medical assistant schools

Medical Assistant Tools & Equipment

As vital members of the healthcare community, medical assistants are skilled and knowledgeable on medical procedures that require the use of tools both simple and complicated. 

tools of a medical assistantFrom taking a patient’s temperature with a thermometer to performing an EKG  you may use different medical assistant equipment on a daily basis that varies in its difficulty to master.

Medical assistant tools commonly used at a primary care physician’s office:

  • Examination tables
  • Exam lights
  • EKG (electrocardiogram) machines: A machine with electrodes that are applied to parts of the patient’s body; the machine reports on the electrical activity of the heart
  • Scales: Used to measure (usually manually) a patient’s weight and height
  • Hemoglobin machines: A machine used to test a small sampling of blood for the amount of hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells) in a patient’s blood
  • Locked cabinetry: Medical supplies, equipment, and medications are often locked to avoid theft
  • Autoclave: A small pressure chamber used to sterilize medical office equipment and tools after use
  • Computer: Used to enter and maintain electronic Health Records (EHRs)
  • Stethoscope
  • Blood pressure meter (sphygmomanometers): A cuff and air pressure pump that increases a patient’s blood pressure in order to measure

Medical assistant tools and supplies commonly used in medical offices:

  • Syringes
  • Vaccines
  • Biohazard Sharps Containers (for bio-hazardous waste removal)
  • Exam gowns
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Suturing materials
  • Masks and gloves
  • Sterilizing solution
  • Glucometers
  • Thermometers
  • Otoscopes
  • Tongue depressors
  • Penlights
  • Ear scopes
  • Surgical instruments (scalpels, forceps, hemostats and needle holder)

 

Medical assistant tools vary depending on the employer’s type of office or clinic and the medical office equipment used at that facility. Here is a rundown of what a medical assistant might do when a patient comes in to a physician’s office:

Greet patient: Say hello to the patient and ask who s/he is, who s/he is there to see, and what time the scheduled appointment is for. You may need to pull a patient’s EHR before the patient’s scheduled appointment.

Measure vital signs: You may need to measure vital signs before the doctor examines the patient. You may use a blood pressure meter (sphygmomanometers) and/or a stethoscope to take a blood pressure reading, use a hemoglobin machine to test the patient’s blood, and a scale to record a patient’s height and weight. If blood is taken, you’ll have to use sterilized materials to both take the blood and to bandage the patient.

Take patient history and personal information: Before the physician sees the patient, you may ask the patient why s/he is there, what symptoms s/he is experiencing, what medications s/he is presently taking—writing all the answers down in the patient’s file. You may then either inform the doctor of the patient’s vital signs and history or give the patient’s file to the doctor.

Input patient information into system: When the doctor is finished seeing the patient, you may need to call prescriptions in to a pharmacy and add the patient diagnosis and information into the patient’s EHR.  

Prepare examination room for next patient: Before the next patient is seen by the doctor, you may be tasked with preparing the exam room by sterilizing tools in an autoclave, disposing of any bio-hazardous waste (cotton swabs or syringes) in the proper way, and putting out any necessary medical office equipment or supplies needed that are specific to the next appointment.

Because every office is different and each medical facility runs differently, medical assistants may receive training that is specific to their place of employment once they are hired. Many medical assisting programs provide you with the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge needed to pursue an entry-level position in medical assisting. Visit our careers page for information about different types of medical assisting careers.


 
Ultimate Medical Academy
A.S. Health Sciences - Medical Administrative Assistant
As a UMA student in this online program, you’ll learn how to keep the healthcare system moving forward. That includes learning how to greet patients and get them checked in, schedule appointments, assist with patient insurance claims, perform medical coding and more.
PENN FOSTER
Medical Assistant Career Diploma
Offered through Penn Foster College, the self-paced Medical Assistant diploma program can help you prepare to take the next steps toward becoming a skilled medical assistant. Geared toward students who don’t want or need to earn an associate’s degree, the course will cover 41 lessons, as well as a 160-hour externship for hands-on experience.
Purdue University Global
Medical Office Administration Certificate
Purdue Global’s online medical office administration program is designed to equip you with the knowledge and technical skills necessary to pursue entry-level positions in this exciting field. Coursework focuses on areas including insurance processing and fundamental medical office administrative and clerical tasks.
Grantham University
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Admin Assistant
The Medical Administrative Assistant (AAS-MAA) associate program provides a solid foundation in basic medical office functions, teaching you the skills needed for providing administrative support to healthcare professionals. This program can also serve as a step toward a more advanced degree in healthcare. Upon completion of the program, students may sit for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam, an entry-level medical assistance industry certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Independence University
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
The Medical Assisting AOS degree program is designed to provide the students the knowledge and clinical skills for gaining entry-level employment in a medical facility in both administrative and clinical areas. Specific training is provided in preparing instruments and materials, vital signs, phlebotomy, medication preparation and administration, clinical documentation and assisting the physician with exams and procedures. Training in computer and administrative skills is also provided as they pertain to electronic health records and medical office procedures. The student will be able to function independently with administrative duties as well as clinical duties and computer functions of the office.