Medical assistants play vital roles in today’s healthcare industry, helping doctors perform a number of clinical and administrative duties. These include administering medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims and more. As you might imagine, medical assistants work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics, but they are needed in other locations that might surprise you.

Here are five places where medical assistants can apply their versatile skills in the healthcare industry:

Retirement facility

Medical assistant jobs are in demand, partially because of a rapidly aging U.S. population. As people age, they usually need more medical care. A logical place to put the skills of a medical assistant to use is a retirement facility – nursing home or assisted living facility. Many of the residents are not sick; they are just elderly and need assistance. In many cases, medical assistants can administer their medication, give injections or check vitals. They may also assist residents with their daily hygiene, help them get around in wheelchairs and with walkers, provide first aid and handle basic physiotherapy sessions. In addition, because many retirement facilities have their own on-staff physicians, medical assistants can be a big help to them.

Palliative care facility

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may effectively eradicate some or all of the disease, but both come with side effects (pain, nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness, insomnia, etc.) and disrupt quality of life. Palliative care helps relieve the symptoms and helps patients and families live the best way possible for as long as possible. Medical assistants who work in a palliative care facility can assist cancer patients with their daily care, administer medication, change dressings and lend support. They are also an excellent resource for families of patients because they can keep them up to date on the course of treatment, handle administrative tasks and offer emotional support.

Home healthcare

A medical assistant who enjoys (or requires) schedule flexibility might decide that working in home healthcare is a good option. Many people who need regular health monitoring choose to stay in their homes rather than in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Others may need post-hospitalization follow-up care. In these cases, a medical assistant can provide care in the patient’s home. Some of the duties may be similar to those required in an assisted living facility, such as checking vitals, helping with mobility issues and providing medical social services.

Insurance companies

A medical assistant is critically important to the smooth operation of a doctor’s office, hospital or medical clinic, and his or her duties are split between administrative and clinical responsibilities. If you choose to work for an insurance company, you will use more of the administrative skills you’ve learned. You will be able to understand patient medical records and be adept at organizing hospital admissions, lab services and insurance claims. Because you will know medical terminology and basic medical care, you would be a valuable resource to an insurance company.


Four branches of the U.S. military – the Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard – need medical assistants to help on bases and on the battlefield. Depending on the branch of the military you choose, you may be expected to complete additional training, including basic training that all personnel are required to take. As a medical assistant enlisted in the military, you would work with various teams of healthcare professionals in clinics on land or aboard ships. If you are deployed overseas, you would work in a mobile field hospital. If active military duty is not for you, perhaps work for the Veterans Administration (VA) in a hospital, outpatient clinic or rehab facility.

How to become a medical assistant

Medical assistants require comprehensive training in administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures. MTI College prepares students for a career in medical assistance in less than a year with impressive coursework that encompasses:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical protocol and procedures in clinics and laboratories
  • Front-office practices, including coding and billing procedures
  • Patient relations
  • Medical law and ethics

Additionally, a required 160-hour off-campus externship provides hands-on experience in a professional healthcare facility setting that gets you ready to hit the ground running.

Studying to become a medical assistant at MTI College offers additional benefits, including:

  • The flexibility of a new program that allows you to take classes just three times a week
  • Preparation for the National Certification for Medical Assisting (NCCT) exam. Exam can be taken on campus during class hours
  • Access to MTI’s job placement assistance after graduation

Once you complete your medical assistant program at MTI College, you should be proficient in the skills needed to perform diverse duties in the healthcare field and can look forward to an in-demand career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of the medical assistant field on the national level is expected to increase by 24 percent through 2024.

Contact MTI College today to study for a career as a medical assistant, a role that is critically important in the healthcare industry.

If you’re like 75 percent of Americans, you have a smartphone. You are probably an app user and keep in touch with friends, check the weather or your bank balance, and maybe even watch the latest hit on Netflix. If you wear a fitness tracking device, you have an app linked to it to monitor your steps, heart rate and more.

Technological improvement has made healthcare apps a reality. Apps have transformed the healthcare industry, benefiting both providers and patients. Currently, more than 318,000 healthcare apps on the market are helping to aid communication between patients and providers, reduce costs and increase the efficiency of delivering patient care.

Doctors can hold video conferences with their patients or colleagues across the globe on tablets and smartphones. They can access drug information, EHRs, research and studies instantly because the information is available on their personal devices. There are apps that show X-rays and CT scans, help with stress management, monitor insulin levels, remind you to take your medication and even detect cancerous tumors.

Healthcare apps can do some amazing things.

Apps to help patients stay in control of their healthcare

When you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, go to the doctor’s office and wait in a room with a number of other sick people. Thanks to some innovative apps, you may be able to avoid that scenario and still get the treatment you need. Others let you monitor your illness.

