A chiropractic assistant, also known as a chiropractic medical assistant, is a multi skilled allied healthcare worker who performs a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to facilitate the routine day to day operations of chiropractic clinics and practices. Chiropractic assistants review patients’ customized treatment plans in order to render care and deliver specific healthcare services.
The primary function of the chiropractic assistant is to assist chiropractors in the provision of care to patients in outpatient healthcare settings such as specialty clinics, pain management practices, and chiropractic doctors’ offices. A chiropractic assistant provides hands-on patient care. In addition, chiropractic assistants complete a number of clerical tasks to ensure smooth functioning of chiropractic practices.
Chiropractic assistants perform clinical duties such as checking patients into the clinic or practice setting, rooming patients, measuring and charting body weight and height, obtaining health histories, and helping patients complete questionnaires and other forms as needed by the chiropractor. They observe patients and promptly report any unusual reactions to treatments and/or changes in patient status to the chiropractor.
In addition to the previously mentioned duties, chiropractic assistants obtain subjective health data including vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate) for the chiropractor’s use in physical examinations and treatment plans. Chiropractic assistants also assist in other hands-on patient care tasks such as physiotherapy treatments, exercises and hot and cold therapies.
Moreover, chiropractic assistants carry out administrative front office tasks such as greeting people at the reception desk, confirming payer sources and medical insurance coverage, scheduling appointments, billing, filing paperwork, answering telephones, checking emails, navigating computer software systems, communicating with supply vendors, and maintaining the cleanly appearance of the waiting area.
The overwhelming majority of chiropractic assistants can be found working in places of employment such as multi specialty practices, chiropractor offices, pain management clinics, and personal injury chiropractic clinics. Chiropractic assistants work alongside chiropractors, x-ray technicians (radiographers), and other types of healthcare providers and allied health professionals.
Ideally, the chiropractic assistant needs to have superb communication skills and the ability to relate to patients from a variety of different backgrounds. They should possess a cordial personality and be knowledgeable about the ethical aspects of their role, including the principles of veracity (truthfulness) and confidentiality (the obligation to keep protected health information private).
In addition, a chiropractic assistant should know how to utilize appropriate body mechanics and have some physical strength due to the continual bending, frequent lifting, occasional twisting, and lengthy periods of time they may spend on their feet during a typical day at the workplace. They are expected to work under minimal supervision, make many decisions independently and be problem solvers.
Safety is fundamental in the role of a chiropractic assistant. They must handle patients with extreme care to prevent and avert avoidable injuries to themselves and the patients to whom they render direct care. Furthermore, chiropractic assistants always need to comply with standard precautions and infection preventative principles to ensure their patients remain safe.
To become a chiropractic assistant, an individual should be a high school graduate or GED recipient. Earning a diploma, certificate or associate degree in medical assisting can add legitimacy to a career as a chiropractic assistant and make the job search much easier. After attaining a diploma or degree in medical assisting, a person should take the extra step of obtaining national certification as a certified medical assistant.
Job market demand for chiropractic assistants is expected to be robust well into the future. Per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, which places chiropractic assistants into the Medical Assistants employment category, the projected job growth rate for this allied healthcare professional role is an estimated 29 percent through the year 2026. This projected growth rate greatly exceeds the average of all other kinds of jobs.
The massive increase in population of the aging Baby Boomer population will continue to fuel the high demand for preventive and holistic healthcare services, which are often provided by chiropractors. Because of these reasons, chiropractors are expected to hire a larger number of chiropractic assistants to complete routinized administrative and clinical duties, enabling chiropractors to attend to more patients.
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