A Day in The Life of a Medical Office Assistant

Our Medical Office Assistant diploma program prepares students for a career in medical administration. Due to COVID-19, the medical field is experiencing rapid growth, creating demand for a huge range of careers in medical administration.

Our graduates find well-paying jobs in offices, clinics, and hospitals as:

  • Office managers
  • Medical billing clerks
  • Administrative assistants
  • Patient registration clerks
  • Medical transcriptionists
  • Unit/ward clerks

But what does a typical day in the life of a medical office assistant look like? Given the scope of job options, there are many possibilities. Although some of the details might change, any job as a Medical Office Assistant will include similar tasks and responsibilities.

Learn what Taylor’s average day as a Medical Office Assistant looks like in detail.


Scenario: Taylor is a 29-year-old graduate who works full-time as Dr. Smith’s office assistant/manager. Dr. Smith is a busy cardiologist who splits her time between her private office, where Taylor has worked for three years, and the local hospital. Taylor’s role is to care for all clerical aspects of Dr. Smith’s practice, while Dr. Smith’s nurse looks after clinical aspects.

7:55 am: Taylor arrives at the office, ahead of other staff. She unlocks the door, turns off the alarm and turns on all the computers and tablets. She records a new voicemail stating today’s availability. Taylor listens to voicemail messages and checks office email, taking note of any cancellations or urgent messages. She calls patients from her waiting list to fill any same-day cancellation slots.

8:15 am: Greets Dr. Smith and the office nurse as they arrive, updating them on the day’s schedule and any urgent patient messages.

9:00 am: Finally, Taylor greets the first patient as he arrives. She confirms his demographics and OHIP information is up-to-date in medical record software. After discovering the patient had recent blood work done that is not on his file, she calls the lab to have it sent over immediately before the doctor sees him.

9:30 am: Then Taylor continues registering patients as they arrive. In between patient arrivals, she processes all documents that have arrived since the last workday. She files lab work electronically in patients’ electronic medical records, prints off prescription renewals for the doctor to sign and sets aside referral requests to deal with later in the day.

10:00 am: Calls include ones from a pharmacist who needs a Limited Use code for a prescription the doctor just sent in, an Emergency Room nurse who is caring for one of Dr. Smith’s patients and another doctor who wants to speak with Dr. Smith about a mutual patient.

11:00 am: Taylor registers a first-time patient and creates an electronic medical record for her. She helps the patient fill out basic paperwork and enter her demographics and allergies into her medical record. The new patient forgot her lengthy list of medications at home, so Taylor calls her pharmacy to get a list sent over right away for the doctor’s review.

12:00 pm: Lunchtime.

12:30 pm: Next, Taylor calls tomorrow’s patients to remind them of their appointments. She leaves messages for any who do not answer, reminding them to bring their health card and list of medications.

1:30 pm: Now it’s time to process referrals. Taylor sorts referrals by urgency, according to office guidelines. She finds appointments for each patient, sending their appointment times and instructions to their referring doctor.

2:30 pm: After finding out that Dr. Smith is attending a conference next Friday that she forgot to mention, Taylor begins rescheduling all of that day’s patients. There are few openings in the doctor’s schedule, so this task requires patience and problem-solving.

3:30 pm: Unfortunately a patient arrives without an appointment, explaining that he urgently needs to see the doctor. After asking the patient questions and discussing the situation discreetly with the office nurse, Taylor adds him to the day’s schedule.

4:30 pm: However, although the patients should all be gone by now, there are still a few patients to be seen. The doctor is running overtime and patients are restless in the waiting room. Taylor stays until all patients are seen, making their follow-up appointments and booking any tests the doctor ordered for them.

5:00 pm: After recording a new voicemail stating that the office is now closed and checking the office e-mail one last time, Taylor finishes her workday by turning off the computers and lights, setting the alarm and locking the door.

After reading what a typical day for Taylor looks like, it’s clear that working as a medical office assistant is a demanding profession that requires:

  • Excellent people skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Multitasking
  • Problem-solving skills

A career as a medical office assistant can be immensely rewarding. Medical office assistants act as a liaison between patients who need help and the practitioners who can offer that help. They assist people in their most vulnerable moments and help them navigate the healthcare system. Medical office assistants often make the difference between a patient falling through the cracks or getting the help they need, when they need it.

If you love people, enjoy being organized, and want to make a difference, then a career as a medical office assistant might be the perfect fit for you!

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