The Care Team Redesign Initiative

As the nation seeks to improve access to primary care services, medical assistants (MAs) will be a critical component of that growth.  Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country with large numbers of annual job openings. Historically, MA training has been of uneven quality and length; turnover was sometimes high; and career development was limited. In our previous research, low pay and lack of career development and growth were cited as major reasons for leaving the profession.

  • In 2010-2011, Healthforce researchers conducted 14 site visits to primary care organizations to document how they were able to overcome challenges to redesign their practices in ways that enhance quality, improve efficiency, and develop and reward MAs.  In these new models of care, MAs were incorporated into multi-disciplinary teams in expanded roles including health coach, scribe, and dual role translator.
  • From 2012-2014, Healthforce researchers conducted more than 10 workshops and webinars across the US to disseminate the findings of the case studies research. 
  • In 2013, we organized and accompanied groups on site tours of some of these promising practices.
  • In 2014, we worked with the Hitachi Foundation to develop a series of three short videos on case study sites.
  • In 2015-2016, the Healthforce team partnered with UCSF’s Center for Excellence in Primary Care to provide technical assistance to a group of four primary care organizations funded by the Hitachi Foundation to redesign their care teams to test the new models identified in our original research.  

Positioning Medical Assistants for a Greater Role in the Era of Health Reform (2015)

Asian Health Services: Medical Assistants Improve Language Access and Patient-Centered Care (2015)

Medical Assistants in California: Legal Scope of Practice (2013)

Southcentral Foundation—Nuka Model of Care Provides Career Growth for Frontline Staff (2011)

Franklin Square Hospital Center—Medication Safety Initiative Empowers Medical Assistants (2011)

Workforce Collaborative Trains Medical Assistants to Enhance Care at Community Health Centers (2011)

DFD Russell Medical Centers--Engaging Medical Assistants in Quality Improvement Efforts (2011)

WellMed’s Medical Assistant Training Program Prepares Students for Health Care Career Ladder (2011)

Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group - Clinical Career Ladder for Medical Assistants (2011)

PeaceHealth’s Team Fillingame Uses Patient Activation Measure to Customize the Medical Home (2011)

University of Utah Community Clinics - Medical Assistant Teams Enhance Patient-Centered, Physician-Efficient Care (2011)

UC Davis Family Practice Center—Medical Assistants Anchor Residency-based Medical Home (2011)

The Special Care Center—A Joint Venture to Address Chronic Disease (2010)

Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center Information Technology Propels Expansion of Medical Assistant Role (2010)

High Plains Community Health Center—Redesign Expands Medical Assistant Roles (2010)

Cabin Creek Health Systems-Medical Assistants Provide a Senior Medical Home (2010)

Union Health Center—Pioneering the Ambulatory Intensive Caring Unit (2010)

For more information, please contact Lisel Blash.