When you go to the doctor’s office, the first person you meet is probably a Medical Assistant. That’s the man or woman who makes you feel welcome and cared for. The Medical Assistant also performs the check-in process known as patient intake. They ask you to verify your identity, update contact info, confirm your health insurance coverage, and list any changes in your medical history so they can maintain accurate electronic health records (EHR). Patient intake is important because it ensures that your healthcare provider has what they need to provide you with the best care, while running their facility as efficiently as possible. And the Medical Assistant is on the frontline of patient intake. Here’s what you might do as a Medical Assistant during patient intake:
Even before your patient arrives, you can begin patient intake. As a Medical Assistant, you might call or email a patient to schedule an appointment, finding a date and time that works for the patient and the doctor. You remind the patient what they need to bring to the appointment and let them know if there are any restrictions they should follow before lab tests or procedures. Since paperwork for new patients can be extensive, you might direct them to an online portal where they can begin the intake process before their appointment.
Gather Patient Intake and Consent Forms
When your patient arrives, your first job as a Medical Assistant to make them feel welcome. A smile and a friendly manner can go a long way to put nervous patients at ease. Then, it’s onto the paperwork. Existing patients can just confirm that the records you already have on file are still current and accurate. But new patients need to start from the beginning. You need to get contact, consent, and health insurance forms. You need them to provide a comprehensive medical history and a list of allergies.
Confirm Insurance Coverage
Verifying insurance coverage ensures that patients are covered for the procedures they undergo and that your facility and its doctors and providers get paid for their services. It confirms in-network treatment or lets the patient know the likely issues with out-of-network services. Insurance verification is essential because it can minimize the chance of a claim being denied. If this occurs, you will need to notify the patient so they can resubmit if there is an error. Or you will bill the patient directly.
Enter Information into Electronic Health Records
Even paper records are digitalized now. During intake, you enter information that the patient provides verbally into the EHR. And what they provide in writing will need to be transferred into the EHR. The EHR is a digital medical record that contains medical history, insurance information, diagnoses, tests and blood work, and additional notes and information.
Communicate with the Patient
A key part of patient intake is communication. If your patients have questions, you answer them or find the person who can. You also explain what they can expect from the doctor and their visit.
Patient intake is just one important job you have as a Medical Assistant. In this role, you can also assist the doctor with clinical duties, such as preparing exam rooms, sterilizing equipment, and passing tools during minor surgeries. Are you ready to begin a rewarding career in this field? Contact Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in Medical Assistant that can prepare you for entry-level work at a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.