Portland Community College Updates Medical Assistant Training to Include Medical Home Concepts

November 17, 2014   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Team Based Care , Medical Assistants , Portland
Virginia Chambers, PCC

The Portland Community College (PCC) Medical Assisting certificate program has been hard at work making sure Medical Assistants (MAs) are trained to understand the core concepts of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) model of care. Portland Community College awarded the Medical Assisting Program a Curriculum Development Grant in 2013 to update and imbed Patient-Centered Medical Home concepts into the core curriculum.

Students will understand the importance of a personal clinician to the health of individual patients and the population as a whole; recognize the importance of patient-centeredness in successful health care outcomes; recognize the importance of continuous quality improvement using evidence-based results to develop best practices for patient care by way of measuring data using proper metrics; understand the importance of information systems to the functionality of the patient-centered medical home; and demonstrate appropriate leadership skills.

This year, all Medical Assistants entering the PCC program are required to complete the Institute Online Learning Modules. The modules are an essential educational resource for Oregon’s model of primary care home redesign; they may be completed in any order and at the user’s own pace, and each includes links to additional information and resources.

The first module is an introduction to the foundational concepts of the primary care home. Six additional modules describe the 10 must-pass standards and the 23 other standards clinics can meet to earn points toward becoming officially recognized as a PCPCH. Students complete the modules and print a certificate as documentation that they’ve completed them, which they then submit to PCC for credit.

Beyond teaching at PCC, I serve as the President Elect and Continuing Education Team Lead for the River Cities Chapter of Medical Assistants (local chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants or AAMA).  In February of 2015, the RCCMA will be hosting an educators meeting to discuss faculty training and support for all RCCMA schools. One of the agenda topics includes addressing the training needs to meet the PCMH standards and how we can implement the PCMH training for all Medical Assistants, regardless of the school they attend.


What other workforce development and training changes have taken place to reflect patient-centered models of care?  Leave your thoughts in a comment below.


Virginia Chambers is the Medical Assisting Department Co-Chair and Clinical Coordinator at Portland Community College. She also serves as the Continuing Education Team Lead for the local chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants.