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What You Need to Know About Patient Confidentiality After Your Medical Office Assistant Training

2018-05-16 by Mark Harrington

medical laboratory assistant program

It takes courage to visit a medical professional to seek help for a particular health problem. These are private situations, and a great deal of trust is placed in the doctor or physician when the patient comes forward. Healthcare professionals therefore have a duty to treat confidential information with the utmost care, and prevent it from getting into the hands of others.

This concept, called patient confidentiality, is strictly abided by medical office assistants. These professionals have the organizational skills to ensure that a private or public practice functions efficiently. Electronic and hard-copy versions of medical records are often needed for each individual patient, and it’s vital that these documents are kept away from prying eyes. Let’s take a closer look at what patient confidentiality is all about.

Patient Confidentiality Is a Core Duty of Medical Practice

Healthcare professionals are regularly informed about sensitive information from patients, and records are kept in order to provide ongoing care. Grads of medical office assistant courses know that confidentiality prohibits the healthcare provider from relaying such information about the patient to other people or organizations. This means that even a patient’s wife or husband cannot be told sensitive information about their loved one, without prior consent.

People may be embarrassed about a particular medical condition, and patient confidentiality serves an important function in increasing their willingness to seek help. A practice must strictly value the confidentiality of records like medical history, x-rays, and various types of lab reports. Otherwise, confidence among the local community in the service will be eroded.

Hard copy medical files should be safely stored in a secure location

Hard copy medical files should be safely stored in a secure location

Protecting Confidential Information After Medical Office Assistant Training

A well-organized and secure filing system is the backbone of medical offices, as professionals protect the confidentiality of hard-copy documents. Offices and waiting rooms are busy places, so office assistants are very conscious to avoid leaving confidential information in plain view of the public. It’s recommended that, where possible, first names are used when speaking to clients on the phone. Patient records shouldn’t be left open on the reception desk, and they should also be carried between rooms in a manner where the patient name isn’t visible. It’s easy to maintain best practices in patient confidentiality by picking up these habits early in an office administration career.

Office assistants avoid leaving confidential files open on reception desks

Office assistants avoid leaving confidential files open on reception desks

The efficiency of electronically storing medical information means it has become a popular alternative in recent decades. This new trend does however leave confidential information vulnerable to attack from around the globe, if it’s being stored on an online cloud. These are third-party service providers, so institutions must be very careful about their use.

The theft or loss of electric items, such as computers, smart phones, or hard drives is also a common cause of privacy breaches. Professionals who received training in a medical laboratory assistant program are cognizant of protecting sensitive information, and offices therefore invest in robust computer security software. When disposing of electrical equipment, it’s vital that confidential records are permanently deleted through the physical destruction of the storage system or the use of dedicated software.

Learn all the fundamental skills during medical office assistant training.

Find out more about the diploma programs available at NAHB.

Medical Office Training: A Global Movement in Healthcare

2015-12-02 by Mark Harrington

The Global Definition of Health Worker is Expanding to Include Non-Medical Roles

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working on an integrated policy ‘Global Strategy for Human Resources in Healthcare’ that encompasses end-to-end patient services.  More specifically, incorporating the importance of all patient touch-points during the medical-care process.  WHO is looking at the ‘experience’ patients are provided (which includes non-medical personnel) – not only at the quality of medical care they receive1.

In this report, Health workers are “all people engaged in actions whose primary intent is to enhance health” (WHO – World Health Report 2006). This includes physicians, nurses and midwives, but also laboratory technicians, public health professionals, community health workers, pharmacists, and all other support workers whose main function relates to delivering preventive, promotive or curative health services1.

Health workers (including those who have completed Medical Office Assistant Training) typically operate in collaboration with the wider social service workforce, who is responsible to ensure the welfare and protection of socially or economically disadvantaged individuals and families; a closer integration of the health and social service workforce can also improve long-term care for aging populations1.

This global strategy will address best practices, at a national level by planners and policy makers, and at a global level by the international community. A final draft of this global strategy is being presented at the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016.

