[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]

Success Story: Medical Assistants Are the Cornerstones of Successful Team-Based Care

Learn how an updated team-based care model at Stanford Coordinated Care (SCC) shifted more responsibility to medical assistants (MAs) to improve both physician and overall practice efficiency.

What Was the Problem?

As the health care industry continues to shift towards value-based reimbursement, team-based care has correspondingly increased in popularity. Team-based care allocates responsibilities among the care team to enhance patient care. Additionally, this model enriches value-based elements that are being incorporated into much of the patient care we see today. SCC had a team-based care model in place; however, additional action was needed to allow physicians to use their time more effectively.

Developing the Intervention

SCC utilizes medical assistant care coordinators to serve as cornerstones in their team-based care model. The medical assistant care coordinators are responsible for their own panel of patients for which they:

  • Refill medications

  • Perform routine health maintenance and chronic disease monitoring tests

  • Answer initial patient phone calls and emails

  • Scribe patient visits

  • Advise patients on action plans

  • Acquire authorizations

  • Facilitate referrals

All of these activities are completed by standing orders and protocols under the supervision of the physicians they work with.

By shifting the majority of these responsibilities to other team members, physicians are able to use their time more efficiently. For example, in many practices, physicians field their patients' phones calls and emails. This work often distracts physicians from direct, in-person patient care.

At SCC, MA care coordinators resolve many patient inquiries based on protocol or knowledge of the patient's case. Out-of-scope correspondence is then forwarded to their nurses, and finally, the physician handles the complex inquiries. This simple task incorporated into the clinic's team-based care workflow alleviates unnecessary work for physicians, allotting them more time for providing meaningful patient care.


While the clinic has been very successful in integrating its new model, one of the most notable accomplishments is their achievement of a Press Ganey® Likelihood to Recommend score in the 99th percentile for 19 of the last 20 months.

About the Organization

Stanford Coordinated Care (SCC) is a primary care practice that helps individuals with chronic or complex illnesses lead healthier lives and better navigate their health care experiences. The practice is in Palo Alto, CA.

Our websites may be periodically unavailable between 7:00pm CT December 9, 2023 and 1:00am CT December 10, 2023 for regularly scheduled maintenance.
AMA Steps Forward logo

AMA STEPS Forward® presents actionable, practical toolkits and customizable resources that you can use to successfully implement meaningful and transformative change in your practice or organization. See How it Works

Article Information

Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships.

Disclaimer: AMA STEPS Forward® content is provided for informational purposes only, is believed to be current and accurate at the time of posting, and is not intended as, and should not be construed to be, legal, financial, medical, or consulting advice. Physicians and other users should seek competent legal, financial, medical, and consulting advice. AMA STEPS Forward® content provides information on commercial products, processes, and services for informational purposes only. The AMA does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services and mention of the same in AMA STEPS Forward® content is not an endorsement or recommendation. The AMA hereby disclaims all express and implied warranties of any kind related to any third-party content or offering. The AMA expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on AMA STEPS Forward® content.


Name Your Search

Save Search

Lookup An Activity


My Saved Searches

You currently have no searches saved.


My Saved Courses

You currently have no courses saved.