  • Medici – Patients can text a doctor, describe their symptoms, send pictures if needed (of a rash, cut, burn, etc.) and possibly cut out unnecessary doctor visits, all while providing info on an app that is HIPAA compliant.
  • ZocDoc – There’s nothing worse than needing to see a doctor and being told you have to wait three months for an appointment. This app helps you instantly schedule an appointment to see a doctor within 24 hours.
  • Talkspace – This is online therapy via messaging with a psychologist. You pay a weekly subscription fee, which is usually less expensive than insurance co-pays and in-person visits, and a therapist is specifically matched to help you deal with your issues.
  • PediaQ – The only thing worse than going to the doctor when you’re sick is having to take your infant or child to the doctor when he or she is sick. With PediaQ, you contact a nurse practitioner who makes house calls for urgent pediatric care.
  • Sugar Sense – Diabetics can record their sugar levels throughout the day with this app that also gives an estimate of your HbA1C levels.
  • Pill Pack – The app user receives prescriptions by mail, which is not new. However, the packaging is.
    Pills come in date- and time-stamped individual packets in a dispenser so that you can take them in the proper order.
  • Epocrates – The number-one medical reference app among U.S. physicians, it details clinical practice guidelines and lists medical billing codes and drug information.
  • Patient Keeper – Through this Computerized Patient Order Entry (CPOE) app, a physician can order labs, radiology services, medications and other services or procedures for patients. A handy “favorite” feature allows the doctor to mark certain often-used procedures and medications to save time.
  • AmWell – Think of this as a virtual waiting room, allowing doctors and patients to connect remotely. Doctors can e-prescribe and accept patient payments in one app.
  • Medigram – An easy, secure way for the app user to go paperless, this app provides image sharing of scans and lab or test results.

Apps to help medical assistants or those in a medical assistant (MA) program

A medical assistant is critically important to the smooth operation of a doctor’s office, hospital or medical clinic, and his or her duties are split between administrative and clinical responsibilities. Many healthcare apps are available to help the beginning medical assistant or MA program student.

  • Epocrates – The number-one medical reference app among U.S. physicians and medical workers, it details clinical practice guidelines and lists medical billing codes and drug information.
  • Nursing Central – This app allows frontline medical personnel, such as medical assistants and nurses, do their jobs more efficiently. It’s not inexpensive, but it provides a database filled with drug information, a medical terminology dictionary and tools that assist in interpreting test results.
  • Medscape – This handy reference guide features drug names and drug interference information, 129 medical calculators and additional resources for patient care.
  • Medical Assisting Pocket GuideIdeal for newbies and students, it offers step-by-step procedural guides, help with building communications and clinical skills, and information on legal issues.
  • CMA Test Prep – This gives students in medical assistance programs a preview of what taking the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) exam will be like and provides more than 2,000 multiple choice questions.
  • Visual Anatomy – An interactive reference tool, Visual Anatomy allows the app user to view high-resolution images that show each body part, with 3D models of the organs.

Smartphone apps to help doctors treat patients – at home and on a global scale

Telehealth is making medical care more convenient, preventive and less expensive. It helps physicians make better use of their time and have all the information they need (medical history, drug info, codes, anatomy charts, etc.) with them at all times. For doctors in third-world countries who don’t have the resources to treat all the patients who may need them, smartphone apps and mobile technology are making quality healthcare possible. In China, for example, more than 100 million people suffer from rheumatic disorders, yet there are only 5,000 doctors to treat them. An app developed by Smart System Disease Management (SSDM) lets patients connect with physicians via online consultations that are far less costly than traveling to a doctor for an in-person consultation.

More help needed in healthcare industry

The future is now in terms of medical technology and mobile healthcare apps. Medical assistant jobs are in demand. With new technological advancements, more technology-savvy individuals are needed to use them.

MTI College prepares students for a career in medical assistance in less than a year with comprehensive training in administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures. Additionally, a required 160-hour off-campus externship provides hands-on experience in a professional healthcare facility setting. For those more interested in technology, MTI College offers a medical billing and coding program that focuses on computer skills and electronic health records (EHR).

Contact MTI College today to begin your MA program.

When you graduate from the medical assistant program at MTI College, you will have the background needed for an entry-level position with many possibilities. You will work with doctors, helping to perform a variety of administrative and clinical duties in a career that is increasingly in demand.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth of the medical assistant field on the national level is expected to increase by 24 percent through 2024. With the flexibility of the program at MTI College, you can be on your way to a career in medical assistance by going to school just three times a week in a fast-forwarded course. If you are currently working – or want to work part-time while earning your medical assistant certification – this is ideal for you.

Take a look at this overview of what a medical assistant does and whether it’s a career path you would like to follow.

Why are medical assistants in such demand?