The Projected Outcome

These findings will dictate how countries with National Health Care Systems will implement go-forward medical strategies as globally recognized best-practices are a tipping point for change.  The fact that non-medical staff, such as those who have completed Medical Office Assistant Programs are being considered part of this integrated process is good news for individuals operating in an administrative capacity giving credence to their roles as they directly impact service levels and patient experience.

Expected Growth

Available positions for Medical Office Assistant’s (MOAs) are increasing, driven by the ongoing retirement of the baby boom generation and general increases in population. Many medical practices are converting to electronic health records, which often precipitates the need for additional staffing, improving prospects particularly for those who are computer-savvy.2

Salaries and Common Career Paths

The national average salary figure for this position is $33,500, with the highest annual salary being $45,000 depending on experience, capabilities and tenure within the industry.  Individuals who excel in this area have the room to progress into positions with more responsibility and higher salaries.3

Common Career Paths in Canada3

Common Career Paths

Industry Accreditation and Support

Should you choose a career in this field you can easily add credibility to your resume and help build your career by joining both the Canadian Association of Administrative Assistants and the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
Memberships are available to students, graduates and those employed within this field.  Additionally, you will benefit from regular updates, networking opportunities and industry accreditations offered through these organizations.

Are you interested in learning more about Medical Office Administration Courses or obtaining your Medical Office Administration Diploma? Visit the NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.

For more information please visit:

National Academy of Health & Business
Phone and email:
Mississauga: 1.888.306.0991

Hamilton: 1.888.446.4649

Toronto: 1.866.797.6312


Medical Office Assistant Training + These 5 Soft Skills = Career Success!

2015-09-30 by Mark Harrington

medical office assistant courses

There is no better time to become a medical office assistant. Demand for skilled professionals in healthcare administration is reaching new heights, with Canadian projections showing continued growth in the sector for years to come.

If you’d like to earn secure employment and a competitive wage, medical office assistant training will help you on your way. Along with practical knowledge, training can help you develop the particular “soft skills” today’s employers are looking for. Soft skills are skills we use to relate to others, from effective listening to confident communication.

Read on to learn the five soft skills most valuable to a medical office assisting career.

1. Medical Office Assistant Programs Promote Confident Leadership Skills

If you become a medical office assistant, a variety of career paths will open up to you in a range of medical office and clinical settings. In every position, your duties will likely include specialized tasks—like arranging examining room equipment, or purchasing and maintaining medical supplies.

Successful office assistants approach these tasks with confidence, because they have the expertise and leadership skills that come with comprehensive training.

Medical office assistant training teaches the expert practical knowledge involved in healthcare administration, such as human anatomy, medical terminology, systems and data management and more. The best employees use this training to exercise leadership in the medical workplace.

2. Communication Skills: Vital to Today’s Medical Office Assistant

Effective communication isn’t just about talking and listening. As a medical administrative assistant, your warm, professional spoken and written communication skills will set the tone of your future office environment.

Office admins need to update and file patients’ records, arrange for hospital admissions, coordinate lab services and more—requiring excellent written and spoken communication at every turn. These skills promote smooth operations, and help avoid confusions or misunderstandings.

3. Medical Office Assistant Training Teaches Flexibility

An office assistant’s responsibilities can vary greatly and change daily. From screening calls to organizing documents to interacting with a diverse range of patients, today’s office assistant must be prepared to do it all. This takes a certain kind of flexible, versatile personality.

Having firsthand knowledge of a variety of office procedures and policies—through both training and experience—can make it easy for you to adapt to various tasks, and even help you secure executive, managerial positions in the long run.

4. Superior Social Skills: Becoming an Interpersonal Expert

Graduates of medical office assistant programs have dedicated time to fine-tuning their patient service and interpersonal skills.

These are the social skills or “people skills” medical office administrators use to effectively work in teams, and to communicate important healthcare information to medical professionals and patients from all walks of life. For example, helping a patient secure medical insurance, or decide on an ideal appointment time, takes compassionate, clear deliverance of facts and options.

The right training and experience will give you the practical tools to turn each interaction into a positive foundation for a lasting, professional relationship.

