As the title implies, the Diagnostic Medical Sonographers or ultrasound technologists assume diagnostic responsibilities as related to assessing sonographic images. Sonographers are highly skilled professionals who specialize in specialized ultrasound equipment and interpreting the images produced. They must use professional judgment when determining the images needed and while interpreting results. The Medical Assistant does limited clinical duties, as directed by physicians and healthcare professionals, and a variety of administrative duties. It is a more generalized profession than ultrasound technology.
Typical Duties of the Sonographer
A Diagnostic Medical Sonographer uses medical equipment that produces high frequency waves to create images of the body’s organs, tissues and systems. Using a transducer that sends regular high frequency waves into the body, the ultrasound technologist moves around the skin over the internal structures to be assessed. The sound waves bounce off tissues, organs and systems, and the computerized medical equipment constructs image of internal structures Medical Condition.
The images are produced, the sonographer does work activities during a normal shift:
Create, review and update patient’s medical history
Verify ultrasound equipment is working properly, performing routine tests and maintenance activities
Input into imaging software systems and process relevant information
Assist patients with getting on and off the table and position the patient’s body needed to obtain the ideal images
Determine the type and number of images needed for ideal diagnostic results
Assess images, looking for signs of physical disorders or diseases, and technical documents findings for transmission to physicians
Maintain a variety of medical records and required forms, both medical and legal
Work with a variety of healthcare professionals, including physicians, radiologists, registered nurses, patient aides and numerous other people
Regularly interact with department personnel
Typical Duties of the Medical Assistant
A Medical Assistant performs a wide range of duties under a physician’s direction. Billing and clinical work like drawing blood. The range of the medical office works where the Medical Assistant works. The typical daily tasks include the following:
Review the medical history with the patient and ask the patient for description of the main reason for medical office visit
Record, update and maintain patient information, including the medical history and medical test results
Escort patients to medical examination rooms, take vital signs and instructors, patient on preparing for the physician’s exam
Maintain patient examination and treatment and treatment room instruments, ensuring everything is kept clean and orderly
Required physicians, including giving shots
Special laboratory specimens are directed by physicians, including blood, urine and tissue and ensure that are properly stored and documented
Assist physician in examination room
Operate like medical diagnostic equipment such as electrocardiogram machine or x-ray equipment
Call pharmacies convey prescription drug orders or authorize refills
Deliver instructions to patients, plan diets, explain medical treatments and necessary advance preparations, and review medications and possible side effects
Perform medical office duties like answering the phone, scheduling appointments, completing patient check-in procedures, completing insurance forms and other general duties
Track and manage inventory medical supplies
The Diagnostic Medical Sonographers earn twice as much as Medical Assistants. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2012 occupational wages survey. Sonographers earned an average annual wage of $ 66,360 or $ 31.90 per hour.
During the same time period, Medical Assets earned an average annual wage of $ 30,550 or $ 14.69 per hour. The average annual wage scale for ultrasound technologists was $ 44,990 to $ 91,070. For Medical Assistants it was $ 21,080 to $ 41,570.
Comparing Training Requirements
Two of the reasons for the differential salary include the diagnostic skills level because they are diagnostic work, and they must use judgment regarding the number and type of images produced. Most students now need a complete sonography program at the school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and earn ARDMS registration.