Responsibilities of a medical office assistant vary based on sector of employment, but may include scheduling patient appointments, recording patient history and personal information, assisting the doctor with physical examinations, adding patient information to the medical records, and preparing blood samples for laboratory tests. Medical office assistants may also administer injections or medications and measure patients' vital signs, height and weight. In large medical settings, such as hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in clinical or administrative work.
Additional general medical office assistant duties include signing in patients for appointments, answering the office telephone, operating office equipment, and using specialized computer software. Medical assistants may also track, organize and order office supplies; explain treatments to patients; arrange for patient lab services and hospital admission; maintain certain office equipment; and handle billing, bookkeeping and correspondence tasks.
Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on state law, but the duties may include disposing of contaminated supplies, instructing patients about diets and medications, sterilizing medical equipment, removing stitches, and preparing patients for X-rays. Podiatric medical assistants may expose and develop X-rays, assist in surgery, and make castings of feet. Optometric medical assistants may demonstrate to patients how to insert and remove contact lenses, and ophthalmic medical assistants may assist with surgery.