5. Comprehensive Training Creates Informed, Aware Professionals

Healthcare administrative training teaches the particular roles and responsibilities of each member of a healthcare team. Once you’ve earned your diploma, you can use this knowledge to your advantage with the soft skill of “general social awareness”—understanding complex systems and your place within them.

When office administrators keep their fingers on the pulse of all office operations, it helps them understand the many levels of coordination it takes to keep an office running smoothly.

With the right training and the development of these five soft skills, you’ll be ready to make your mark on the healthcare administration industry!

Are you interested in enrolling in medical office assistant courses? Visit NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.

An Early Childcare Assistant’s Guide to Effective Parent Communication

2015-01-28 by Mark Harrington

early childcare assistant communicate with parents

Students pursuing careers as early childcare assistants (ECAs) know that they will one day be responsible for supervising and providing care to young children enrolled in preschools, daycares or kindergartens. They will be required to prepare daily activities which will help promote cognitive and physical development in children, which also involves monitoring and recording any progress made. Every professional early childhood assistant understands the importance of building meaningful relationships not only with the children they are supervising, but with their families as well. Continue reading for strategies on effectively communicating with parents as an ECA.

The Importance of Good Parent Communication

When early childcare assistants communicate with a child’s family, both parties should be able to collaborate and assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses while working together to come up with ways to better support him or her. And of course, anyone with an early childcare assistant diploma knows that a good parent-caregiver bond builds the foundation for a healthy education environment. When the parent makes a positive association with educators and the learning environment, this is inevitably reflected in the child’s attitude and level of success.

Two-way Discussions

ECAs recognize that the best and most effective way to communicate with a child’s parents is by having a two-way conversation. This can be accomplished either by means of a phone call or by meeting face-to-face. Meeting in person is preferred because it allows the ECA to listen to the parents directly and personally address any questions or concerns they might have.

Progress Reports

In cases where two-way communication is not ideal, one-way communication can be just as effective. Early childcare assistants will often use progress reports to communicate the events of a child’s day to the parents. Progress reports can be given to parents when they drop off their child in the mornings or pick them up in the evenings. A progress report is a method of quickly outlining both the negative and positive parts of a child’s day in order to keep their parents informed. These can either be formal or informal, depending on the ECA’s relationship with the parents. These progress reports are usually very short and to the point – sometimes just a sentence or two is enough.

Monthly Newsletters

Another tactic that professionals with early childcare assistant training might use to communicate a child’s progress to his or her parents is by writing a monthly newsletter. It should not come as a surprise that this letter would be much lengthier than a progress report, as it would outline an entire month of a child’s progress. Some ECAs might even attach some of the work (drawings, paintings, etc.) that a child has created within that time. ECAs can also include lists of ways in which a parent might be able to extend a child’s learning at home, or perhaps even inform parents on volunteer opportunities that may be available at the daycare or preschool.

Can you think of any other effective strategies that a childcare assistant might use to communicate effectively with parents?

The Evolution of Legal Offices

2014-11-05 by Mark Harrington

Evolution of Legal office

Legal history stretches far back in time, and the concept of “law” has existed almost as long as humans themselves. The earliest people to be described as lawyers were the orators of Ancient Athens, who essentially invented the concept of democracy. During the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, lawyers began operating firms which issued patents to secure rights to the many inventions being developed at the time. It was also around this time that Harvard University developed a standardized law education program. From the Industrial Revolution up until contemporary times, the infrastructure of legal businesses has continually evolved in fascinating ways – and so has the role of the legal office administrator.

The Law Firm

While legal offices were quite common during the Industrial Revolution, the world didn’t see the mega law firms of today until the early 20th century. In the stable period around the 1940s and 50s (just after World War Two), big business evolved as a way to handle increased manufacturing. Early legal office administration training would develop shortly afterwards, to help fill the secretarial needs of these huge firms. Today, some of the biggest law firms are found in places like Chicago, New York and London, each employing thousands of lawyers.

