The Evolving Role of Medical Assistants in Primary Care Practice: Divergent and Concordant Perspectives from MAs and Family Physicians

Authors: Erin Fraher, PhD, MPP | Allison Cummings | Dana Neutze

Topics: Education and Training, Primary Care, Staffing

Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

November 23, 2020

Medical assistants (MAs) are a flexible and low-cost resource for primary care practices and their roles are swiftly transforming. This article surveyed MAs and family physicians for evidence of role confusion between MAs and physicians, physician resistance to delegate tasks to properly trained MAs, or MA reluctance to pursue training to take on new roles. Although no strong evidence was found for role confusion, 3 areas emerged where the gap between the potential and actual implementation of MA roles could be narrowed—population health and panel management; patient education, coaching, and counseling; and scribing.

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