Ethics mean custom or practice, “a set of rules or a body of principles, a characteristic manner of acting or a more-or –less constant style of behavior in the deliberate actions of people”. It is difficult in today’s world to function as a medical assistant without an awareness of the impact of ethics and bio-ethics on health care. For health care professionals, ethics is often defined by a code or creed as seen in the code of ethics (AAMA) or the Principles of Medical Ethics from the American Medical Association (AMA) .Medical ethics is a discipline or methodology for considering the implications of medical technology or treatment and what ought to be. It is the study and application of moral values as they impact the health care system and the management of medical cases which may involve moral value conflicts.
Medical Ethics revolve around biotechnology, end-of-life issues, science applications, environmental concerns and cloning and stem cell research principles. On the other hand, a Medical assistant is a specially trained person to extend healthcare capabilities of a doctor or physician. They are expected to work together. They carry out organizational and clinical tasks to maintain the offices of medical doctors and health practitioners running efficiently. They are important and vital team members to many physicians and medical specialists. It is therefore important to ensure that such workers uphold high moral standards as an integral factor in developing the trust necessary in this field of work.
The explicit duties of Medical assistants most of the time depend on the extent, location and area of expertise of the practitioner. Conversely, ethical standards are one steady prerequisite necessary for all Medical assistants. While these codes and many others are essential and very helpful, they may lose their vitality unless they are understood by an individual who poses a personal and sound moral code or set of values. Codes of ethics constantly change and evolve just as personal values and morals change and evolve. This is unlike the law which hardly changes unless challenged or examined in the courts. this ensures that a Medical assistant’s personal ethical codes become stronger, the understanding of other’s perceptions becomes clearer, and professionalism is enhanced.Bio-ethics brings the entire focus of ethics into the field of health care and into those ethical issues dealing with life.
Various organizations such as The American Association of Medical assistants (AAMA) are responsible for the creation and implementation of these ethics. It is the most active association in the world dedicated to medical assistants. It works along with the code of ethics, that is, the Medical assistant Creed. It faces up to the Medical assistants to compel to the following moral and ethical standards: Rendering of service with full esteem for the self-respect of humanity, to advocate for reputation and high principles of the career and agree to its disciplines, seeking to persistently develop the familiarity and skills of medical assistants to the advantage of patients and professional colleagues. In addition, participating in supplementary service activities intended towards improving the wellbeing of the whole community as well as respecting the private information got in the course of employment unless legally approved or necessary by performance to disclose such information.
The creed makes the Medical assistants swear to have trust in the ideology and purposes of the career of medical assisting, endeavor to be more effective, aspire to render greater service, protect the confidence entrusted to them, devote to the concern and health of the society, being loyal to their employer, as well as being right to the ethics of one’s profession in addition to having strengthened compassion, courage and faith.
Medical assistants provide the required support to medical doctors as well as nurses in ensuring essential delivery of patient care. Some the general tasks performed by medical assistants range from simple maintenance of medical records, to complex billing and clerical duties. In extreme cases, the Medical assistant may also be obligated to perform certain clinical tasks that may include: documenting vital signs(blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature) and procedural diagnostic coding, performing simple lap tests and collecting specimens, preparing patient for examination or can as well examine them, arranging equipment and instruments before an exam, assisting the physician during patient exams, explaining treatment, medications, diet schedules and procedures to the patients, recording patients history, processing of insurance claims and treatment of minor injuries.
Given the above responsibilities, the Medical assistant’s code begins with basic expectations from the workers. The Medical assistant is expected to practice in a way the highly esteems the patient’s life in order to ensure that they respect the individual’s life and that whatever they do is in line with the patients desired quality of treatment regardless of the patient’s personal attributes. To begin with, a Medical assistant should have responsibilities to patients whereby he must he must identify himself to the patient and get acquainted before beginning his duty. He must protect the patient’s private information and reveal any confidential report only if required by law. The Medical assistant must give the right information to the patient, close relative or lawyer to enable them make well-informed decisions. He is expected to provide quality care even when the life of the patient is no longer guaranteed. They are bound by the dictum in their ethics” Do no harm”. They must obey jurisdictional laws to the care of their patients including minors who also have a right to quality medical services.
