Currently,there are more than six million allied health care providers in theUnited States of America. All these medical experts are specializedin more than one hundred different lines of health care work.Nevertheless, the number of allied healthcare providers is expectedto increase with an anticipated increase in the number of health careprofessions by 2020. Accordingly, many Americans are asking: What isallied health care? What are the roles of an allied health careprovider in the delivery of patient care? What exactly is the scopeof practice paper of an allied health care specialist? What is theimportance of patient-centered care? To answer these questions, thispaper will shed light on two allied health professionals: EmergencyMedical Technician (EMT) and Medical Assistant (MA). The Associationof Schools of Allied Health Professionals (ASAHP) (2016) definesallied health care as a field of healthcare that provides servicespertaining to the identification, evaluation, and prevention ofillnesses and disorders ranging from (but not limited to)nutritional, dietary, health system management, to rehabilitationservices. Typically, the roles and scope of an emergency medicaltechnician in the delivery of patient care are more and widerrespectively than that of a medical assistant.
Theroles of an emergency medical technician in the delivery of patientcare are more than that of a medical assistant. An emergency medicaltechnician is a paramedic that provides the first line of emergencymedical care to patients suffering from trauma or sickness in othersettings apart from a hospital. In other words, the typical jobdescription of an emergency medical technician is to provide firstaid in traumatic situations. Hence, it is of prime importance that anemergency medical technician possesses a high level of proficiency infirst aid so as to provide life supporting medical care in traumaticsettings. EMT’s should be proficient in recognizing, assessing,managing, and prioritizing medical emergency care in a wide varietyof traumatic situations that routinely happen out of a hospital. Theelementary contractual duties of an emergency medical technicianconsist of managing respiratory problems, cardiac arrest, seizures,heart attacks, chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, aswell as traumatic injuries from accidents. Additionally, emergencymedical technicians perform lifesaving processes and procedures likedefibrillating patients, endotracheal incubation, and emergencymedication (Scott, 2014). Hence, the roles that an emergency medicaltechnician plays in the delivery of patient-centered care are huge.
Onthe contrary, a medical assistant does not play as many roles in thedelivery of patient-centered care. Medical assistants, as their namessuggest, are a group of medical specialists who in a typical hospitalsetting, work under the supervision of other medical specialists.Medical assistants perform both clinical and administrativefunctions, some of which include maintaining medical records,receiving and scheduling patients, basic secretarial duties, andphone correspondence. Some of their clinical duties include takingand recording of vital signs, obtaining patient history, preparingpatients for treatment, helping other medical specialists withclinical procedures, and processing specimens for laboratoryanalysis. It is apparent that the roles of a medical assistant arenot as integrative as the roles of an emergency medical technician inthe delivery of patient-centered care. Both persons are allied healthprofessionals, but an emergency medical technician is morecontributory to the delivery of patient-centered care than a medicalassistant.
What`smore, the scope of practice paper of an emergency medical technicianis wider than that of a medical assistant. To meet the minimumrequirements of joining an EMT course, an individual must have aminimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Also, anindividual needs to meet the minimal mental and physical requirementsof the vocation. There are two levels of EMT training: EMT- Paramedicand EMT-basic. To become a qualified technician, one has to completethe basic training first before proceeding to EMT-Paramedic training.However, there are some colleges and universities that offer EMTtraining as Bachelor of Science degree programs. Training includes acombination of classwork, hospital clinical practice, and fieldtraining done under the supervision of qualified allied healthprofessionals. Field training is often acquired in a typical hospitalsetting, a qualified physician’s office, or any other qualifiedhealth care facility. Intrinsically, the scope of practice paper ofan emergency medical assistant is broad and intricate.
Incontrast, the scope of practice paper of a medical assistant is notas expansive. Individuals wishing to join medical assistant trainingmust have a high school diploma or its equivalent. The trainingprograms vary from one institution to another, but they must belengthy enough to make sure that basic competencies are instituted bythe curriculum. Basic curriculum training entails medical fields likehuman physiology, human anatomy, medical law, andclinical/administrative procedures that are relevant for medicalassistants. In addition to classwork, medical assistant students arerequired to complete practical experience normally acquired in aqualified physician’s office, health care facility, or accreditedhospital (ExploreHealthCareers.org. 2012). Just like an EMTspecialist, a medical assistant also has to meet the minimal mentaland physical characteristics of the profession. Apparently, the scopeof practice paper is not wide despite the fact that medicalassistants have both clinical and administrative roles in thedelivery of patient care. Regardless of the disparities, both theseallied health professionals contribute to the delivery of qualitypatient-centered care which is important for the benefits it bringsto patients and health care providers.
First,patient-centered care improves the experience patients have ofreceiving medical care which makes them feel more contented with thehealing process. Secondly, patient-centered care is important becauseit encourages patients to get actively involved in their care(ExploreHealthCareers.org. 2012). For instance, an obese patient canimplement positive lifestyle changes only when an allied healthprofessional involves her decisions about how her health care needsshould be met. As an outcome, patients are more receptive andcompliant to treatment remedies built on patient-centered tactics tohealth care delivery. Not forgetting the benefits to allied healthspecialists, patient-centered care improves their confidence andsatisfaction with the care provided. By and large, patient-centeredcare is important because it improves the health care experience ofthe patient and while at the same time improving the contentment ofthe practitioner in the treatment process. Per se, patient-centeredtreatment is a twofold beneficial process because it benefits boththe patient and the allied health care provider. To effectivelyperform their health care duties, there are certain behaviors thatallied health professionals need to possess. An allied healthspecialist should have good communication skills, be understanding,patient, supportive and knowledgeable (Sarrah.org. 2015).
Typically,the roles and scope of an emergency medical technician in thedelivery of patient care are more and wider (respectively) than thatof a medical assistant. Emergency medical technicians perform moreduties in the delivery of patient care even if the duties of amedical assistant entail both clinical and administrative roles.Since their roles in delivering patient care are expansive, thisimplies that the scope of practice paper is wide. This explains whyan individual studying to become an emergency medical technicianshould pass two levels of examinations. On the contrary, the roles ofa medical assistant are not as many as those of an emergency medicaltechnician which explains the relatively smaller duration ofcertification to become a competent medical assistant. Despite theseslight disparities in roles and scope of practice papers, both thesehealth professionals are instrumental in the delivery of patient carein different sceneries.
ASAHP.(2016). Definition of Allied Health. Retrieved August 19, 2016, fromhttp://www.asahp.org/about-us/what-is-allied-health/definition-of-allied-health/
ExploreHealthCareers.org.(2012). Retrieved August 19, 2016, fromhttp://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Field/1/Allied_Health_Professions
Sarrah.org.(2015). Scope of Practice. Retrieved August 19, 2016, fromhttp://sarrah.org.au/content/scope-practice
Scott,E. (2014). Erratum. InternationalJournal of Health &amp Allied Sciences Int J Health Allied Scis,3(4),289. doi:10.4103/2278-344x.143100