Medical assistant jobs are in demand partially because of a rapidly aging U.S. population. As people age, they usually need more medical care. With technological advancements, more technology-savvy individuals are needed to use them. In addition, there is predicted growth in the number of physicians’ offices, hospitals and outpatient clinics to accommodate the increasing elderly population.

What are the duties of a medical assistant professional?

A medical assistant is critically important to the smooth operation of a doctor’s office, hospital or medical clinic, and his or her duties are split between administrative and clinical responsibilities.

Administrative duties may include:

  • Welcoming patients and answering the phone
  • Setting appointments
  • Overseeing patients’ medical records
  • Supervising patients’ insurance information
  • Organizing necessary information, such as hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handling correspondence

Clinical duties may include:

  • Preparing patients for medical examinations
  • Drawing blood
  • Removing sutures and changing dressings
  • Performing basic laboratory exams
  • Writing down medical histories
  • Assisting the doctor during exams
  • Instructing patients about medications and special diets they may need

Why choose the medical assistant program at MTI College?

MTI College prepares students for a career in medical assistance with comprehensive training in administrative, clinical and laboratory procedures. Additionally, a required 160-hour off-campus externship provides hands-on experience in a professional healthcare facility setting. Students who study in the MTI medical assistant program learn:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical protocol and procedures in clinics and laboratories
  • Front-office practices, including coding and billing procedures
  • Patient relations
  • Medical law and ethics

As a graduate of the medical assistant program at MTI, you will be prepared to go out into the work force in less than a year.

There are additional benefits of studying medical assistance at MTI, including:

  • The flexibility of a new program that allows you to take classes just three times a week
  • Preparation for the California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA)
  • Preparation for the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam that can be taken on campus
  • Access to MTI’s job placement assistance after graduation

Graduates of the medical assistant program at MTI College will have proficiency in the skills needed to perform diverse duties in the healthcare field and can look forward to an in-demand career. Contact MTI College today to begin your studies in January.

If you’re already in the medical assisting program at MTI College, you’ve made a smart career choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expecting to add nearly 4 million jobs by 2026 – about one-third of all jobs. That’s great news as you look down the road toward career advancement in clinical industry occupations.

If you’re considering becoming a medical assistant, MTI College offers you flexibility with a program that requires you to go to class just three days a week. That way, you are in charge of your time management while preparing for an in-demand career opportunity as a medical assistant.

Regardless of how far along you are on your chosen study path, you can benefit from knowing more about becoming a medical assistant and how to advance in your career.

Recent growth in the medical industry

Medical assistants play vital roles in today’s healthcare industry. They help doctors in private practice, hospitals and outpatient clinics perform a number of clinical and administrative duties, including administering medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims and more.

The rapidly aging population of baby boomers partially explains the increased demand for medical assistants. Baby boomers will continue to need preventive medical services, and doctors will hire more medical assistants to perform routine clinical and administrative procedures. That way doctors will be able to see more patients. In addition, more outpatient clinics and other medical facilities are being built to accommodate more patients, and they will need to be staffed.

Why a medical assistant program is important for your career

Even though a medical assistant does not require the same amount of training as a physician or nurse, a comprehensive education is necessary. The medical assisting program at MTI College includes training in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, protocol and procedures, and front-office procedures. A required hands-on externship gives students the practical experience needed when choosing medical assistant as a career opportunity. In addition, MTI’s job placement service can help you find your first career opportunity.

A medical assistant can be a lifesaver to a physician, who is often extremely busy and needs to focus on diagnoses and treatment. The extensive training received in a medical assisting program prepares the assistant to serve a variety of functions:

  • As the first point of contact, a medical assistant uses customer service skills to welcome a patient and to survey the situation.
  • As a clinician, the medical assistant performs routine duties, such as collecting fluid samples, taking vital signs and drawing blood so the doctor can focus on making a diagnosis and suggesting treatment.
  • As a multitasker, the medical assistant can switch hats to coordinate the administrative process involved in a patient’s care, including organizing charts and documentation, communicating with insurance companies on behalf of the patient, and scheduling additional appointments and tests.

Recent technological advances that enhance a medical assistant’s job

Depending on where you work – small or large private practice, clinic or hospital – your duties could vary. Most likely, you’ll perform a combination of clinical and administrative duties. As in other industries, technology has improved processes, increased efficiency and transformed the medical industry.

Technological advances have improved the way a medical assistant works. Take a look at these examples:

  • Electronic medical records make it easier to track patient data, share information among attending physicians and medical facilities, and generally have quick access to test results and other data.
  • Mobile devices are helping patients connect with healthcare professionals, such as the medical assistant, by offering “telehealth” apps that track and record health information, fitness goals and sleep quality that patients can then share.
  • Software is being developed to help with diagnosis and, ultimately, disease control; medical assistants will be expected to enter data into the program.
  • Remote patient monitoring can help rural patients or those unable to travel to a medical facility, and tech-savvy medical assistants will be in demand to assist in this area.
  • Data analytics is being integrated into both the clinical and administrative sides of healthcare, affecting the many responsibilities of medical assistants.

