NYACH 2nd Annual Workforce Conference Highlights New Roles for Medical Assistants

Initiative Updates

With healthcare reforms underway in New York State and across the country, the healthcare industry is under pressure to meet the ambitious “triple aim” of higher quality patient care, better population health, and lower costs. On Monday, September 8th, more than one hundred representatives from healthcare provider organizations, education and training institutions, community based organizations, and funders participated in the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare’s (NYACH) second annual workforce conference, The Innovative Primary Care Team, co-sponsored by The Hitachi Foundation. The conference focused on ways that enhancing frontline worker roles can help providers meet the triple aim while simultaneously creating career ladder opportunities for their staff. Dr. Sunita Mutha, Director of the Center for Health Professions emphasized in her keynote address, “The transformation that we need to make in healthcare can’t happen without engaging the frontline workforce in new ways.” The conference looked at how Iora Health and Union Health Center have created positions that combine traditional Medical Assistant responsibilities with health coaching and other techniques for patient engagement and chronic disease management, resulting in new advancement opportunities, an improvement in patient quality measures, and a reduction in costs. To ensure the current and future healthcare workforce is prepared with the new skills needed to practice in this environment, educational institutions such as College for America are exploring new approaches to education that include core competency based training and online education. Afternoon workshops led by the Center for Excellence in Primary Care and the Primary Care Development Corporation, focused on curricula and best practices for teaching the communications and teamwork skills needed to help patients adhere to care plans, coordinate care among teams of professionals, and reshape healthcare delivery in New York.