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Personal Data Sheets: The Basics

Personal data sheets and having them filled out are an important part of the medical assistant job description.

This sheet is something that needs to be filled out by any patient by any patient when they see a physician in the office, no matter the reason. There is a rather amusing scene in the movie “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, where Jim Carrey’s character comes in to speak to a physician about a procedure performed on his (ex-)girlfriend. He isn’t allowed to do so until he fills in the sheet. This is how ubiquitous these sheets are.

The purpose of this sheet is actually manifold. In fact, it is not simply there to collect basic information on the patient for the sake of filing. True, that is a part of the purpose, but there are a number of parts that serve other purposes. One purpose is to ensure that you have the ability to contact next of kin, should there be some sort of emergency and you require their presence. The other is to ensure that you are ultimately paid for the procedure, or that the clinic or hospital is able to receive some sort of appropriate compensation for their time.

A person data sheet includes the following details:

Name: Make sure that the name is properly spelled, or it can lead to problems down the line. Also make sure it is the person’s actual name (lots of people use their middle name and forget).

Address: This is important for finding the person in case of missed payment, but also for tracking down other family members in the case of emergency.

SSN: It is important to ask for the social security number of patients. Because of the existence of various levels of public health care coverage, you need to know just how much the patient is covered. In fact, you might know better than the patient.

Guardians: For minors, it is very important to know who can make legal decisions on behalf of the children. In fact, without this information, children cannot consent to anything.

The personal data sheet, then, is an important component of any medical assistant job description.

Lindsay Schloss

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