Building MA skills in population management, health coaching, collaboration, and communication
Team-based care is a foundational component of the patient-centered medical home model — and instrumental to improving care, costs, and patient experience. Medical assistants (MAs) in different health systems have begun to take on expanded roles in health coaching, planned care, and population management for chronic illness. However, traditional educational programs may not equip them for this new way of working.
Our team partnered with nursing leaders at Kaiser Permanente Washington to develop an on-the-job, predominantly virtual training program aimed at enhancing care teams by redefining the role of the MA and fostering team-based functioning. Eleven MAs in 9 primary care clinics completed the 12-week program.
What we learned
Through surveys and in-depth interviews, we learned that MAs, clinicians, and managers agreed that MAs improved knowledge, skills, and confidence in planned care and population management, self-management support and health coaching, and interdisciplinary communication and collaboration. MAs reported a positive training experience, they shared their knowledge with other MAs in their clinic, and experienced increased job satisfaction.
Nursing leaders at Kaiser Permanente Washington have incorporated elements of this program into the standard MA onboarding process. This training program shows the promise of a virtual approach to training that identifies, trains, and recognizes high-potential MAs.
Gray MF, Coleman K, Walsh-Bailey C, Girard S, Lozano P. An Expanded Role for the Medical Assistant in Primary Care: Evaluating a Training Pilot. Perm J 2021;25:20.091. doi: 10.7812/TPP/20.091. Full text
Kaiser Permanente Washington
Nursing Professional Practice & Development