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Researchers propose model to understand the clinician-medical assistant relationship

Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing professions in America, and MAs are vital to new primary care practice models, yet their relationships to the with whom they work is understudied.

This qualitative study on the working between clinicians and MAs in five small offices finds that MAs’ roles in small practices are determined by their career motivation and relationship with the clinician(s) with whom they work.

Based on these findings, the authors propose a new model for this relationship, which they call trust and verify, characterized by different configurations of physician trust and verification of the MA’s clinical activities.

Their findings, they assert, may assist small offices undergoing practice transformation and guide future research to improve education, training and use of MAs in the family medicine setting.

Patterns of Relating Between Physicians and Medical Assistants in Small Family Medicine Offices

By Nancy C. Elder, MD, MSPH, et al University of Cincinnati, Ohio


Annals of Family Medicine: March/April 2014

American Academy of Family Physicians