The Crucial Role of Allied Health Professionals in the U.S. Healthcare System

Posted By Staff Writer on November 2, 2012

Allied health professionals cover a broad spectrum of medical positions that are intended to assist doctors and nurses in providing the best care for patients. These professionals generally make sure that patients receive adequate attention and access to treatment options.

What Positions Do Allied Health Professionals Hold?

Many allied health professionals work as technicians in hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories. They may complete tests such as ultrasounds or X-rays on patients in order to help doctors pinpoint the source of certain symptoms. Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and helping patients understand how to safely take medications. Lab technicians are sent samples of specimens from a medical office and analyze the sample to identify the presence or indication of a disease or disorder.

Individuals working in a medical office as insurance specialists or billing professionals make sure that patients are billed correctly and that all insurance claims are appropriately filed. These professionals also assist in working out payment plans for patients who are not able to pay their medical bills in full at one time.

Another common position for allied health professionals is a paramedic. Paramedics must be able to administer emergency first aid, drive an ambulance and make decisions about patient health when timing of medical intervention is crucial.

How Can I Train for a Career as an Allied Health Professional?

Independence University offers a program that allows an individual to earn an associate of occupational studies in medical specialties over the course of 22 months. All coursework is completed online, so there is no need for busy professionals to adjust their schedules to fit classes in.

Coursework in the medical assistant degree program focuses on preparing students to work in a clinical setting. Students will learn how to interact with patients, recognize medical terminology, assist patients with billing and insurance issues and understand how medications work and interact with other medications.

The medical specialties degree requires a student to complete 27 courses totaling 90 credit hours in order for a degree to be awarded.

To apply to the medical assistant degree program that is offered by Independence University, potential students must provide an application and submit to a drug test and background check. Clinical studies that are part of the degree program require laboratory testing to ensure that students are not suffering from certain infectious diseases that could be transmitted in a clinical setting.

All positions related to allied health are essential to the U.S. healthcare system. Doctors and nurses provide valuable services to patients that can help save and improve lives, but much of these treatments would not be possible without the help of allied health professionals.

Author Bio Megan Wickes is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program. She currently works for Independence University, managing its online presence. In addition to her love of marketing, Megan enjoys wakeboarding, boating, and spending time with her husband and new baby boy.