How is the Role of the MA Changing and Growing?
An expanding population and ever-adapting technology change healthcare every day, therefore changing the landscape for the medical assistant (MA). They are in greater demand. They are being tasked with more responsibilities — and in many cases, are being rewarded for it. So why is the role of the MA changing now?
Job postings per MA completion more than doubled between 2011 and 2014. Projections show a continuance of the faster-than-average employment growth over the next decade (BLS).
At the same time, the number of MA completions is declining — further growing job opportunities for medical assistants.
Why the growth?
The driver behind MA job growth is an increased demand for access to care. Some factors that contribute to this demand include:
• Innovations and new treatments
• An aging population
• An increase in the numbers of patients with chronic diseases associated with obesity
• The Affordable Care Act
(The Trump administration affects the Affordable Care Act. However, access to care will most likely be a priority issue in any replacement legislation passed.)
The MA role is changing
The MA’s role is also transitioning from a solo assistant to the provider to that of a highly valued, integral clinical team member. As key members of care teams, MA’s responsibilities increase. Medical Assistants understand their vital role and meet expectations as they increase.
Examples of ways that medical assistants can work at the top of their credential include:
- stepping into the role of a flow manager,
- running team huddles,
- preplanning patient visits and completing various health screenings
Some organizations consider their most experienced medical assistants for the roles of a scribe, health coach, patient navigator, population health manager and patient care coordinator. As medical assistants’ skill set broadens, they must perform at a higher level in the areas of professionalism, informatics and clinical tasks.
Why the shift?
Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have adopted a team-based care (TBC) approach in response to new payment models. In these environments, teams made up of providers, nurse case managers, medical assistants and other allied health professionals work collaboratively to help patients meet health goals. Healthcare professionals are often encouraged to work at the top of their license, freeing up providers to do tasks only they can do. In turn, a cascading “top-of-license” approach flows throughout the rest of the team – including medical assistants. (NHA)
CBD College’s Medical Assisting Program1
Recognition of medical assistants is at an all-time high and the role of medical assistants is expanding. As we e nter this new era of healthcare, now is the time for medical assistants to shine and become certified!