Medical assistants are responsible for assisting healthcare providers with various tasks, including preparing patients for exams, taking vital signs, and administering medications. To perform their duties effectively, medical assistants need to have access to a range of equipment and instruments.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of medical assistant equipment, their uses, and how they work.
Medical Assistant Equipment List
No matter which type of medical assistant you’re training to be, you are required to have a good understanding of the tools and equipment used to deliver high-quality care to patients.
Here, we provide a comprehensive list of the various types of equipment medical assistants will use in their practice:
A. Diagnostic Equipment
Diagnostic equipment plays an essential role in medical assisting, enabling medical assistants to accurately record vital signs, diagnose medical conditions and provide appropriate treatments. Here are some of the most commonly used diagnostic equipment:
- Blood pressure monitors: Also known as a blood pressure meter or sphygmomanometer, these tools are used to measure a patient’s blood pressure.
- Stethoscopes: The stethoscope is a widely recognized tool of a medical professional’s trade. It aids in listening to the heart and lungs, as well as sounds from the intestines and blood flow in various parts of the body.
- Otoscopes: Often part of performing the initial assessment of a patient’s condition, an otoscope is used to examine the ear canal and inner ear.
- Ophthalmoscopes: A handheld device used to examine the interior structures of the eye to detect any abnormalities.
- Thermometers: Another important diagnostic tool, a thermometer measures human body temperature.
- EKG machines: Short for electrocardiogram, an EKG is equipped with electrodes applied to parts of the patient’s body to detect and report the heart’s electrical activity.
B. Treatment Equipment
Treatment equipment is any type of medical tool or device designed to treat specific medical conditions. Common treatment tools used by medical assistants include:
- Syringes and needles: These treatment tools are typically used to draw blood and administer medication.
- Wound care supplies: This is necessary equipment used for wound care such as bandages and dressings, alcohol pads, medical tape, sterile gloves, and gauze sponges.
- IV equipment: Intravenous equipment helps to administer fluids, medications, blood, or nutrients directly into the bloodstream through the patient’s vein.
- Oxygen equipment: Such as an oxygen administration system, takes in air and purifies it for use by patients.
- Nebulizers: These are machines that turn liquid medicine into a mist to be delivered directly to the lungs and respiratory system.
C. Administrative Equipment
The typical responsibilities of administrative medical assistants involve handling various office tasks, such as organizing health records. To ensure the patient care process runs smoothly, these medical assistants often rely on the following equipment:
- Computers: Used to maintain important documents such as health records and vital patient data, as well as scheduling calendars, billing and coding, and resourcing data.
- Printers: Printers are used for multiple reasons, such as printing patient records, documents that are filed in a patient’s chart, and those sent to a physician’s office.
- Scanners: Another essential tool to help medical assistants maintain accurate and accessible patient records, converting physical documents into electronic format.
- Fax machines: Transmit essential documents, such as medical records and referrals, quickly and efficiently to other healthcare facilities and providers.
- Phones: Streamline tasks such as scheduling appointments, relaying messages, and communicating with patients, healthcare providers, and other medical professionals.
D. Other Equipment
Besides clinical and administrative equipment, medical assistants will also make use of other essential equipment when assisting healthcare professionals. These include:
- Scales: Medical scales come in various forms and are primarily used for measuring a patient’s weight.
- Height and weight measurement equipment: Examples include a stadiometer and scale. This type of medical equipment serves as an essential tool for monitoring patient health and tracking progress.
- Specimen collection containers: Used to collect and transport human clinical specimens, such as blood or urine, for diagnostic testing.
Medical Assistant Instruments
Medical assistants sometimes serve as a helping hand to medical experts during patient exams and some in-office procedures. This means it’s important for MAs to be proficient in certain surgical instruments.
- Forceps: Can be used to punch or extract, forceps are typically used in the emergency or examination room to render first aid.
- Scissors: Surgical scissors serve various purposes in the medical field, such as cutting through dressings, bandages, and other medical materials.
- Hemostats: This medical tool is designed to clamp blood vessels and prevent bleeding during surgical procedures.
- Scalpels: Used to make precise incisions, a scalpel is an essential tool for a medical assistant aiding in surgery and other invasive procedures.
- Clamps: Designed to securely hold materials together or apart during medical procedures, clamps are commonly used for holding tissue, blood vessels, or gauze.
- Surgical needles: An important medical assisting instrument used to suture and close incisions and wounds.
What are the most common types of medical assistant equipment?
Medical assistants commonly use stethoscopes, otoscopes, blood pressure meters, EKG machines, and oxygen and IV equipment. Some medical assistants may have a specialization. For example, it is common for an OB-GYN medical assistant to use ultrasound machines.
How do medical assistants use diagnostic equipment?
Medical assistants use diagnostic equipment to assist other medical staff in diagnosing and treating patients. Diagnostic equipment includes a variety of tools and supplies, such as using a stethoscope to listen to heart and lung sounds and a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure.
How do medical assistants ensure patient safety when using equipment?
Medical assistants take several precautions to ensure optimal patient care, safety, and comfort while performing their duties. Enforcing strict disinfection protocols, verifying all medical examinations, and observing care in handling medical tools and equipment are some of the ways MAs ensure patient safety.
Medical assistants play a vital role in the medical field, attending to patients and providing optimal care. As such, it’s crucial they have a strong command of medical assisting tools and equipment.
With the right training and experience, MAs can become proficient in using these instruments and are better prepared to enter the field.