Top 10 Medical Office Assistant Duties and Skills

Medical office assistants (MOAs) are amazing jugglers. This role involves a lot of multi-tasking, and requires a special balance of interpersonal, customer service, and administrative skills.

When they're not scheduling appointments and taking calls, they're assisting with medical procedures and processing billing.

Medical office assistants do much more than most people realize.

MOAs perform a variety of duties and need a range of skills. These include clinical skills, computer software, communication, organization, record-keeping, and time management.

In this post, we'll walk you through the 10 most important skills for medical office assistants in Manitoba (it's important to note that skills and training vary by province).

This is the foundation of our Medical Office Assistant program, and covers all the duties you'll be responsible for at work.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #1: Accuro EMR Software

Most medical office assistant jobs require knowledge of Accuro EMR.  Accuro is an electronic medical records (EMR) software that many Manitoba clinics use for:

☑️ Appointment scheduling

☑️ Billing

☑️ Patient charts and records

☑️ Forms

☑️ Lab reports

It's an all-in-one software that helps clinics streamline daily operations, organize medical information, and better serve patients.

A good MOA training program provides plenty of hands-on training in Accuro, so students are fully confident in the software by the time they graduate.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #2: Microsoft Office

In addition to software like Accuro, MOAs need to be comfortable with Microsoft Office applications.

This is a standard requirement for anyone who works in an office. You must be able to write and format documents, prepare charts, reports and spreadsheets, etc.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #3: Reception

Medical office assistants are the face of the clinic. They are responsible for greeting patients, answering the phone, directing patients to the right department, booking appointments, and collecting patient information.

The reception desk can get really busy! It takes excellent communication skills, organization, and empathy to do this job well.

Patients are often anxious when they arrive for an appointment. No matter how busy they are, MOAs must take the time to be patient and kind.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #4: Clinical Skills

Manitoba MOAs are known for their clinical skills. In other provinces, Medical Office Assistant training does NOT always include clinical training. 

What do we mean by clinical skills? Examples include:

☑️ Setting up for and assisting with minor medical procedures

☑️ Preparing patients for medical procedures

☑️ Taking vital signs (height, weight, blood pressure)

☑️ Performing spirometry (lung function) tests

☑️ Performing EKGs

☑️ Lab testing 


MOA instructor, Kelley Khemiri, says clinical skills are very valuable to employers:

"The benefit of doing your MOA training in Manitoba is our clinical skills component.

In Manitoba, we teach our MOAs how to complete vitals, from height and weight to blood pressure and lab testing techniques.

Our Medical Office Assistants are highly sought after for these clinical skills, which is why we have fought to keep (and expand) this essential skill base in our training program."


Medical Office Assistant Skill #5: Transcription

Medical office assistants are often required to transcribe voice recordings from doctors and other health care professions. They must listen to these recordings and turn them into written documents.

Examples include voice recorded notes from:

☑️ Emergency room visits

☑️ Diagnostic imaging studies

☑️ Operations

☑️ Chart reviews

MOAs use special transcription tools and techniques to ensure their written reports are accurate. This takes knowledge of medical terminology, abbreviations, and transcription equipment. 


Medical Office Assistant Skill #6: Emergency Procedures

Many employers prefer to hire MOAs who are certified in emergency procedures, like First Aid and CPR.

Certification fully prepares MOAs to provide assistance in case of cardiac emergency, choking, or stroke.

CPR and First Aid are standard components of quality Medical Office Assistant training.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #7: Billing

Almost every MOA job requires billing. Medical office assistants need a good grasp of provincial health care plans, how claims are processed, reciprocal billing, billing numbers and codes.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #8: Updating Patient Records

At any given moment, a nurse or doctor may ask you for a patient's file. MOAs must ensure that these records are complete and up-to-date at all times.

This includes doctor's notes from the last appointment, x-rays, lab results, photocopies, updated health history, etc.

Every file must be organized and ready to hand over to the nurse or doctor.


Medical Office Assistant Skill #9: Communication

MOAs deal directly with patients, so communication skills are extremely important. Employers look for MOAs who are friendly, mature, and understand good customer service.

Even if an MOA has all the other skills on this list, if communication is lacking, they won't succeed in this career.

Our own MOA instructor, Kelley Khemiri explains:

"Medical office assistants must be friendly and approachable. Making patients feel welcome and taken care of when they come into the clinic is so important. Offering a warm greeting often changes their day!"


Medical Office Assistant Skill #10: Time management

Like we said in the beginning of this post, MOAs are amazing jugglers. They handle so many important clinic tasks, often at the same time!

Grace under pressure is key. MOAs need excellent time management skills, which includes prioritizing tasks, working efficiently, and keeping information well organized.


Learn more about becoming a Medical Office Assistant

Are you considering becoming a medical office assistant? Looking for information on training, careers, and job opportunities in Manitoba?

Chat live with a Herzing Admissions Advisor to get your questions answered. Or, click below to explore our 12-month Medical Office Assistant program.

This training includes a 6-week internship and comprehensive instruction in all the MOA skills listed here. Find out if this career is right for you.

Explore the Medical Office Assistant program


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