The Visit: Maximizing the Role of the Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants (MOAs), including licensed professional nurses, medical assistants, and clerical staff, are a readily available yet often underutilized resource for diabetes care and support. With minimal training, MOAs can complete a variety of tasks associated with diabetes care that are not required to be performed by physicians or mid-level providers. These tasks may include proactively identifying patients with diabetes who would benefit from an office visit, reviewing medical adherence according to clinical guidelines, and ordering labs and prescription refills based on protocols. Other tasks may include preparing patients for physical exams, such as requesting that they remove their footwear to facilitate the foot exam. In fact, some practices may direct their MOAs to perform foot exams or other exams and document them. There are many potential benefits to empowering MOAs to take on new responsibilities, not the least of which is that it frees up the primary care provider to focus on more advanced patient needs. Overall, maximizing the role of MOAs in diabetes management can help ensure high-quality diabetes care that is patient-centered, is cost-effective, and results in improved provider and patient satisfaction. As you initiate the process of redefining the role of MOAs, be sure to check with your state license board, as tasks permitted may vary by state.