A medical assistant who can easily adapt as technology changes will be vitally important in the healthcare field. Keeping up with new technology and learning to use new software and tools can increase a medical assistant’s chance of career advancement.

How to become a medical assistant if time management is a priority

With the flexibility of the medical assisting program at MTI College, you can be on your way to that important first career opportunity by going to school just three times a week. If time management is a concern because you must work while you earn your medical assistant certification, the MTI College program is ideal for you. In as little as one year, you can graduate and be ready to take your California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam.

When you start your career as a medical assistant, it opens the door to more choices down the road. You will have a versatile portfolio of skills that you can take with you wherever you go.

Contact MTI College today and begin your medical assistant training program in January.

Many health care trends today involve America’s aging population of baby boomers, and those in the medical assistant profession can look forward to increased responsibilities. If you are contemplating your career choices, it is an ideal time to enroll in a medical assistant program, such as the one offered by MTI College in Sacramento.

As the population ages, the number of patients increases. The trends in the medical industry indicate that new ways of providing care, charging for care and organizing medical records will be needed. Having well-trained, versatile medical assistants will be critical. A medical assistant learns to assist with medical exams, checks temperature and blood pressure, and often performs office laboratory procedures.

In addition to clinical duties, those in the medical assistant profession handle multiple administrative tasks, such as filing, admitting patients and taking medical history information. Depending on where the medical assistant works, he or she may even perform medical billing and coding functions.

The health care industry is changing, and a medical assistant’s duties are ever-evolving. These are some of the medical industry changes that impact the medical assistant profession:


Data analysis is being integrated into health care operations to improve record keeping, prevent waste and boost efficiency. The medical assistant must constantly update his or her skills to keep up with technology, especially as it is used more often for specific diseases and disorders. Doctors and nurses count on medical assistants to update data so they have the information they need to treat patients.

In addition, those who have entered the medical assistant profession must be technically savvy to use new software programs and devices (such as tablets) to gather and record patient history and pharmacological data. Since technology updates often, it is important that medical assistants stay up to date with advances.

Multitasking ability

Perhaps more so than any other type of medical employee, one in the medical assistant profession must be an expert at multitasking, due to the ever-changing nature of the health care industry. Medical assistants are now performing many of the duties previously done by doctors and nurses, such as coordinating patient care, and communicating with patients and insurance companies. A medical assistant who can adapt to change, communicate well and take on additional responsibilities will have an advantage.

Treatment facilities

According to the American Medical Student Association, the number of people over the age of 65 will have increased by 73 percent between 2010 and 2030. These older Americans will make up the majority of patients who will need health care – in many cases, specialized care. Baby boomers are expected to have higher rates of hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes and will increase health care costs. Many of them will be treated in outpatient care facilities rather than in hospitals. This means that more sick patients will be released to their homes or rehab facilities, and medical assistants will be needed to work in these facilities.


Because of the growing rate of elderly Americans, employers are looking for medical assistants with specialized training in geriatric care and obesity issues. It they are bilingual in Spanish and English, experienced in pediatrics and trained in electronic medical records, they will be even more valuable.

Choosing the best medical assistant certification training program

If you are excited about health care trends and look forward to a career in the medical assistant profession, choose the best medical assistant certification training program to give you the training you need to succeed. MTI College gives you the education and job placement support you need to begin your health care industry career.

As a student in the MTI Medical Assistant program, you will learn medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology to help in your clinical work, as well as proper protocols and procedures. A required 160-hour unpaid externship provides hands-on experience. Once you’ve successfully completed your training – which could take as little as a year – you have access to MTI’s job placement assistance program. With advice from MTI’s expert staff, you could soon be on your way to helping physicians during medical exams, collecting and preparing specimens for the lab and preparing patient records.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for medical assistants is faster than average. Your training from MTI College could put you in an entry-level position in a rewarding health care career. Contact MTI today to train to become a certified medical assistant.

Dr. Rohit Dutta is the clinical instructor for MTI College’s healthcare department, which includes the medical assistant certification program, the medical billing and coding professional diploma program, and the phlebotomy certification program. Dr. Dutta has worked at MTI College for one year, and has a total of four years working in higher education overall. Prior to MTI, he was a professor at the Sacramento Ultrasound Institute. Dr. Dutta earned his M.D. degree from Crimea State Medical University in Simferopol, Ukraine, in 2003.

Originally from India, Dr. Dutta credits much of his successful career to his family — a long line of doctors who instilled in him a passion for medicine.  For over 100 years, his family in India has operated a medical practice that was initially started by his grandfather and is now run by his father.  After completing his own medical studies in Ukraine, Dr. Dutta returned to India to begin his career. There, he began specializing in internal medicine as a physician at Cheema Medical Complex & Hospital, where he worked in the operating room (OR) and assisted in the vaccination program. Dr. Dutta next obtained a position at Tata Nursing Home. In addition to his continued work in an OR setting, he also worked in pediatric care and conducted medical care checkup camps.

