The Role Of The Medical Assistant & How To Boost Productivity

Much like the rest of the healthcare industry, medical assistants hustle between administrative functions and clinical tasks. Their roles should not be underestimated. In fact, for most physicians’ offices, medical assistants are the face of their practice and help streamline the flow of information between clinicians and patients.

With a wide range of highly multifaceted tasks, medical assistants have always been required to wear various hats and keep pace in a fast-paced work environment. They’re the voice on the phone, the receptionist welcoming patients, the office clerk faxing paperwork and requesting records, the phlebotomist drawing blood in the lab, and the person caring for patients at the beginning of their visit.

Medical assistants not only provide direct patient contact and promote better communication, but they also help reduce overhead costs and promote better patient satisfaction by working towards improved health results.What changes are expected to happen to this critical role within the healthcare space in light of technological advances in the industry as a whole? Let’s find out.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants are omnipresent in the clinical setting, working in private practices, specialty clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals. From taking vital signs to verifying lists of medications that patients are currently taking, typing off medical histories, and sending prescriptions under the supervision of a qualified physician, medical assistants keep busy at work.

But besides countless clinical functions, medical assistants are further assigned an array of administrative tasks — some of which are consistently expanding in light of staffing shortages. 

From sending patient referrals, requesting medical records, facilitating communication between patients and providers, scheduling appointments, to submitting prior authorizations for prescriptions, medical assistants need to be vastly flexible in their line of work.

Medical assistants are a crucial part of any functional medical facility, ensuring operational success, positive patient outcomes, and saving costs.

The Challenges Medical Assistants Face Today

The landscape is changing and so is the role of the medical assistant. As physicians are facing increasing pressure, the work of the medical assistant has become integral in facilitating critical clinical support. Below are some of the challenges affecting medical assistants at work today.

Increasing Demands

Required to multitask, engage with countless patients at the same time, answer the phones, and address the needs of the patients in front of them, medical assistants are emerging as key players in your clinical care team with vastly expanding responsibilities.

Both patient and provider expectations are consistently growing, especially since clinicians aim to work at the top of their license. This leaves room for many assignments that support the daily operations of providers. In light of the fast pace and quick turn-around needed, time is of the essence. 

Patient satisfaction is seamlessly weaved into the performance of the provider, the level of service received by the patient, and the time required for them to wait to obtain said service.


Digital and smart technology have taken an unprecedented role in the healthcare space. It’s, therefore, critical for medical assistants to learn and familiarize themselves with various interfaces, tools, programs, and applications.

But a one-time training doesn’t suffice, as the industry keeps evolving, and with it so does the technology supporting it. This indicates that any and all healthcare professionals require a large amount of flexibility to be able to adapt to constantly changing demands.

While it may take some time to learn your way around a new software or tool, at the end of the day, technology is designed to promote growth and productivity, yielding great rewards — specifically in an industry that is so fast-paced.

Manual Processes

Time-consuming manual processes are some of the top challenges most healthcare professionals face — and medical assistants are no exception. In fact, due to the nature of their position as assistants, many of these tedious manual tasks, even some of which should technically be handled by providers, are performed by medical assistants. 

This arrangement enables physicians to focus their time and efforts on their patients and prioritize patient care and the quality thereof. But for medical assistants, it means that a chunk of their time every day goes toward repetitive processes and the handling of monotonous tasks and paperwork.

Physical Demands

Medical assistants go beyond completing administrative tasks by fulfilling growing physical demands as their role expands into the clinical realm. Their increasingly patient-facing interactions require them on their feet for the majority of their day, kneeling, standing, supporting patients, and moving quickly between rooms and tasks.

How Will the Role of the Medical Assistant Change in the Future?

The demand for healthcare will simply never cease and patients will always seek out health services for screenings, evaluations, and treatment. Therefore, the healthcare space offers remarkable job security for professionals — including medical assistants.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics established the industry’s significance by highlighting that healthcare occupations continue to grow at a much faster rate than other jobs, expecting roughly 1.8 million openings every single year until 2032.¹

While the healthcare industry overall will continue on its current trajectory of rapid growth, what is the outlook for medical assistants in particular? And how can we expect this role to change with the implementation of more technological tools?

Outlook for Medical Assistants

The future outlook for medical assistants remains stable and employment is expected to continue to grow by 14% until 2032.² Some of this growth is a direct result of the retiring labor force but also includes necessary replacements due to career changes. In addition, most medical assistants will proceed with working full-time in a wide range of in-patient and out-patient facilities.²

With the U.S. population steadily aging due to the growing age of Baby Boomers — who make up an impressive 76.4 million of the overall population³ — and the increasing need for medical care and disease diagnostics, positions for medical assistants will remain integral in filling the gaps within the clinical care team.

Transitioning to Technology for Administrative Tasks

Technology is used daily by medical assistants and will only become more significant as our technical know-how continues to advance. Modern medical technology is hence a key factor that shapes the future of this profession.

Office tools and software applications are anticipated to become more fluid and connect some of the previously separate interfaces under one main umbrella. Novel tools are expected to move mainstream to provide more problem-solving opportunities and new features for enhanced efficiency.

But clinical technologies are equally important, including progressing technologies for lab equipment, EKG machines, and the collection of vital signs. Adaptability to the growing use of AI and clinical devices, and the resulting changes in clinical practice is therefore critical for medical assistants.

Save Your Medical Assistants Time & Your Office Money

As skilled as your medical assistants might be at multitasking, repetitive manual tasks eat up valuable time and lower productivity. Investing in technology promotes growth and helps you in achieving your revenue goals.

But it also shows that you hear your staff, who have been stretched thin working through staffing shortages while continuing to transition to more clinical roles with increasing demands and responsibilities.

One of these highly repetitive tasks includes requesting medical records from other offices, faxing paperwork back and forth, and tediously following up on every patient. Vivlio Health, therefore, designed a tool to save you and your staff tremendous work by solving this commonly occurring problem.

No matter what EMR you use, Vivlio Health® ensures integration will all common health systems so you can access your medical records in mere minutes and save countless hours of work.

Book a free demo with us and we’ll help you get on track!




  1. “Healthcare Occupations.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 9 February 2024.
  2. “Medical Assistants: Occupational Outlook Handbook:  U.S.” Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 9 February 2024.
  3. “Just How Many Baby Boomers Are There?” Population Reference Bureau, Accessed 9 February 2024.