Law Office IT

As law firms grow, the technology they use must evolve as well. In the 1960s, it was standard to see lawyers and secretaries alike typing on a device like the IBM Selectric typewriter. It wasn’t until 1980, when IBM came out with the Displaywriter System, that a truly efficient document management device was finally available to legal professionals. Five years after the IBM Displaywriter, Microsoft launched Windows, followed by the Microsoft Office series—a package of computer tools which revolutionized data entry and storage. This new technology would affect not only legal office administration, but also medical office assistant training and other administrative career college programs.

Legal Office Assistants

As with dental assistant training, schooling for a legal administration position did not exist until the 19th century, when increasing technology expanded business. “Office assistant” became a recognized career during WW2, when women took over the office roles of men who had gone overseas. Instead of giving these jobs back after the war, women continued to thrive in administrative roles, and were seen as essential to growing businesses. Today, legal administrative assistants have the following duties:

  • Schedule meetings
  • Maintain client files
  • Type and format documents
  • Create PowerPoint presentations
  • Conduct research
  • Maintain calendars
  • Bill clients

Compared to the 1950s, when the duties were minimal and no training was needed, todays law office administrative staff are required to have knowledge of a variety of computer programs, such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint, and must be trained in specific practices like family law, corporate law and civil litigation.

What do you consider the most important responsibility of a legal office assistant today?


A Security Guard’s Guide to “Use of Force” Theory

2014-10-15 by Mark Harrington

Legal trainingDeciding which career path to follow is never easy, but when you’ve finally made your choice and discovered your professional calling, specific training and knowledge is required before beginning your new career. Whether you’re planning to pursue dental assistant training, medical office assistant training or even security guard training, a specific curriculum and skill-set is required to become an expert in your chosen field.

Security Guard Training

Security guards are employed by various organizations including private businesses, hospitals, banks and casinos to observe the locations’ surroundings and keep a watchful eye out for theft, suspicious activity or threatening behaviour. As a security guard, you may be responsible for observing TV monitors from behind a desk or asked to stand in front of an exit to check the flow of traffic in and out of the building. No matter what your duties entail, it is essential to master a very specific skill-set that is provided through security guard training, as well as the knowledge and expertise that can be acquired through some legal training.

The Dangers of the Job

Pursuing a career as a security guard certainly has its advantages – such as flexible hours. However, similar to many jobs, being a security guard also comes with certain challenges. In some cases, working in security can be dangerous because of the potential for hazardous encounters. When working in a protection or security role, there is always a risk of something unexpected happening and being prepared is critical. In the case of a threat presenting itself or the occurrence of an unexpected event, security guards must keep in mind the “Use of Force” theory in order to effectively handle the situation.

The “Use of Force” Theory

In some cases, a security guard may be exposed to a situation where he/she may need to use force to neutralize a threat. If such a situation should occur, it is important to have a detailed understanding of the “Use of Force” theory.

Section 25 of the Criminal Code of Canada explains that a security guard must carefully match use of force to the severity of the perceived threat. Security personnel are criminally responsible for usage of excessive force, so becoming familiar with the theory, its examples and recommendations, is an essential part of any training course. Security guards must also take into consideration a few conditions that may cause sudden or unexpected death when using force to detain a person. These conditions include:

  • Excited delirium syndrome
  • Positional asphyxia

Both conditions can cause sudden death and can occur when a person is being forcefully restrained. Security guards must bear in mind that a person should never be held in a position that can obstruct his/her breathing. It is important to always use The National Use of Force Model to assess threatening situations and determine a proportionate response.

Becoming a Security Guard in Canada

2014-08-13 by Mark Harrington

accounting courses

In today’s world, protecting your assets is extremely important, which is why the market for security guards in Canada is currently very healthy, with a lot of demand for professionals with security guard training.  A career as a security guard can be both interesting and rewarding, as you won’t ever experience the same day twice and will be tasked with important responsibilities. If you have a strong sense of duty, love helping and protecting others and have a good eye for details, a career as a security guard could be a perfect fit for you.

So how do you become a security guard in Canada? Do you need a license? Can you get your training through an employer? While some details will change from province to province, here are the main steps.

