In the practice that I am working at, each provider has their own dedicated MA. They get the patients checked into the room, do and document their vital signs, enter the chief complaint into the computer, and pull lab/diagnostic testing results. They also do lab draws when needed, vaccinations, ear lavages, etc.
We have another staff member who is our referrals expert; she finds out what specialists are on a patient's insurance panel and sets up referrals. She also gets prior authorizations for and coordinates diagnostic imaging.
Yet another staff member handles insurance prior authorization on medications and routine refill requests from the pharmacies.
Our clinical coordinator answers patient calls and helps with whatever people need help with. The front office staff gets patients checked into the office and then checked out and makes their next appointments.
So, on the whole there is one person with whom I work directly who gets to know how I like to have things done and then have 3+ people with whom I work indirectly. This keeps everything running smoothly most of the time.
My previous practice was an entirely different situation. I worked in the office 2-3 days a week and rounded at nursing homes the remainder of the week. Part of the days I was in the office, it was me and the physician for whom I worked directly. We had a receptionist who took care of checking patients in and out and making subsequent appointments. We had 2 office nurses (both were LPNs who were hard-working and thoroughly capable.) They had to room the patients, get their vital signs, identify their chief complaint, and then check them out including any necessary vaccinations, ear lavages, etc. In addition to that, they ALSO had to answer patient phone calls, do prior authorizations on medications, set up referrals, handle refills, and a myriad of other tasks. Needless to say they stayed behind the curve the vast majority of the time. It could be slow getting patients checked in and out, and turning around all the appropriate paperwork and such was a challenge. We did not have a true EHR and did not have electronic prescribing capability. We were a hospital owned & operated facility so used their computer system to document in. It was ill designed for doing office notes and did not have electronic prescribing capability. The MD with whom I worked had to take a leave due to a personal emergency and the hospital did not find a replacement MD and closed it.
Having a well-oiled infrastructure has made a huge difference in the way things flow and how easily things get accomplished. To be honest it is hard to judge whether it is because I DO have my own dedicated MA or is because the rest of the structure is so well coordinated.