What to Know if You Want to Become a Medical Assistant in 2020 (Part II)

If you are a compassionate person looking for a career where you have the opportunity to help others, becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice in 2020.

In case you missed Part I of the Medical Assistant series, let’s recap the definition of a medical assistant, as well as the education requirements, before we discuss the job outlook for this field in 2020.

man and woman in scrubs looking at tablet while standing in hallway

Let’s Recap: What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant helps with administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare settings. They may assist in a medical office, hospital, or other healthcare business. The job duties of a medical assistant may include taking patients’ histories and vitals, assisting with examinations, and handling medical records. In some cases, medical assistants will administer medication, remove sutures, and change dressings. The responsibilities vary per facility and per state law.  

Let’s Recap: What are the Education Requirements?

Depending on your location, you can become a medical assistant through on-the-job training or by getting certified. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) administers a certification exam, and certified medical assistants must be recertified every 60 months. This can be done by continuing education or by exam. In 2018, sixty percent of candidates passed the AAMA exam.

Now let’s look at the employment projections for 2020, as well as some of the challenges you might face if you choose to become a medical assistant in 2020.

Employment Projections in 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical assistants is excellent. In the next decade, the number of positions is predicted to increase by 23 percent. This is because of the growing elderly population and increased demand for preventive medical care. The average wage of medical assistants was $33,610 in 2018.

Challenges for Medical Assisting in 2020

The biggest challenge in the field of medical assisting is the difficult patient. This can cause the very passionate and caring medical assistant to suffer burnout and leave the profession. Burnout is common in many medical professions, including among physicians and nurses, and there’s no denying that this is a difficult part of any medical profession.

On the flip side, you get to help people when they are at their most vulnerable. The rewards of working in the medical profession are often as wonderful as the challenges are difficult. A good candidate for the career of medical assistant can handle the occasional grumpy patient in return for all the positive impact he or she has on other patients and members of the medical community.

Becoming a medical assistant requires a minimal education investment in return for a secure career that is increasing in demand. Many positions for medical assistants include full benefits such as healthcare, matching retirement plans, and paid vacation. It is a good way to enter the medical field with a stable position and room for advancement.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design blog.

If you are interested in working from home in the field of healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

hospital cybersecurity

3 Things Every Medical Professional Should Know About Cybersecurity

hospital cybersecurity

The healthcare industry faces unique and growing threats to cybersecurity, due to the amount of personal data stored on servers, and the relatively low level of cybersecurity in place for smaller healthcare facilities. The typical medical facility stores electronic health records (EHRs), employment data for thousands of individuals, and personal identity details for many healthcare employees and providers. Although larger healthcare facilities have taken additional steps to implement a multilayered security process to protect healthcare data at all levels of the organization, the abundance of information that needs to be protected, combined with less awareness of security risk in individual practices and smaller medical facilities, makes some healthcare facilities a prime target for cybercrime. If you work for a doctor’s office or a small to mid-size medical facility, or if you are thinking about pursing a career in healthcare, review the following three risks to understand how you can help your facility take steps to reduce security risk before it is too late.

The three risks that you should be aware of include:

  1. The risk of attack by ransomware.
  2. The risk of attack to medical devices.
  3. The risk of password violations and phishing attempts.

The Risk of Attack By Ransomware

Since any business can be crippled by a ransomware attack, a cyberattack that locks a medical facility out of its own records is putting patients’ lives at risk. One Ohio hospital found this out the hard way; Ohio Valley Medical Center had to turn emergency room patients away after a ransomware attack locked them out of their own systems. Because ransomware is a malicious software program that blocks users from accessing the data stored on their own computer until a “ransom,” or money is paid to unlock their computer and regain access to their own data, in the case of the Ohio Valley Medical Center security breach, ambulances were diverted and computer systems were taken offline to address the attack. This meant that if you were a patient, you would not have been able to get the care that you needed while the facility struggled to resolve the ransomware issue. Sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence, and criminals have figured out that disrupting care is the fastest way to a quick payday when it comes to ransomware. 

The Risk of Attack to Medical Devices

Many of the devices used in a standard hospital setting are equipped with IoT based technology. This type of technology allows healthcare providers to collect data easily and to monitor patients long distance. Since these devices are directly accessing the healthcare facility’s network, they increase the risk of a cyberattack. While the use of IV stands, insulin pumps and other devices save lives, medical professionals should be aware that they are putting themselves and their patients at greater risk when using these devices. Placing these devices on a dedicated, separate network can drastically reduce the risk of a security breach. Keeping an accurate inventory of medical devices and where they are located in your facility can also help reduce the risk of attacks to your medical devices.

The Risk of Password Violations and Phishing Attempts

Providers and staff members can inadvertently increase a facility’s risk of cyberattack. From poor password choices, including options like “PASSWORD” and “QWERTY”, to a lack of awareness about phishing, employees may accidentally increase the risk of cyberattack. Scheduling online training sessions that incorporate best practices for password use, and how to recognize phishing and ransomware attempts, can drastically reduce the likelihood of responding to these cyberattacks. The IT department can also take additional steps to help protect your facility and ensure that no one without the right to access sensitive patient or employee data can get into your computer network. 

Being aware of these three risks allows you to take steps to protect your facility, contact your manager and/or help desk if something looks suspicious in terms of information access, and safeguard the data of patients as well as managers and other employees in your healthcare facility.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy