Volume 52 | Number S1 | February 2017

Abstract List

Susan A. Chapman Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., F.A.A.N., Lisel K. Blash M.S., M.P.H.


To identify and describe new roles for medical assistants (s) in innovative care models that improve care while providing training and career advancement opportunities for s.

Data Sources/Study Setting

Primary data collected at 15 case study sites; 173 key informant interviews and de‐identified secondary data on staffing, wages, patient satisfaction, and health outcomes.

Study Design

Researchers used snowball sampling and screening calls to identify 15 organizations using s in new roles. Conducted site visits from 2010 to 2012 and updated information in 2014.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

Thematic analysis explored key topics: factors driving role innovation, role description, training required, and wage gains. Categorized outcome data in patient and staff satisfaction, quality of care, and efficiency.

Principal Findings

New roles included health coach, medical scribe, dual role translator, health navigator, panel manager, cross‐trained flexible role, and supervisor. Implementation of new roles required extensive training. incentives and enhanced compensation varied by role type.


New roles are part of a larger attempt to reform workflow and relieve primary care providers. Despite some evidence of success, spread has been limited. Key challenges to adoption included leadership and provider resistance to change, cost of additional training, and lack of reimbursement for nonbillable services.