Health care is an ever-evolving field … but the landscape has changed more than usual over the last couple of years. For instance, medical assistants (MA) are in greater demand, are being tasked with more responsibilities — and in many cases, are being rewarded for it.
The high demand for MAs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a job growth rate between 9 – 13 percent is “faster than average.” In 2020, the BLS predicted that the medical assistant profession would grow at a rate of 18% over the next 10 years.
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
How the MA’s role is changing
The MA’s role is transitioning from a solo assistant to the provider to a high-value, integral clinical team member. MA’s are now tasked with greater responsibilities and are often key members of care teams.
“The expectations are higher, and medical assistants are meeting these. As medicine moves to be more lean, medical assistants understand that their role is vital because they are not as expensive as LPN/RNs, but very vital to making ambulatory patient care work well,” said Elizabeth Thompson, medical practice administrator, Indiana University Health – Southern Indiana Physicians.
Why the shift?
Health care professionals are often encouraged to work at the top of their license, freeing up providers to complete tasks only they can do. In turn, a cascading “top-of-license” approach flows throughout the rest of the team – including medical assistants.
Examples of ways that medical assistants can work at the top of their credentials include:
- Stepping into the role of a flow manager
- Running team huddles
- Preplanning patient visits
- Completing various health screenings
Read how one CCMA’s role has evolved for the better here.
A time to shine
Recognition of medical assistants is at an all-time high and the role of medical assistants is expanding. Now is the time for MAs to shine as we continue to navigate this new era of health care.