Hank Spring 2014

In Practical Terms

alt="The role of the medical assistant is changing."

Medical assistants (MAs) are among the many types of caregivers who may be directly affected by the changes coming to health care.

A look at how one job—that of medical assistant—may be changing across the industry

Medical assistants (MAs) are among the many types of caregivers who may be directly affected by the changes coming to health care, as these lists—developed by the Center for Health Professions at the University of California, San Francisco—demonstrate.

Kaiser Permanente’s 10,000 medical assistants are key members of their care teams. They’re often the first staff member to touch or treat a patient. Research like that at UCSF gives workforce planners tools to help identify the new job skills and training that will be needed as health care evolves.

The table below, summarizing the possible changes to the MA’s job, provides examples of how Kaiser Permanente and its workforce can prepare for the future.  

Current Essential Job Skills

(partial list)

Future Job Skills/Innovations

(partial list)

  • Interviews patient, measures vital signs, maintains medical record
  • Performs routine screening, diagnostic or lab tests, blood withdrawal
  • Manages administrative/clinical/office operations
  • Facilitates the patient’s ability to utilize resources
  • Cleans, processes, sterilizes and checks instruments
  • Maintains standard precautions
  • Provides routine verbal and written instructions to patients as specifically directed (e.g., crutches, cast care, wound care)
  • Prepares exam room and patient for exam and clinical procedures
  • Keeps patients and staff informed of clinician’s status or time delays
Source: KP Job Description
  • Collects vital signs using tele-health devices
  • Assists in geriatric home visits
  • Teaches patients and caregivers about self-care and well-being maintenance
  • Captures comprehensive patient information (health, lifestyle and social) during patient onboarding
  • Uses and maintains office equipment and tele-health devices
  • Assists in managing chronic care patient panel
  • Takes a “health coach” role in making previsit contact, supporting patient during clinical encounter, providing reinforcement post-encounter, checking in between visits

Source: UCSF Center for Health Professions

Gear/Performance - ColorWhat Will the Future Bring?

The landscape of health care is changing.

Kaiser Permanente and Labor Management Partnership are working together to meet the needs of the industry and our patients.

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