Dr. Dutta ultimately left his position at the nursing home to move to the United States to further develop his career and to be with family members who had already immigrated here. He obtained a position at the UC Davis Medical Center as a radiology assistant.  Over the five years he spent in this position, Dr. Dutta performed many critical, hands-on medical tasks (including evaluating the need for auxiliary life support, oxygen, and suction, as well as checking the status of IVs, pleurovacs, and vital signs during and after transport) — but his skill set also broadened to include a more cohesive focus on patient care, proper safety protocols, and even processing of patient care paperwork through data entry and substantial research.

It was also during this time that Dr. Dutta started feeling an itch to pass on the knowledge he had accumulated throughout both his educational and professional experiences. “Sharing knowledge and helping students is something I truly like. It is something you feel good about when you share your knowledge and skills with somebody so they can succeed in their life.” With that notion in mind, Dr. Dutta obtained a position as an instructor at the Sacramento Ultrasound Institute. For three years, Dr. Dutta taught various courses in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, vascular science, and medical terminology.

In 2016, Dr. Dutta chose to come to MTI College. “This is a very good place to work. You have independence and freedom to work with the students. The community is really good and enjoyable.” He currently teaches Laboratory Assisting I and II. These courses cover the administration of various clinical procedures and tests, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), spirometry, nebulizer treatments, various types of injections, and blood drawing. Dr. Dutta recommends patience to students who want to get through these classes successfully: “Sometimes, the student wants to do the procedures but needs more time and more attention.”

Another thing students should keep in mind is the learning curve they’ll face when they graduate and start their careers. Dr. Dutta finds students tend to struggle initially in their first positions with things like using medical codes, making progress notes and even taking blood pressure. “Basic things are more difficult,” he notes, adding that such challenges are normal and part of the young medical graduate’s professional growth process. And although students should be accepting of these challenges, they should also take them very seriously. For example, Dr. Dutta notes, it is imperative that students starting off in the field immediately learn and strictly comply with rules of medical hygiene, and be always alert and aware of “how to stop the diseases from going one place to another place, and from one patient to another patient.” Other significant foundational skills noted by Dr. Dutta include “how to use proper gloves and how to use proper septic techniques. Also, proper disposal of shots and how to use the garbage cans properly.” These may seem like simple tasks but are vital in keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Aside from skills students learn throughout the program, Dr. Dutta encourages them to develop a personal touch when it comes to interacting with patients. “You need first to clear your mind. You have to be willing to help other people. It’s not about the money; it’s about helping people.” Dr. Dutta has always been genuinely concerned for the well-being of his own patients and notes that this makes all the difference. “Always be present and there for patients, if they need any kind of help.” For example, he explains, if a patient becomes anxious or nauseous as a result of having to have blood drawn, it is important that the health care professional not simply focus on drawing the blood, but be supportive to  the person in all respects. “Be there, put on the gloves, offer them the trash can or vomit bag, and help them,” explains Dr. Dutta. Small gestures make big differences.

Dr. Dutta has the same depth of passion for teaching his students as he did for treating his patients. His teaching philosophy is to really get to know his students. “Know what they are struggling with,” he explains. Just as is so often the case in practicing medicine, “If you know the problem, then you can solve it. Some people want to do well, and are really good, but need a particular type of support. Maybe someone needs a bit more time, and that’s fine.” Dr. Dutta’s job is to prepare well-equipped professionals for the medical field, and he takes that responsibility very seriously. “This is going to be your profession,” he tells his students. “Sharpen your skills. You want to enjoy your profession, so do things the right way.”

Outside of his career, Dr. Dutta loves time at home with his family. He has enjoyed much travel with his wife, but that interest took a back seat two years ago when the couple happily welcomed triplets! Family time certainly keeps Dr. Dutta busy, but he still makes time for his other hobbies, including cooking, reading, biking, swimming and camping. But of course, he still always has time for his students. When asked what he is most proud of within his career, Dr. Dutta replied, “What I learned my whole life, what I studied … I am using it and giving it to the students. And they are successful. That makes me happy.”

To achieve similar success, Dr. Dutta urges his students to  “always be focused in your life, and be open all the time to learning new things. There is no end to education. I still learn things every day. Things in the medical field change overnight. You learn things each and every day, your entire life.”

Medical coding is the heart of the healthcare industry. It keeps doctors and nurses on track and organized, and shows in clear terms a patient’s medical history. One slip-up with an improper code could be big trouble for a patient. You wouldn’t want to mistakenly code a lymphoma (cancer) for lipoma (benign fatty tumor) because you didn’t know the difference. This is just one example of why it is essential for a person with a medical coding job to have a sound understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology.

