THE UTILIZATION OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS IN MANITOBA OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS
Introduction: A Physician Assistant is a medical professional working to help extend physician care for patients, and one of the solutions to optimize healthcare and improving access to quality care across the country. PAs improve wait times, patient satisfaction, quality of life of the physician and allows the physician to focus on complicated cases without sacrificing the care of other patients. The civilian PA has been present since 2003 in Manitoba.Â
Objective: A mixed methodology qualitative research project with a questionnaire of opened ended questions and commentary was conducted to evaluate the utilization of PAs over the last fifteen years.
Methods: A literature review using the University of Manitoba catalogue and PubMed going back the last ten years sought articles related to the history of PAs and their utilization in Canada. Of the 217 articles reviewed eight papers met the criteria, two were specific to
Manitoba alone.Â Questionnaires were sent to physicians and PAs present at the inauguration of the PA profession and in the workforce spanning the last fifteen years.
Results: The questionnaire was sent to forty-six individuals, including seven physicians and thirty-nine PAs. Twenty-four completed the survey resulting in a 52% response rate. Four themes emerged from the data: PA improvement of the medical team, the varying utilization of the PA within multiple disciplines, the lack of proper utilization of the PA within Manitoba, and the discussion on where the PA will create the greatest impact in the coming years.
Conclusions: Over the past fifteen years PAs have been introduced to multiple disciplines in Manitoba. PAs, trained as generalists, help improve access to care, patient satisfaction, and the quality of life of both the patients and the physicians. However, their utilization is not to their fullest potential in Manitoba.
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