There are a few different kinds of medical assistants, including administrative and clinical medical assistants, and some have more direct contact with patients than others. Administrative medical assistants tend to be the ones with more behind the scene job duties. They are responsible for answering the phones, filling out insurance forms, helping code different kinds of medical information and scheduling appointments for patients. All medical assistants work with patients’ personal information and must keep this information confidential. Many medical assistants pursue formal education through a certificate program in the field, but may have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.
Medical transcriptionists specialize in interpreting, editing, reviewing and converting to written form all kinds of medical voice recordings and documents. They need excellent understanding of medical terminology and editing skills to perform their job. To ensure accuracy, they identify any inconsistencies, missing information or mistakes and submit the forms for final approval. They may also be responsible for updating reports into electronic health records (EHR) systems. Though most patients may not know this job exists, the work is very important in maintaining accurate medical records and documentation. Medical transcriptionists need a postsecondary education, typically in the form of a 1-year certificate program or associate’s degree program.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians generally work in a laboratory setting, away from patients, under the guidance of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers. They perform some of the more routine, less complex tests and lab procedures on samples of body fluids, tissues and more. They need to take detailed notes and update patient information, as well as inform physicians of their findings. These professionals are trained to use a variety of automated equipment and computerized instruments in the lab. These technicians need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate and, depending on the state, may need a license.
Orderlies perform many of the behind-the-scene duties that keep a hospital, nursing home or medical facility clean and running smoothly. This includes sterilizing equipment, stocking all kinds of supplies, changing linens and cleaning facilities. Some orderlies may also help patients maneuver around the facility as needed. They usually hold a high school diploma.
Medical Appliance Technicians
Medical appliance technicians work closely with doctors to design and construct patient-specific medical supportive devices. Depending on their area of expertise, such as orthotics or prosthetics, they may help make things like leg braces, arch supports, replacement limbs and more. They are often skilled in working with a range of materials, including metal and plastic. They may also assist in the fitting of their product to the patient. Most medical appliance technicians have a high school diploma.
An epidemiologist is another position that many people may not be aware of, but without it the general public could be in trouble, as they work to monitor causes of disease and injuries. They also try to reduce the risk of various health hazards through education and policy. Epidemiologists conduct extensive research using surveys and blood or fluid samples to investigate health issues. There are many areas of specialization for these professionals, including chronic diseases, environmental health, infectious diseases, injury and more. Epidemiologists need at least a master’s degree, and many hold a master’s in public health (MPH) or doctorate.