When you study in MTI College’s Medical Billing and Coding certification program, you learn the important skills you need to work as a healthcare professional – including the basics of anatomy and physiology. A requirement for a medical coding job is receiving an ICD-10-CM/PCS certification. Here’s why you need to have a basic medical background.

ICD-10 universally classifies and codes all diagnoses, symptoms and medical procedures. The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), is an organized way of telling the entire story of a patient’s care and encounter with a doctor and/or hospital. According to the World Health Organization, which created the ICD in 1948, it is the gold standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. The universally accepted codes that you, as a medical coder, use make it easy to share and compare patient medical information among various hospitals, regions and providers. They also ensure that the procedure that is billed makes sense with the diagnosis. For example, if you code a bee sting diagnosis as a justification for an x-ray, it’s likely the claim would be rejected. You don’t want a clerical error on your part to result in patient harm. If you indicate that a patient with a known allergy to penicillin received that drug for an infection rather than Bactrim, it could prove disastrous.

Various codes correspond to various bodily systems and procedural locations. You need to understand anatomy, physiology and pharmacology so that you can accurately enter the codes that apply to specific procedures, diagnoses and treatments. These codes are so highly detailed that they even indicate on which side of the body the procedure is being done. In addition, your understanding of basic anatomy and physiology will help you categorize the different bodily systems (e.g., respiratory, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, etc.) involved.

Medical coding is extremely specific. In addition to learning ICD-10 codes, you must know CPT® codes as well. The five-character Current Procedural Terminology codes are the U.S. standard for the way medical professionals document and report medical, surgical, laboratory, radiology, anesthesiology and E/M (evaluation and management) services. Some procedures are straightforward, but others can be confusing. Take a lipoma, for example. A lipoma’s depth into the tissues varies, but its coding depends on exactly where it is located. Coders need to not only know what a lipoma is, but also what the difference is between subcutaneous and intramuscular tissue, as well as the size of the excision to remove it.

Deciphering a doctor’s scribble is important.  When a doctor is writing patient notes, the coder needs to understand it. He or she is likely to be in a hurry and writes down a diagnosis, a treatment plan, a prescribed medicine and maybe a follow-up procedure. For someone doing medical coding, that needs to be transcribed into standard code to record the patient’s medical history and to submit it all to insurance for billing. If you misinterpret the notes or just don’t understand, it could cause confusion and delays in paying insurance claims, or even result in a denial of coverage.

Your medical coding expertise is essential to patient care. We live in a data-driven world, and that’s critically important in health care. Listing symptoms, diagnoses and procedures, and sending reports to an insurance company to request reimbursement, is not enough. Every time a person visits a doctor for an illness, for example, there are symptoms. They are recorded, along with the procedures performed and medicines prescribed. Maybe it’s a fever and sore throat. The doctor might order a strep test. If strep throat is the diagnosis, an antibiotic is generally prescribed. That’s rather straightforward. What if the patient sees the doctor because she is pregnant? She needs regular testing, ultrasounds, blood work, abdominal measurements, special vitamins, etc. Then what happens if there is a complication? More documentation is required. It gets very complicated, and your responsibility increases for accurately recording data that you first need to understand. You don’t want to mistake gestational diabetes for Type 2 diabetes, or preeclampsia for edema.

As a medical coder, you do not make diagnoses or treat patients, but you do need a basic understanding of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology to ensure that health information is documented accurately. Medical coders are in demand, and jobs are expected to rise much faster than average. MTI College offers the training you need to enter this high-growth field..

Partially because of a rapidly aging U.S. population, healthcare jobs are in demand, because as people age, they usually need more medical care. Medical billers are needed to handle insurance and patient claims.  MTI College offers a Medical Billing and Coding Professional Diploma Program that can prepare you to enter this in-demand field. You could be working alongside doctors and nurses in a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, nursing home or other medical facility using your skills to provide much-needed assistance.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for medical records and health information technicians (billers and coders) is growing much faster than the average rate for other occupations. Because more people have access to health insurance these days, claims on behalf of patients are going to increase. If you have a medical billing job, you will be the one to submit the bills for insurance reimbursement.

Does this sound like a job you would enjoy? Find out what a medical biller is responsible for on a day-to-day basis and learn whether it is a good career choice for you.

What is the job of a medical biller?

