is important to be able to perform medical tests, diagnosis, and drug administration following the physician’s instructions.

Interpersonal Skills:

A medical assistant operates in close contact with the patients. Hence, the ability to make the patient feel comfortable and safe is prodigiously important. A professional attitude towards all other stakeholders must be maintained as they represent the credibility of the health institution they work for. Right from receiving the patients to their treatment and discharge, the medical assistant keeps the operations rolling with precision and attention to every single development in each case.

Medical Assistant Certifications

While it is not mandatory to avail them, certifications add value to the career graph of medical assistants as both, physicians and health institutions are keen on hiring certified professionals.

The following five certifications have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, for medical assistants. Medical Assistant Training from reputed institution can prepare individuals for these certifications.

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification from American Medical Technologist
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association

Job Prospects

The United States Department of Labor projects 23% growth in the hiring of medical assistants from 2014 to 2024. The steadily-increasing rate of child birth and the demand for preventive medical services have increased the demand for healthcare services. This, in turn, has increased the work for physicians, who predominantly depend on medical assistants to regulate daily operations at their clinics and hospitals. Having a medical assistant helps physicians increase their efficiency, thereby driving their focus more towards the treatment of patients and reducing their administrative tasks.


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in U.S. Economy

A clean work environment, skilled and experienced healthcare co-workers, standard 40-hour work duration, etc. are some of the privileges a medical assistant enjoys. As one gains experience and insight, options of diverse career opportunities are realized. Medical assistants can graduate to become office managers at clinics and hospitals, qualify for administrative jobs, or even progress towards teaching medical assisting.


Evidently, the career path for medical assistants is growing and promises to be on the rise. Individuals desiring a career in the health care industry could positively consider pursuing the medical assistant training program. By enrolling with recognized training institutions that provide on-the-job training, students will become job ready at the end of their training period. The booming healthcare industry is a thriving ground for medical assistants, allowing them to experience great professional growth. The demand for medical assistant professionals will continue to multiply in the coming years. 

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Top 3 Tips for Achieving Success as a Phlebotomy Technician

One of the prevalent myths phlebotomy is that it is a practice which can be mastered with a few hours of basic training.

However, it’s time to dispel this misconception. There’s a lot more to phlebotomy and the role of a phlebotomy technician or phlebotomist than simply collecting blood samples. In fact, phlebotomy plays a crucial role in patient care.

This medical process aids in preventing serious illnesses from progressing. It plays a major role in diagnosis, preventative healthcare, and treatment of diseases.

Blood samples help detect severe diseases such as leukemia, kidney ailments, cancer, and anemia. Moreover, blood tests are carried out to monitor cholesterol levels and blood sugar.

This medical procedure cannot be performed in the absence of qualified and trained professionals.

Also, it is essential to understand that there’s a stark difference between a phlebotomist and an outstanding phlebotomist.

Here are a few tips that can help you become the latter:

1. Have a Keen Eye for Detail

Being a phlebotomist will require you to reflect professionalism in your job role. More importantly, you will need to take care of the minutest of details.

Bearing each and every step in mind during the phlebotomy procedure is important to prevent laboratory error and patient injury. For instance, the touch of a finger to verify the location of a vein before the insertion of the needle may increase the chances of contamination in the specimen.

In addition to this, jostling and jarring of the test tubes in transit can lead to false laboratory results. Clerical errors in completing forms and identifying patients are very common. However, you can prevent committing them by being vigilant.

Here are a few aspects to take care of at all costs:

  • Puncture the skin keeping in mind the specific angle (15-30 degree angle of insertion).
  • Keep in mind that the medial vein in the antecubital area is considered acceptable for venipuncture.
  • Invert the tubes containing anticoagulants immediately after the collection of specimens to prevent clotting.
  • Make sure to label the specimen immediately after collection.
  • Measure the blood pressure, assess, and inspect the physiological condition of the donor. You should be in a relaxed mood to conduct this procedure effectively.
  • Remember, the rule of thumb – when collecting a specimen, puncturing on the same site is a strict no-no. Moreover, puncturing twice may frighten the patient.
  • Take proper care of aspects such as hygiene, sterilization, and disinfection. You should disinfect the skin prior to this procedure and use a disposable sterile syringe. More importantly, the amount of blood withdrawn shouldn’t exceed the recommended level.

2. Providing Proper Counseling to the Patient

Remember, practicing phlebotomy, or any medical procedure for that matter, requires the medical professional to inform, explain, and take consent from the respective patient.

As a phlebotomist, you will have to provide proper counseling to the patient. This will help calm the patient if he/she is feeling anxious about the procedure. Further, it will also instill confidence in him/her.

Effective counseling can help achieve positive impact on patient care and result in desired therapeutic outcomes. It is, therefore, imperative that you counsel the patients to ensure that they’re well-informed regarding the respective procedure.

Apart from recommending him/her the best ways to relax his/her muscles, you should also notify the patient about the side effects that may occur. Warning about the potential side effects and providing dietary suggestions is essential.

As a phlebotomist, it’s your duty to explain the after-effects like fatigue, weakness, and hypersensitivity to the patient prior to collecting the specimen.

3. Having the Required Qualification

A phlebotomy certification is not just a piece of paper. It plays a crucial role in the medical field. Gaining the necessary professional training is crucial to the development of your career in this field.

Being certified has its own share of perks. Phlebotomists who are nationally certified not only enjoy a sense of professional pride, but they also tend to get relatively higher packages.

According to the American Association of Medical Personnel, certified phlebotomists earn 10% more than their noncertified counterparts. You need your phlebotomy certificate and license to complement your education, training, and experience. There are dozens of schools that offer phlebotomy courses. Make sure to complete your phlebotomy technician program from a highly-reputed school.


Phlebotomy is one of the most underestimated procedures, owing to how deceptively simple it looks. However, that’s not the case. Phlebotomy is a highly technical procedure, and in order to perform venipunctures cleanly, safely, and successfully, a phlebotomist needs to undergo proper training. Having the needed experience can build a phlebotomist’s confidence and reassure the patients that their health is in safe hands. Further, legitimate certification will go a long way in advancing your career in the healthcare industry.