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.

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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.
Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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

Conclusion

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.

job-prospects

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.

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion

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.

Five Must-Have Traits of a Brilliant Medical Assistant

A career in the healthcare industry may be apt for those who’re fascinated by medical science and wish to make a difference in people’s lives.

If you’re among them, then you can consider starting off as a medical assistant. It is a booming career path, and can serve as an excellent step to aid you in climbing the ladder of success in the healthcare industry.

However, being a medical assistant is no cakewalk. Whether it’s handling clinical duties, or performing laboratory or administrative tasks, an assistant needs to take care of several responsibilities. Moreover, there’s a stark difference between a medical assistant and an excellent medical assistant

If you aim to be the latter, you need to ensure that you have the skills needed for it.

Here are the top five traits of an outstanding medical assistant.

1. Meeting the Needs of Clients Effectively

First and foremost, a medical assistant needs to juggle a lot of responsibilities at once. You may have to deal with several patients at one time, and ensure that you attend to each one of them and address their concerns.

Moreover, you may have to deal with death and undesirable test results on a daily basis, which requires you to be strong. You may even have to deal with strenuous situations that may involve calming the patient. It is easy to get worked up in tense situations. However, as a medical assistant, you need to have the self-control to maintain professional composure, irrespective of what you may have to deal with.

2. Smooth Communication

Can you imagine how a patient would feel if he/she cannot understand the details of his/her health problem owing to the complex medical jargon?

This is where your role as an effective communicator comes into the picture. In fact, strong communication skills can enable you to build a top-notch medical assisting career. You should be able to translate medical lingo into the layman’s terms for the patient.

Being a great communicator also requires you to be a fantastic listener. Only by listening carefully to the concerns of patients will you be able to meet their needs perfectly. Moreover, doctors and nurses will also provide you with several instructions and case details throughout the day. By listening to every bit of them and meticulously noting them down, you will be able to provide a great client experience, thereby performing brilliantly at your job.

Remember, there is no room for mistakes. You need to always be on your toes and complete the assigned tasks with ultimate perfection.

3. Adaptability

The healthcare industry has been witnessing dramatic changes year after year. As a medical assistant, you need to be able to pick up on things quickly, be flexible, and adapt to changes.

Being a medical assistant is not just about having the medical assistant certification or other needed qualifications. For a medical assistant, keeping up with the rapidly emerging trends in the healthcare industry and adapting to them are supremely important. This is a golden opportunity for those who want to gain medical experience and carve a niche for themselves in the industry.

Multitasking and having an adaptable personality are critical to achieving success as a medical assistant.

4. Competency

Whether it’s recording the patient’s vital signs, completing medical histories, or performing routine administrative tasks, a medical assistant has a sea of responsibilities resting on his/her shoulders. A medical assistant certification tells the potential employers that you meet certain standards of competence, and are well-qualified to perform the duties of a medical assistant. So, having certification is, undoubtedly, the first step towards achieving competency.

Depending upon your job role and the facility you will be working at, your job responsibilities may include, but not be limited to:

  • Administering injections
  • Drawing blood
  • Ordering supplies & equipment needed to keep the facility running smoothly
  • Preparing the exam room for the physician
  • Scheduling appointments for patients
  • Taking vital signs
  • Recording patient medical history

5. Team-Player

As a medical assistant, you will be working with an intricate team, which would involve everyone from the receptionist, and the coding and billing department to the technicians at the laboratory. You need to be able to get along with others and work cooperatively with peers as well as the other health care providers in order to work efficiently.

Conclusion

Being a brilliant medical assistant requires one to put in tremendous effort and develop the above-mentioned characteristics. A small mistake on your part could land you in a lot of trouble, which is why you need to have a keen eye for details. Acquiring the aforementioned qualities will give you an edge over your competitors. Further, they will also go a long way in helping you build strong relationships with your patients and co-workers. Remember, you need to be confident in performing your duties and comfortable in working with people from varied walks of life to be a truly successful medical assistant.

Top Tips for Allied Health Professionals to Deal With Difficult Patients

Patients come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments. While there are a few, who form an everlasting bond with us, there are some other patients who we can’t wait to get rid of.

Healthcare professionals have a hard time dealing with such patients. They appear angry, nagging, and sometimes simply impossible. But they have come for treatment, and it is the system’s duty and responsibility to provide them with the best care and support.

