What is a Medical Office Assistant, roles & responsibilities

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Medical office assistants are an integral part of the healthcare industry, providing valuable support to physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. 

If you’ve ever visited a doctor’s office or a medical clinic, chances are you’ve interacted with a medical assistant. But do you even know exactly what medical office assistant roles and responsibilities, and how do they contribute to the delivery of quality healthcare?

Therefore, whether you are a healthcare professional looking to expand your knowledge of the industry, or an aspiring medical office assistant looking to learn more about the profession, this article will provide valuable insights into the world of medical office assistants and the essential role they play in the healthcare industry. So, let’s get started!

What is a medical office assistant?

In the healthcare industry, medical office assistants are vital members of the team who perform essential administrative and clinical tasks to ensure the efficient and effective operation of medical offices and clinics. They work under the supervision of healthcare providers such as physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a medical office assistant is, their responsibilities, and the essential skills required to excel in this profession. So, stay in the loop!

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Roles and responsibilities of a medical office assistant?

Here are some common roles and responsibilities of a medical office assistant:

  • Welcoming and directing patients to their appointments.
  • Manage the healthcare provider’s calendar, schedule appointments, and send reminders.
  • Handle phone calls, triage urgent messages, and provide information to callers.
  • Update and organize electronic or paper-based patient records with accurate information.
  • Process billing, insurance claims, and follow-up on unpaid balances.
  • Measure and record patients’ vital signs, including temperature, blood pressure, and weight.
  • Col prepare and send laboratory specimens for testing.
  • May assist healthcare providers with medical procedures or exams.
  • They keep track of medical supplies and equipment inventory and ensure everything is functioning correctly.
  • Keep the medical office clean, organized, and welcoming for patients
  • Processing insurance claims in accordance with the law
  • Work together with medical professionals to assist with medical evaluations.
  • Verify that the procedures are followed.
  • Stay abreast of changes to the law governing health and insurance

What is the difference between a medical office assistant and a nurse?

While medical office assistants and nurses both work in healthcare, there are significant differences in their roles and responsibilities.


1. Work in in medical offices and clinics Work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes
2. Not authorized to perform advanced clinical tasks Authorized to perform advanced clinical tasks
3. Focuses on supporting healthcare professionals in delivering high-quality patient care Works independently and collaborates with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care
4. Typically requires a certificate or diploma in medical assisting Requires a nursing degree and licensure
5. Performs a narrower range of tasks compared to nurses Performs a broader range of tasks with a greater level of responsibility

Medical office assistant benefits & packages

Medical office assistants can receive a variety of benefits and packages depending on their employer and job responsibilities. Here are some common benefits and packages that medical office assistants may receive:

  • Health insurance: Medical office assistants may be eligible for health insurance coverage, which can include medical, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Retirement benefits: Some employers offer retirement benefits such as 401(k) plans or pension plans to medical office assistants.
  • Paid time off: Medical office assistants may receive paid time off for holidays, vacation days, sick days, and personal days.
  • Flexible schedules: Depending on the medical office’s needs, medical office assistants may have the option of working flexible schedules.
  • Tuition reimbursement: Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement programs for medical office assistants who want to pursue further education and training.
  • Bonuses: Medical office assistants may be eligible for bonuses based on their job performance or the medical office’s financial performance.
  • Continuing education opportunities: Medical office assistants may have access to continuing education opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, or online courses, to stay up-to-date with new technologies and medical procedures.
  • Employee assistance programs: Some employers offer employee assistance programs, which can provide resources and support for medical office assistants who may be experiencing personal or work-related issues.

However, the benefits and packages available to medical office assistants can vary by employer, and it’s essential to review and compare the available options before accepting a job offer.

Salary of medical office assistant:

According to the data from ca.talent.com, the average medical office assistant salary in Canada is $38,043 per year or $19.51 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $32,175 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $47,109 per year.

Salaries per region:

  • Alberta- $39,000
  • British Columbia- $42,062
  • Saskatchewan- $38,942
  • Nova Scotia- $37,000
  • Ontario- $35,100
  • Manitoba- $31,200

(Source: ca.talent.com )

Skills and qualities required to fulfill responsibilities of a medical office assistant

Medical office assistants (MOAs) play a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of medical facilities. They are responsible for various administrative and clinical tasks and to excel in this role, MOAs need to possess a combination of technical and interpersonal skills, including:

  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Computer proficiency
  • Attention to detail
  • Empathy
  • Flexibility
  • Professionalism 

By possessing these skills and qualities, MOAs can provide the necessary support to healthcare professionals and ensure that patients receive high-quality care.


In conclusion, medical office assistants play a crucial role in the healthcare industry by providing essential support to medical professionals and ensuring that patients receive the best possible care. Their responsibilities are diverse and include administrative tasks, clinical duties, and patient care. 

By understanding the roles and responsibilities of medical assistants, we can appreciate the importance of their work and the impact they have on the delivery of quality healthcare. So, if you’re interested in pursuing a career as a medical assistant, be sure to do your research and find a reputable training program that can equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this rewarding field.

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