Medical assistants (MAs) are the core of urgent care’s clinical support workforce (as noted in Cost Effective Staffing with Medical Assistants in the January, 2017 edition of JUCM; see https://www.jucm.com/cost-effective-staffing-medical-assistants/). However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for MAs is expected to outstrip supply over the next decade, just as the aging baby-boom population will increase demand for physician services—especially in the primary care setting, where the bulk of MAs work. For urgent care operators, a 23% increase in demand for MAs (compared with 7% for all other occupations) will lead to greater turnover and longer lead times for recruiting; it will also enable medical assistants to command higher salaries and benefits, adding to an urgent care center’s staffing expense. That, in turn, is expected to spur urgent care operators to try technology solutions to reduce the amount of staff time spent on administrative tasks.
Demand for Medical Assistants Will Outstrip Supply by 2024