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    A physician’s solution to rising healthcare demands

    Qualified medical assistants can help primary care practices become more efficient, reduce patient wait times and streamline patient processing, which ultimately increase patient satisfaction. They can perform a vast array of clinical, administrative and general duties, ranging from diagnostic tests and laboratory services, maintaining electronic health records, explaining treatment procedures and providing health coaching to scheduling appointments and monitoring reimbursements. 

    But to perform these duties competently, medical assistants need to be rigorously trained. The reality is many are not, even if they are credentialed. As the manager for staffing services for a county medical society, I work closely with primary care practices to help them meet their staffing needs, including hiring qualified medical assistants. I have seen firsthand the significant variation in medical assistant training and credentialing, and the resulting skills and knowledge. That means primary care practices need to be astute in their hiring of medical assistants, seeking those who are well-trained and highly qualified. 


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    While it is considered a “soft” skill, one of the most important qualifications to look for in a medical assistant is the ability to communicate clearly, effectively and consistently. This is increasingly crucial as patients often see the medical assistant more often than the physician, and may not understand the difference between the medical assistant and other clinical staff. 

    Other soft—but vitally important—skills include the following: 

    • Strong work ethic 
    • Professional demeanor 
    • Critical thinking 
    • Positive attitude 
    • Good time management 
    • Being a team player 
    • Problem solving 
    • Self-confidence 
    • Ability to learn from criticism 
    • Flexibility and adaptability 
    • Ability to work well under pressure 


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    All of these skills require rigorous training. Because assessing these skills can be challenging, primary care practices should look closely at a candidate’s training and understand the difference between medical assistant credentials. Start by asking for a copy of the candidate’s transcript, then inquire about how the education and training they received can be applied to specific tasks. Find out the depth of their training in competency areas important to your patient care goals.  

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    • [email protected]
      Do you even read your own headlines? This person is a CMA, not a physician as you state in your headline and advertisement to "read her thoughts". This is not a Physician's solution to healthcare- it is an advertisement by some CMA and their credentialing organization on how to hire CMAs that have been credentialed through their organization.

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