What's the difference between a Medical Assistant and an Athletic Trainer? Athletic Trainers can do just about anything to help with your sports-related injuries.
Most times when you visit the doctor, a medical assistant (MA) takes you back to the exam room, takes vital signs, asks a few questions, and lets the doctor know you’re ready to be seen. In Intermountain Sports Medicine Specialty offices, however, you are cared for by an Athletic Trainer (ATC) instead of an MA.
For the type of care we provide, ATCs provide a significant advantage to you, the patient, and to the doctors. ATCs have expanded knowledge in sports injuries, prevention, rehab, and return-to-play decisions. They can skillfully apply casts, braces, tape, and other devices needed for your treatment. They can care for simple wounds, remove sutures, teach you how to use crutches, and assist during in-office procedures. They also do more of our “office” work such as assisting with insurance and financial aid questions, sending prescriptions to pharmacies, and answering phone calls, which saves patients the time of waiting for a doctor to call them back.
Most ATCs in our group and offices also cover sporting events of one type or another, including local high school soccer, football, and other sports team competitions; triathlons; running and cycling events; and even professional wakeboarding events! Some of our ATCs even have specialized training and a passion for running, and assist in our Running Lab assessments. Basically, ATCs can do just about everything (so they ROCK)!
And interestingly, a study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013 compared clinic efficiency, volumes, and level of care (based on patient satisfaction) and found that clinics employing ATCs performed much better in every category than clinics using MAs. We definitely have nothing against our MA friends, but we’re very grateful for the ATCs who put so much time and effort into their work and who make your visit that much better!
“Comparison of the Effect of Medical Assistants Versus Certified Athletic Trainers on Patient Volumes and Revenue Generation in a Sports Medicine Practice.” Clin J Sports Med. Jul 2013; 6:4 p. 337-8.