Being eligible for the position

First and foremost, you won’t be able to find work as a security guard in Canada if you’re not legally eligible to work in the country, at least 18 years old (or 19 in some provinces) and don’t possess a clean criminal record. Depending on the province in which you live, make sure you meet these three criteria. You will definitely have to undergo a criminal background check, but don’t be alarmed. This is simply a normal procedure to ensure no bad surprises.

Passing your exam

To be employed as a security guard in Canada, you’ll need to acquire a professional license. This is done through your provincial ministry. Though each province has its own rules and regulations, a lot of them are similar. To complete your security guard exam, you’ll need to take a 40 hour course on how to be a security guard, which will be followed by an exam made of various multiple choice questions. Lastly, you should know that passing the exam doesn’t necessarily guarantee you employment, though it’s definitely a step in the right direction!

Applying for your license

Almost there! After completing the exam, you’ll need to apply for your security guard license. This is done through your provincial government. There will be paperwork for you to fill out, though nothing too complicated. In other words, you won’t need accounting courses to fill out these few forms! There will also be an entry fee (25$ to 60$, depending on where you live), which you need to pay every year to renew your license. Once you receive your license in the mail, you’ll be ready to find work and start making money protecting a business, its clients and assets.

As a security guard in Canada, there a number of business, organizations and even individuals that can hire you. You might end up working in banks, bars, schools, casinos, small businesses and more. You’ll get to meet people from all walks of life, from early childhood assistant to professionals with medical office assistant training. Lastly, you’ll feel great knowing that your efforts are making a difference.

Top Skills for Becoming a Community Services Worker

2014-07-02 by Mark Harrington

Home care

The role of a community services worker is to assist and support individuals and communities facing challenges related to areas like economic difficulties, mental health issues, substance abuse problems, physical disabilities or more. As a community services worker, you work on the frontlines of social assistance, meaning this is a career that can be demanding, but also tremendously satisfying on a personal level. If you’re currently investigating carers in healthcare and social work, such as contemplating taking a personal support worker course or becoming an early childhood assistant, you should consider a career as a community services worker. If you love to help people and fight for what’s right, it could be just what you’re looking for.

Top skills

A trained community services worker can find employment in a number of organisations, including government agencies, women’s shelters, mental health centers, correctional facilities, schools, group homes and more.

To be successful as a community services worker, you must be people-oriented and have strong empathy and compassion. Good organizational skills and being able to think quickly on your feet can also come in handy. Moreover, a positive attitude is a good trait to have, as some of your clients may have fallen into patterns of negative thinking.

During your formation as a community services worker, you’ll also acquire skills related to:

  • Psychology
  • Case management
  • Counseling Techniques
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Self-care
  • Conflict resolution
  • Family development
  • CPR/First Aid

All of these will help you provide quality support and services to individuals in need and making a difference in their lives and your community.

Tasks and responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of a community services worker can vary greatly depending on your employer or the type of clients you have, and might require you to also receive light medical office assistant training.

In general, a professional in this field can expect to:

  • Meet with clients to evaluate their situation, provide support or assess their progress
  • Write reports, including a client’s strengths, weaknesses and needs
  • Help clients gain access to the governmental services they need, such as legal, medical and financial assistance, employment services, help with housing and more
  • In collaboration with the client, develop and carry out plans of action
  • Implement various programs within a community, including substance abuse programs, youth services and workshops related to life skills and other topics
  • Provide crisis intervention and emergency shelter services

And, of course, much more. Your training as a community services worker will be flexible and will prepare you to be able to handle many different types of challenges and work environments, so that can you be effective both independently and as a member of a team of community services workers.

In the end, if you care about social justice, are passionate about supporting individuals in difficult situations, are self-motivated and a good decision marker, you’ll find plenty to like in community services.

Overcoming Barriers of Effective Office Communication

2014-06-18 by Mark Harrington

Effective communication in the workplace can improve work ethic, creativity and time management for overall productivity improvements. Communication skills are valuable in every office environment, whether you are taking medical office assistant training or business courses. Office communication in this age of technology is evolving so fast it can be hard to keep your head wrapped around all the new changes, but with a couple of these great tips you’ll have the office more efficient in no time flat.

