Mary Michaels – Medical Assistant

Age 35; Married, two children; Associate's degree, healthcare administration; Works full-time, Monday – Friday


Mary has seven years of experience as a medical assistant, the last two at a medical center and the previous five at a senior care facility. She starts her day early by first dropping her children off at school, and arrives at work by 8:30 am every day. When she gets to her office, she reviews the patient schedule to see who is coming in. Mary spends most of her day in the practice’s EHR system, reviewing patient records, documenting visits, cleaning/prepping equipment, and explaining care regimens to patients. She’s tech savvy, using technology at home and work, and has five years of experience using EHRs.

Mary wears many hats at her practice; she can be taking vitals for a patient one minute, and filling in for a front-desk staff member while they are on a break the next. She’s friendly, outgoing and good at multitasking. She is frequently interrupted and distracted by the needs of the medical team and tries to focus as best she can on providing accurate patient documentation for her providers.


“I like to have a personal relationship with our patients and treat them like family.”

“Sometimes patients feel rushed through the visit. I really try to remember small details about them and make them feel like we know them.”

“I have a big impact on the efficient flow in this organization. It’s rewarding, but when the tools I am using or other people slow me down, it can be stressful.”

“I feel like I’m not using the EHR as efficiently or as fully as possible, but I don’t have time to learn a different way to do it.”

Short-Term Goals

  • Make a patient feel better today.
  • Get all the patients out on time today.
  • Document the most accurate patient information so that providers can make proper diagnoses.
  • Help patients access the right information about their treatment plans.
  • Get additional EHR training to increase workflow efficiency.

Long-Term Goals

  • Go back to school to become a nurse.
  • Create an environment that makes our office run more smoothly and makes patients feel more comfortable.

Typical Problems Faced on the Job

  • I don’t feel that I am as efficient as I could be with this EHR.
  • Have to cater to each doctor’s work habits and documentation styles.
  • Possibilities for errors.
  • Interruptions and distractions.
  • Inexperienced staff/high turnover.
  • Wear too many hats.
  • Spend a lot of time with tasks that should be faster/easier.

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