Medical Assisting Technology and Equipment
Entering a medical career should be exciting and gratifying, but can also be nerve-wracking, even overwhelming. The good news is there are doctors, nurses, administrators, and a slew of other medical professionals to help you adjust to your new career. The less than good news is that, at least in the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed by the equipment, technology, and practices of working in a medical facility.
Luckily for you, EBI comprehensively prepares our students to take on new and complex challenges with confidence. To give students a sampling of what kinds of technology and equipment they might work with in the medical field, the following is a general breakdown of some of the most-used and newest medical equipment for medical assistants, nursing assistants, and medical billing and coding specialists.
Universal Equipment and Duties
Actual duties medical assistants are responsible for, along with equipment used, largely varies depending on what type of medical facility in which they work. There are, however, pieces of equipment and tasks all medical assistants engage in. Phlebotomy (blood testing) and tracking patient vital signs are trademarks of medical assisting duties. Medical assistants frequently use hemoglobin machines, computerized blood chemistry analyzers, and other testing equipment such as EKG machines. All tests performed by medical assistants are under the direction and supervision of doctors or registered nurses. If a medical assistant pursues a medical specialty through further education, such as cardiovascular medicine, he or she will also use more specific equipment like echo-cardiograms and multi-channel electrocardiography and cardiac pacing technology.
Medical assistants today have to adapt to evolving technology. The prime example of this is electronic health records (EHRs). All patient medical records were switched to digital files around 2010, which meant medical assistants and medical billers and coders played a large role in coordinating the transfer. The increased workload resulted in a surge in demand for qualified medical assistants and other medical professionals. At EBI medical assistants and medical billing and coding specialists are trained to handle EHRs from patient entry to database management.
New technology is constantly changing healthcare. The most recent trend involves something everyone today has on their person – mobile devices. Healthcare as a whole is focusing more and more on patient experience, largely due to the availability of more healthcare options. Healthcare providers are now placing emphasis on a more convenient, quick and accurate medical process. Enter mobile devices. Mobile and wearable technology, such as FitBit and similar devices, are playing a real role in patient diagnosis and treatment. The best medical assistants will embrace this new trend and train on how devices and wearables will continue to impact healthcare in the future.
Telehealth is also becoming commonplace among healthcare providers. Telehealth is essentially mobile communication with doctors and hospitals. Patients can log into a “patient portal” online to video chat with physicians, nurses and medical assistants instead of physically going into an office or hospital. Combined with wearable and device technology, the telehealth trend allows doctors to track patients’ medical status, provide diagnoses, prescribe treatments, and answer any questions. Telehealth saves time and resources for healthcare providers and insurance providers alike. This is yet another prime example of the future of healthcare focused on patient experience.
Into The Future
Diagnosis software, big data and supercomputers – these are the hallmarks of the future of healthcare. All medical professionals and medical assistants especially, will have to seriously upgrade their technical prowess to adapt to the tech-savvy healthcare of tomorrow. A great example of how technology is already evolving healthcare (aside from device technology and telehealth) is IBM’s “Watson.” The supercomputing software made famous by the show Jeopardy is gaining popularity in advanced patient diagnoses and other things like weighing carious treatment options for patients with abnormal conditions. Next-generation medical software is currently being developed in places like MIT with the goal of nation-wide implementation throughout the next five years. If you’re training to be a medical assistant it would be wise to begin basic tech training now. Fortunately, EBI gives our medical program students the tools and resources to stay at in front of ever-evolving healthcare technology.