Secondly, there exists a conflict of interest. The Medical assistant is not allowed to treat people very close to them like friends, relatives and fellow workers. This is because personal feelings might affect the Medical assistant’s judgment or might even stop the patient from seeking medical assistance from a more qualified medical practitioner. If the Medical assistant must treat the person close to them, a physician must be consulted for more professional advice the soonest one can. The Medical assistant has the responsibility to provide any information concerning patients to the physicians. No agreements with the patients should be made outside the physician’s knowledge. This means that the Medical assistant must practice within the scope of training, expertise, skills and education and must always be within the ability of the physicians they work with.
In addition to that, the Medical assistant must be responsible to their profession. He must behave professionally at all times, obey the law, bring to the fore the esteemed medical profession as a whole and report any criminal offences committed by others. He should not associate with other medical assistants who go against the medical ethics and code of their medical practice since it is forbidden. The medical assistant is professionally duty-bound to participate in peer reviews, public medical education, ongoing intellectual studies and investigation activities. The medical assisted is also expected to undertake public responsibilities. This refers to participation in public activities that advance the shape and welfare of individuals and the community. He must protect the community by reporting disrespect to of the medical assistant’s bylaws. The code of ethics states that medical assistants are required to honor the principles of the medical profession on an intensity that meets the desires of society.
Furthermore, the medical assistants should have respect, confidence and loyalty. He should have high respect for their patients and do their best to keep their dignity. This includes giving them privacy when needed. They should be friendly, pleasant and make the patient feel comfortable around them. He should also show concern for the patient’s suffering and emphasize with his patients. They should as well have the ability to respect personal information of their patients. When a medical assistant comes into contact with confidential information in the course of their work, he must be careful to ensure that the information does not get to the wrong person at any given time. It is their responsibility to safeguard a patient’s records so that that privacy of a patient’s information is maintained. This includes protecting the confidence entrusted to them.
A medical assistant should be committed to the diligent quest for their profession and thus eager to value the soaring hold of the complete medical profession and the reverence of the general public which they serve. This means that they are expected to be loyal to their employees or the organizations that they work for. Such organizations mandate their members to accept disciplinary measures and maintain the honor, integrity and professionalism associated with the medical profession. Medical assistants and their physicians are expected to be careful with the way they relate with the media, and advertising agencies. These are people who have traditionally not advertised despite the fact that it is not illegal to do so, especially if the information given is true and does not mislead members of the public. They may include credentials of physicians and description of the practice or services rendered. Testimonials from their patients should be avoided at all costs.
This also applies to media relations whereby a medical assistant should not discuss the patient’s private issues concerning his medical condition to any member of the media, unless the patient allows it. However, information that is considered as public domain, for instance, births, deaths, accidents and police records are not restricted and do not require a patient’s consent.
In addition to that, the medical assistance should be responsible for their patient’s medical records and should as well ensure that they charge professional fees and charges. The medical chart and the information it bears belong to both the patient and the physician. Since medical assistants are the closest to the physician they are also involved in such issues. The patient’s record is confidential and a physician is allowed to give a copy of the patient’s records to another physician dealing with the same patient. However this is always done with full authorization from the patient. Both the physicians end the
Medical assistants are strictly forbidden from holding a patient’s records because of unpaid bill. Illegal excessive fees should not be charged by the medical assistants and the physicians. Fees charged to the patients should coincide with the price in the locale in order to ensure that the patient who is also the customer is not billed unnecessarily. Physicians and medical assistants must be diligent to ensure that patients are strictly charged in accordance to the services they receive. They should not exploit them.
It is the moral rule for medical assistants to do their duty. The addition of the ethical rule to do their responsibility is the one constituent that makes ethical behavior in the medical sector differs with ethics in other fields of work. It is referred to as a moral rule because it directs the worker’s behavior towards their patients. It involves people’s expectations of the medical assistants and whenever they fail to step up to their duty they discourage their patients who are also their clients and their colleagues. Having the medical assistant’s code of ethics has ensured that the workers are dedicated to save humanity and are steadfast, not just for the sake of those assigned to their concern, but also to the entire community. When we consider the services offered by them and how dedicated and committed they are, we will surely notice that medical assistants are outstanding.