While the medicines and the machines will do their work on these individuals, how can you make your task a tad bit easier? How can you manage to have positive and effective interactions with such people? We uncover some useful tips for health professionals to deal with difficult patients.

The Anger Is Not directed at You – Don’t Take It Personally

When someone is screaming, and using foul language, and being outright hostile to you, it is hard not to take it personally. However, do understand that this insulting and angry behaviour is not directed at you. Patients can be angry and frustrated for a number of reasons. Maybe they are in a lot of pain, maybe no one has come to meet them in a really long time, maybe they are simply bored out of their wits, or unhappy with the treatment meted out in the hospital. Boredom, frustration, agony, pain, and loneliness can easily find access through anger and hostility. And you become the victim of that hostility.

In all or most cases, the hostile way a person behaves with you is not personal. In fact sometimes, they don’t know you at all. So try not to feel all flared up and insulted. While the medical pros have learned this and mastered patience and empathy over time, the relatively newer healthcare professionals often need to master the technique. Even if a person is shouting or using foul language, don’t react. Let him get done with the cathartic stream of anger, and then deal with him in a rational manner.

Use a reassuring but firm tone, and make it clear to the patient that you understand his frustration, but such behaviour is not acceptable in the clinical institute premises.

Don’t Judge and Give Up

It is difficult to not have opinions about people you are interacting with. In the healthcare field, you will meet a few patients who are probably at the facility due to alcohol addictions, drug overuse and other such harmful addictions.

They may still have relapses, not comply with their treatment, completely disobey you, or refuse to take their medicines. It would be an obvious reaction for you to get annoyed and feel that they just don’t want to recover. Restrain from those feelings and keep investing in your patients no matter how reckless they may seem.

The moment the patient senses that you are getting judgmental, it will make him make him more weary and rebellious. Putting aside your personal feelings and helping the patient out under all circumstances should be your first priority. Unless the push really comes to a shove, do not engage in any conflict or a duel of words with the patients. It will only make matters worse.

Convey Empathy and Understanding

The most difficult of patients can also be turned around with understanding and empathy. Do try to put yourself in their shoes. You are probably meeting these people in their most difficult time.

Be empathetic towards your patients, and more importantly convey that understanding and empathy through your words and messages. ‘I understand’, ‘your anger is obvious’, ‘please tell me your problem’, ‘let me help you’ are words that convey compassion and reassurance to the patients and can actually help them calm down and open up to you.

Eliminate the Cause of Anger

Being a healthcare professional is an amalgamation of both logic and emotion. Apply both to your patients. Difficult patients are so for a reason. Try to find out the root cause of their behaviour, and try and develop solutions to them. You may notice while administering some drug that it triggers a particular reaction in the individual, like moodiness or irritation. You may find out that he does not like the food being served, or is experiencing anxiety and loneliness, and hence the edginess.

If you as a medical assistant or healthcare professional manage to find out this root cause and eliminate the source of turmoil, you will have a much more relaxed and calmer patient, and your work will become that much more easier.

Take Care of Yourself

In extreme cases, a difficult or weary patient may pose danger to the medical professional himself or herself. Some patients are very aggressive and violent and the medical settings make them even more so. Watch out for signs from these patients, like clenching of fists, strongly withdrawn brows and the likes. Retreat and call for security when any patient gets physically violent. Don’t try to deal with them all by yourself. Keep your own safety in mind, and also prevent the patient from hurting himself or herself.

Kindness Helps

Make a genuine attempt to treat your patients with care, compassion and kindness. Care for them not simply like a sick individual, but like a dear friend or family. Be reassuring and comforting to all your patients. Cut the difficult ones some slack. Maybe you are seeing them at their worst. Soon, you will find that you are actually beginning to understand your patients better and they are gradually warming up to you.

Get Professionally Trained

After completing my Medical Assistant Program in Connecticut, I realized that professional training from a good institute not just betters your career prospects, but also makes you a more well-equipped and sensitive medical professional who is more adaptable and able to cope with the myriad situations and multiple challenges of the medical world.

The above tips can be very helpful for medical professionals in dealing with difficult patients. Let us know if these were helpful. If you have some other recommendations for the same, do mention them in the comments section and make lives a little easier for the medical professionals.

Best Qualities of Healthcare Workers

Human society has evolved rapidly. There have been revolutionary transformations in the quality of life. A pillar of society that has benefited massively owing to modernization and technological development is the medical field. Cures and medicines have been developed for most diseases. There is ongoing research to find lifestyle solutions and affordable cure for deadly and dangerous diseases. Lifespans are increasing, and overall mortality rates are higher in the developing countries as well.

