Where Can Medical Office Assistants Work?

November 4th, 2021

Your first interaction with a doctor’s office such as scheduling an appointment or registering yourself when you arrive at the clinic is normally carried out by a medical office assistant or medical administrative assistant. Medical office assistants  (not to be confused with medical clinical assistants that work alongside doctors and nurses) play a vital role in client service and administrative duties and are often your first point of contact. 

medical office assistant assisting doctor
Medical office assistants work closely with patients and doctors.
Seeing a doctor can be stressful, but medical office assistants (MOAs) create a welcoming environment for patients and can make them feel comfortable and taken care of. Without their services, there would be a lot of gaps in patient care, and it would be unlikely to experience a hassle-free doctor’s visit. With that being said, let us dive deeper into the role of a medical office assistant.   

Where Can Medical Office Assistants Work?  

Medical office assistants can work in a variety of different office settings. Graduates can expect to find work at clinics, private practices, dental offices, hospitals and chiropractic and physiotherapy centers. According to Job Bank Canada, 94% of medical administrative assistants work in the ambulatory health care services and hospital sector. As an MOA, you would be required to be present in the office of the clinic or hospital you work in as you would need to coordinate and communicate with patients that come in for a face-to-face visit.   

Medical office assistants play a significant role in keeping a medical center running smoothly. The job is rewarding — MOAs help people every day by assisting them to gain medical care, so patients can get the treatment they require and achieve better health.  

What Do Medical Office Assistants Do?  

Every medical facility requires someone to handle the essential day-to-day tasks from patient registration to billing and processing insurance requests. A medical office assistant is responsible for various tasks and medical office administration duties. The role requires one to have strong planning and organizational skills and excellent communication skills. If you work in a busy clinic with multiple doctors, your role may also involve a high degree of multitasking and greater attention to detail.   

Typical daily responsibilities include:  

  • Front desk services such as answering the telephone and greeting patients as they enter the office   
  • Scheduling patient appointments, tests and procedures  
  • Measuring vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, weight, and height and adding them to a patient’s file  
  • Recording patients’ personal information and medical history such as test results, past surgeries, or medication they are currently taking  
  • Filling out insurance forms and file claims   
  • Sterilizing instruments and keeping treatment rooms clean for patient examinations  
  • Maintaining inventory such as office and medical supplies   
  • Billing patients and processing invoices   
  • Acting as a liaison between patient and physician (discussing a message that the doctor has passed on or relaying patient concerns to the doctor)

These are just some of the most common tasks carried out by medical office assistants each day. MOAs can be responsible for just about anything that has to do with patient care outside of the clinical side. According to Amy Pytlowany, Faculty Head of Medical Office Assistant, employers also expect an employee who has knowledge of the healthcare environment, common computer systems, billing and medical vocabulary. Many medical office assistants can also be involved directly with patient care, and will be expected to understand safety and infection-control protocols. An effective MOA will understand the importance of patient confidentiality and will ensure they know and follow all privacy policies their employer provides. 

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?  

A Medical Assistant salary can vary based on the province in which you practice, the type of healthcare facility you work in, and your level of experience. According to Job Bank Canada, the wages in the Toronto region are between $15.38 to $32.00 per hour with the median wage at $22. As with any profession, the more experience you gain, the higher your wage will be. 

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant

The growth in the Canadian population, recent investments, and demand for health services all contribute to the increase in job opportunities for this occupation.   

To become a medical office assistant, you will need a high school graduation diploma or equivalent. One of the first steps is to acquire a Medical Office Assistant qualification. It can be quite a challenge to find employment without education and experience. By earning a qualification, you will learn medical terminology, healthcare law and PHIPA (Personal Health Information Protection Act), how to measure and record vital signs, understand electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), and much more.   

Employers prefer applicants that have experience in the field, which is why internships provide graduates with a competitive advantage. triOS requires every student to complete an internship when pursuing a medical office administration program.  

Are you ready to embark on a new career path in the healthcare sector? Gain the necessary qualifications and complete your internship in under one year with our  Medical Office Assistant program. Check out also our Medical Office Administration (Online) program, which offers you the flexibility of studying at home.