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How Medical Assistants Contribute to Patient Care

Posted Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020 by Altierus

Looking to train for a new career in healthcare? Consider training to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants (MAs) help clinics, practices and hospital departments run smoothly by providing both administrative and clinical support. In fact, medical assistants can play an important role in ensuring patients receive quality care. Here are just a few ways they contribute to healthcare teams.


MAs are often the first person patients interact with when they arrive for their appointment and the last person they see before they leave. Through effective communication with patients, MAs can help ensure that:

  • Patients understand what will happen during their appointment
  • Doctors have a high-level understanding of the patient’s needs
  • Patients understand any terminology used by the doctor during the appointment
  • Patients understand how to manage their condition and how to access follow-up care

MAs can also provide compassionate support for patients who are distressed or in pain by listening to their concerns and reassuring them before and during appointments.


MAs perform a number of basic healthcare duties. These duties will vary from employer to employer, but can include:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Collecting patient samples, such as blood, for lab tests
  • Administering vaccines
  • Performing CLIA-waived tests such as strep tests, mono tests, etc.
  • Removing stitches
  • Performing electrocardiograms (EKGs)

During these procedures, MAs can also be on the lookout for other signals of what may be wrong with a patient. These can be obvious physical symptoms, such as rashes or inflammation, or symptoms of neurological issues, such as confusion. By making note of the patient’s condition, MAs can communicate additional symptoms to the doctors and nurses who will be assessing the patient during their appointment.

Patient Empowerment

MAs can help patients understand their conditions better by explaining terminology used by the doctor and nurses. They can also provide patient education for managing conditions. They can walk patients through any information the healthcare provider has given the patient, such as brochures or diet plans. They can show patients or their caregivers how to re-dress a wound and how to identify signs of infection. MAs can also answer basic questions about taking medications prescribed by their healthcare provider.

Following Up

Finally, MAs help keep patients in touch with their healthcare team. Because MAs are often involved with administration of the practice, they can check up on patients who missed scheduled appointments, touch base with patients who are due for follow-up care, or help patients who are being referred to a specialist for further care.

Train to Become a Medical Assistant

Interested in training to become a medical assistant? Altierus Career College offers a 9-month Medical Assistant Diploma at all three of our campuses. Find out more about earning your diploma with us today!


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