Gray CP, Harrison MI, Hung D., J Healthc Manag. 61(3):181-91., 2016 May 01
AbstractAs healthcare organizations look for ways to reduce costs and improve quality, many rely increasingly on allied healthcare professionals and, in particular, medical assistants (MAs) to supplement the work of physicians and other health professionals. MAs usually work in primary care, where they often play important roles on healthcare teams.
Drawing on an empirical study of a large, multispecialty delivery system engaged in reconfiguration of primary care, we found that using MAs as flow managers required overcoming several challenges. These included entrenched social and occupational hierarchies between physicians and MAs, a lack of adequate training and mentorship, and difficulty attracting and retaining talented MAs.
We offer several recommendations for healthcare organizations interested in using MAs as flow managers in their practices.