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Medical Assistants

History

People have studied the workings of the human body and its ailments since the earliest civilizations, but the field of health care has made its most rapid progress during this century. New surgical techniques, drugs, treatments, and disease-prevention methods have helped save millions of lives. In addition, the population in the United States has grown rapidly, and hospitals, clinics, and health care centers have become more plentiful and crowded.

At one time, a physician would be able to run a small private practice with perhaps one nurse as an assistant. However, in the face of the rapid expansion of available services and patients who need them, physicians began to need more help. By 1950, medical assistants were a recognized, registered occupational group. The amount of supplies, the number of patient records, and the new and complex forms of insurance and payments that health care providers must deal with make medical assistants essential in any busy medical office.

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