The medical biller plays a vital role in the relationship among medical providers, patients and insurance companies. Although the medical biller is not responsible for patient care, he or she should have a good understanding of medical terminology to be able to discuss medical bills with both insurance carriers and patients. These are a few duties of a medical biller:

  • Audit and submit claims to insurance companies for patient procedures and treatments.
  • Obtain insurance referrals and pre-authorizations for patient procedures.
  • Verify insurance eligibility and benefits.
  • Understand insurance guidelines, including those for HMO/PPO, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Review patient bills for accuracy and fill in any missing information.
  • Check payments for accuracy.
  • Research and appeal denied claims.
  • Talk with insurance companies about payment discrepancies.
  • Set up payment plans for patients.
  • Collect delinquent accounts.
  • Answer phone inquiries from patients and insurance companies.
  • Use medical billing software to perform job duties.
  • Update software with rate changes.
  • Know Fair Debt Collection Practices.

As a medical biller, you may not perform each of these duties every day, but they are all considered responsibilities of the job.

Is a medical biller the same as a medical coder?

When you train at MTI College, you train for both positions. If you work in a small office, you may also perform the duties of a medical coder, a person who applies industry-standard codes that relate to specific medical diagnoses, treatments and procedures to patient health records. The medical biller then takes the coded information and submits the bill. However, if your job is for a larger organization, you may just do medical billing.

What personal skills are helpful to have if you want to be a medical biller?

A medical biller’s job is very important to the financial cycle of a provider, and you need to always strive for accuracy.

These are some other skills you should possess if you want to be a medical biller:

  • Attention to detail. You’ll always need to check bills for accuracy and identify discrepancies.
  • Excellent communication ability. Much of your job will involve phone conversations with patients and insurance companies.
  • Good customer service. Remember that the bottom line is a person’s healthcare management, and it can be an emotional topic for some people. You need to speak diplomatically, compassionately and accurately to answer questions.
  • Computer knowledge. Since you will be using medical billing software, you should know how to use a computer and the Internet.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping. An understanding of the basics can be very helpful since you will be sending out billing statements and will need to reconcile them as payments come in.
  • Medical terminology. Your MTI training will cover this, but you need to keep up to date to be able to converse with patients, providers and insurance companies.
  • Problem solving. Sometimes there will be discrepancies or inconsistencies, and knowing how to go about solving the problem is necessary.
  • Being comfortable with teamwork. Since you will interact with other medical staff members, you should enjoy working as part of a team.

MTI College’s Medical Billing and Coding Training Program gives you the background you need to enter the exciting, busy world of healthcare. Contact MTI College Sacramento today to jump-start your medical billing career.

This month’s faculty spotlight is on Dr. Laura Balangue, Medical Clinical Curriculum Specialist and Medical Clinical Instructor for MTI College in Sacramento. Dr. Balangue will celebrate her 11th anniversary with MTI this August. Previously she was a director of online education, was in charge of numerous certificate programs and was a director at her church teaching adult learners. Her own educational background consists of 10 years of schooling, eventually graduating as a Doctor of Medicine from Far Eastern University in the Philippines in 1987. She is also certified to teach. This diligent work ethic does not go unnoticed; she won the Best Employee award at an urgent clinic and has received three Excellence Awards from MTI.

Being part of the medical field was something Dr. Balangue knew she wanted to do from an early age, as most of her family members are in the medical field as well. Many of her sisters are nurses and doctors. One of her nieces is a surgeon, and another of her sisters is an optometrist. Much of her family came to the United States, and most also reside in California, although she has a sister in Hawaii. Growing up, Dr. Balangue and her siblings always saw medical textbooks around their house, so her interest started at a young age. Before she began teaching, she practiced as an OB-GYN. When asked what her proudest moment in her career was, she had an incredible story to share. “I was very proud when I operated a lot,” she began to explain. “I was on duty doing my shift. She was not my patient. I thought I was going to lose her; I did my best. She was bleeding a lot, it was a complicated pregnancy.” The patient survived this scary situation thanks to Dr. Balangue’s quick action and thorough skillset. What is even more heartwarming is that Dr. Balangue and this patient became good friends and are still friends to this day. This is a true example of being able to significantly touch peoples’ lives in a positive way by practicing in the medical field.

Dr. Balangue did not stop there. She continued to explain that the next thing she is most proud of in her career is the feedback she gets from students. She is proud of being able to “apply what I’ve learned in my own practice while having fun at the same time.” Teaching is her true passion, explaining that even when she was a child she loved to teach and pretended to be the teacher when playing with friends and siblings. When she was offered the position at MTI, she “did not even give it a second thought.” She also had a standout professor when she was in medical school. She said, “He was my idol. I was so impressed by him.” Making that strong, positive impression is exactly what she is trying to do for her students as well.

In the beginning of her time working for MTI’s healthcare programs, Dr. Balangue taught anatomy and physiology and then clinical assisting. Currently she teaches Laboratory Assisting I and Laboratory Assisting II. In these classes, Dr. Balangue explains that students will be covering many topics, such as symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Specifically in Laboratory Assisting I, there is an emphasis on learning about the electrocardiogram (EKG), teaching students the proper placement. Students also get the privilege and responsibility of being shown all of the modern medical equipment. In Laboratory Assisting II, one item students work on are injections. Students are taught different routes of giving injections and different methods of drawing blood. Regardless of which class she is teaching, Dr. Balangue says she is always emphasizing the students’ need to comply with both the university regulations as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Safety in practice is of the utmost importance.