Give Feedback

Even if it’s just a quick “Good job” after one of your co-workers’ presentations, giving other employees in the office feedback helps open up the channels of communication in the office. If you’re looking to share criticism and tips for improvement, consider the proper time and place, and the proper tone to phrase it in. Most of the time, if someone asks for your feedback, it’s okay to give them constructive ways to improve something, but spouting unsolicited criticism when you’re not asked to comment is not only rude, but disruptive.

Know When to Email and When to Talk

These days, with computers being an essential element of any office, a lot of our communication is done online. While sending people tasks or giving feedback on a submission are things that are sometimes better done through email or another text based messaging format, there are times where actually going over and engaging and talking to another employee is a much better way of communicating.

If you need to ask one or two short clarifying questions, emailing can be a waste of time while sending the message that you don’t have the time to simply walk over and engage someone. Not only this, but actively talking with people in the workplace creates a more open and relaxed environment than one where everyone is just silently plugging away on computers.

Active Listening

In the information age, we frequently think we have little time to spare, when that’s not really the case. One of the implications of this belief is that we often do a lot of talking – telling people something, describing what we want, talking about what we think should happen – and not a lot of time listening to others’ input. This creates a one-sided state of mind where everyone is pushing their own ideas and imagination on others, but not listening to what they have to say.

In everything from pursuing payroll training to running accounting courses to teach new hires, collaboration should allow better ideas to flourish while creating more efficient work flows, so opening yourself up and really listening to people is absolutely essential for good teamwork. Often there are mistakes that could have been easily avoided if communication was clearer from the beginning. Relationships in an office are all about give and take, so when all you’re doing is taking, you’re just making the situation more muddled and inefficient.

When it all comes down to it, making more of an effort to engage in open and honest communication is the secret to an efficient  and happy office. Just taking the time out of your day to talk to your co-workers, even if it’s not work related, makes the atmosphere that much more positive.

A Brief History of Office Administration

2014-06-04 by Mark Harrington

Today’s offices offer their services to clients around the world as well as to the global online marketplace. An office without a skilled office administrator would be like a ship without a captain. Employees need structure and to be able to rely on various administrative structures in order to perform to the best of their abilities while keeping up with the challenging pace of business. To be successful as an office administrator, you’ll need specialized training, such as payroll training and accounting courses, as well as:

  • Good communications and coordination skills
  • A knack for managing your time well
  • The ability to learn new software to process documents
  • Be attentive to details
  • Be a people person
  • Show initiative
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Be able to juggle tasks and priorities
  • Be a team player!

Office administrators often work with to-do lists, adding or crossing out items as the day goes on. This system can be very satisfying, such as when crossing out all items from a list on a given day of work. Though an office administrator’s exact job description will change depending on the employer, his or her duties can include payroll tasks, adjusting the budget, producing reports, training staff members, or personnel decisions like conducting interviews or having to let someone go.

The office administrator’s position also allows them to interact in person with people at different levels of the company, from the lowly intern to the professional with medical office assistant training to important upper-level management. This means the office administrator will need to hear the suggestions and ideas of staff members on the office floor, yet understand and implement management’s priorities. Lastly, this type of position offers great possibilities for career advancement over time, as the office administrator will become familiar with many different roles in the company.

The office administrator, then and now

As the office workplace has evolved over time, so too has the role of the office administrator. At one time, even as recently as two or three decades ago, the duties related to administration and support went to secretaries, and though they possessed plenty of experience and a proven track record, they rarely advanced to a leadership position, instead being tasked with personal assistant duties like preparing coffee, scheduling meetings and bringing clothes to the dry cleaners.

Today’s office administrator, in comparison, is a dedicated professional whose expertise and skillset can allow him or her to stand out in the eyes of upper management. The role is now much more focused around improving office efficiency to generate higher revenues. The administrator is usually encouraged to be proactive and put in place new action plans that will ensure that the office runs smoothly at all times. In the end, office administrators are usually one of the most visible employees on the office floor. Their ideas, efforts and skills often determine the culture and tone of the entire company.


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