Math is used in every profession, and medical assisting is no exception. The four different settings to learn how to use math in medical assisting are administration, clerical, laboratory and clinical. Each setting uses math in highly specialized ways. The concepts of math can range from basic arithmetic to function derivatives, so using math in medical assisting varies considerably from one setting to the next.
Using math as an administrative assistant involves basic arithmetic, accounting and business math. Each type of math has its own course offered at the college level. The accounting and business math are very specific, so understanding the fundamentals from high school math is essential.
Using math as a clerical medical assistant involves mostly basic arithmetic, but practice is needed to master the use of these math skills. In the clerical setting, math is needed for scheduling, billing and organization of the office. Many responsibilities are required in clerical medical assisting, and math becomes part of the career in many subtle ways. For instance, deciding if a schedule conflict exists and notifying the client or other medical professionals of this in a proper way requires daily routine math.
Doing math in the laboratory for medical assisting is quite different from other forms more related to business aspects of medical assisting. Because of the training in basic human anatomy and physiology, many of the mathematical concepts from the sciences of computers, chemistry and biology are needed. To perform laboratory operations, a strong background in graphs and charts is needed, as well as calculus concepts like understanding derivatives.
Doing math in the clinical setting should be the most natural for medical assisting. The required math skills are the basics required for high school graduation, unless some highly specialized form of math becomes necessary, as it does happen often in medical assisting. Calibration of equipment, filling data and small computations and calculations increase the math skills of the medical assistant daily.
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