Thankfully Dr. Balangue and MTI prepare students for this and so much more. She went on to explain that the “main thing here is we have a mission, and our mission is to prepare all of the students with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary for pursuing successful careers. We want them to be successful.” Adding on to MTI’s overall mission for their students, Dr. Balangue also emphasizes professionalism. She believes in aiming for excellence, effective communication, diversity, teamwork and integrity. Because MTI and Dr. Balangue care so much about preparing students and making sure they are successful, it was with pride she was able to say, “I am proud that the majority of our students get employed. The retention of students is high. I love the staff. They are very, very professional.” All of these are reasons she has been with MTI for so long.

Dr. Laura Balangue

Dr. Balangue’s other passions and hobbies are singing, dancing and reading. She absolutely loves to read and enjoys all sorts of books. Yet she still brought it back to teaching, saying that was her truest passion. Since teaching is such a passion of hers, words of wisdom she likes to share with her students is to not give up. “Keep on going. Work hard or study hard and focus on what you’re doing. If you study hard, you can do it.” She also pointed out that technology is so helpful now compared to when she was in school and that students should take full advantage of what is available to them.

One of the things students initially struggle with when starting a program is time. Dr. Balangue explained that it is a fast-paced program and a majority of students are working; some have families as well. Initially students do not know what to prioritize, but it is all about time management. That being said, whether you are a prospective student wanting to apply, in the middle of the program, or about to graduate, Dr. Balangue leaves us with these powerful words: “When starting out in the field, I always give myself as an example. You have to sacrifice. And don’t stop dreaming.”

Most people who want to work in the healthcare field likely aspire to be doctors or nurses. However, medical assistant is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. The medical assistant career path offers many of the same benefits as other healthcare professions, in addition to perks of its own.

The American Association of Medical Assistants describes a medical assistant as someone who works alongside doctors, usually in a clinical or office setting. Though the description may seem similar to that of a nurse, there are some key differences.

Medical assistants commonly handle tasks such as checking vital signs, showing patients to their rooms and various administrative duties. A licensed practical nurse, on the other hand, provides basic care measures like catheterization and prescription administration. While medical assistants often work in clinics and ambulatory care, licensed practical nurses more commonly work in settings like nursing homes and hospitals.

For those looking to enter the healthcare field, medical assistant might be a great fit. To showcase some of the occupational perks alluded to earlier, a list of five reasons medical assistants love their jobs is featured below.

1. Bountiful Job Outlook

Medical assistant employment in California is projected to increase by 28 percent by 2024, relative to 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes the projection to the increased demand for medical support staff in physicians’ offices and clinics to accommodate the number of aging baby boomers.

Medical assistants are essential cogs that allow offices and clinics to operate smoothly. They facilitate the flow of patients throughout the facility and handle a variety of other clinical and administrative tasks. Doctors in all specializations need medical assistants to help run their offices.

2. Starting Work Sooner

Medical assistants can begin working in the healthcare field sooner than students who attend nursing programs at four-year universities. Many schools offer programs that can be completed in as little as 12 months.

There is no additional waiting to complete residency because externships can be completed at the same time as the coursework. National certification may be required depending on the employer. Though most states do not require certifications, MTI College prepares medical assistant students for the CCMA certification exam.  The certification can help bolster a medical assistant’s job prospects.

3. Limitless Career Paths

Medical assistants graduate with the knowledge and experience needed to excel in the healthcare industry. They are trained in both clinical and administrative tasks that are critical to running an office or clinic.

With a vast array of skills at their disposal, medical assistants can explore different areas of medicine and discover what they are passionate about. Medical assistants have the opportunity to specialize in a certain type of medicine, teach students who also want to be medical assistants or even become the office manager.

4. Diverse On-the-Job Experiences

Medical assistants are capable of performing many different tasks needed to keep the clinic or office open in addition to treating patients. Their versatility also ensures they will not be bored on the job because there is always something they can do.

Additionally, the patients who come in to be treated and what they are seeking to be treated for varies daily. Every day on the job is different than the one before.

5. Helping People

Medical assistants help physicians run their offices, but they also provide patients with compassion and understanding while doing so. Like their fellow healthcare professionals, medical assistants take satisfaction in knowing they are helping patients and changing their lives for the better.

A quality education is a crucial start to a medical assistant’s career. Students can complete MTI College’s Medical Assistant program in in as little as 12 months.

MTI College’s Medical Assistant program prepares students for the California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam, which can also be taken on campus. We offer the essential resources medical assisting students need to excel in the classroom, in their externships and in the workforce to help care for patients.

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