While right medicines and advanced treatments have surely accelerated the process of achieving better health, the most important element of the healthcare industry still remains the human factor.

Medical professionals string together everything seamlessly and make the process of recovery and cure possible for the patients. In this post we discuss the most important qualities a responsible healthcare professional should possess.

Be a Good Communicator

Good communication skills lie at the core of a healthcare professional. They should be able to patiently listen to their patients and their family members. They should know how to interpret and convey technical knowledge about diagnosis and treatment in a way, that the patient understands clearly.

Empathy is also a big part of communication in the medical field. You have to learn to empathize with your patient, their worried family, and communicate honestly and appropriately.

A healthcare professional should be able to communicate needs,requirements, and specifics of treatment effectively to colleagues and other healthcare professional. Only then the best treatments and therapies can be advanced to the patients.

Be Passionate and Acquire Technical Knowledge

Healthcare is a tough professional field. To succeed and do well in this field, one has to be passionate about the medical field. It is stressful. Many traumatic situations will crop up. But you cannot lose your emotional cool.

To learn the functioning of the medical industry, and acquire the highest levels of professionalism, consider professional qualifications like medical assistant certification.

These take you a notch above the rest, and gives a boost to your medical career. Medical assistant certification helps you to learn the ropes of the industry and prove to your prospective employers that indeed you have cleared the rigorous standards of the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

When preparing for this certification, you also become well versed with medical laws and ethics, medical transcriptions of anatomy and physiology and other areas of medical expertise.

There is huge boom expected in the medical field. Passionate and driven youngsters can find rewarding prospects in the industry. Specialized certifications like phlebotomy technicians, patient care technicians and pharmacy technicians will enjoy great career prospects in the medical field.

Besides, the level of specialization and expertise will be an added advantage.

Be Flexible in Your Approach

A healthcare professional may face many unexpected situations. Being a healthcare professional is not a typical 9 to 5 job, where every day is just like the other. You meet different people with different personalities in highly stressful conditions.

It is not possible that your behaviour remains the same with everybody you meet. You have to be , assessing their moods and condition. This can be quite a task, especially when you are facing a lot of stress and pressure as well. Being dependable and having a high immunity to stress will be very helpful.

But, there is no scope for error. You have to be flexible, and be able to adapt to different circumstances. It is not just difficult people, healthcare professionals encounter. They encounter almost impossible situations too.

When you are serving as a medical assistant, you will be expected to perform a variety of tasks right from explaining treatment, and doing dressing, and changing wounds to answering telephones, scheduling appointments, cleaning and sterilizing instruments, and administering medication under physician supervision.

It is not easy to juggle from one duty to another. Adaptability and flexibility becomes a major requisite for a good healthcare professional.

Be a Team Player

A close off-shoot of flexibility is the ability to be a team player. As a healthcare professional you will have to be interacting with a horde of people. From doctors to therapists, to laboratory assistants to nutritionists, to the caretaker, you will have to co-ordinate and assist everybody and work as a team to achieve the final goal- the patient’s successful recovery. A positive attitude and effective communication is an absolute must.

You must engage in actions that will benefit you, but also benefit others. For growing personally, and professionally you must foster a team environment, and help others grow while you climb the ladder of success yourself.

Attention to Detail

Dexterity is a key necessity in healthcare professions. Precision and detail orientation is an asset. Diagnosis, assessment, prescription, medicine administration, all medical procedures, and documentation require attention to detail.

Even the smallest of errors can cost very heavily. On the other hand, asking relevant questions by listening carefully can lead to beneficial consequences. Understanding, diagnosing, and interpreting medical charts also appear as important functions.

Have High Levels of Honesty and Integrity

This is a profession that involves human lives. The highest degree of integrity, honesty and transparency is a must in a healthcare professional. As you pursue and complete your medical assistant certification, you will learn important lessons of the medical field and emerge properly groomed to take on the trials and rigors of the medical world.

Conclusion

To conclude, if you aspire to be a healthcare professional do remember that you can only educate , help and uplift others and do your work properly when you are in a good state physically and mentally. Have a nutritious diet, and adequate sleep. Indulge in regular physical activity, and avoid harmful substances. When you are physically and mentally fit, you are much better equipped to handle the challenges of the medical field.