The Role, Contribution and Utilization of Physician Assistants in Primary Care


  • Sanjeef Thampinathan University of Toronto



Physician assistants, primary care, contribution, role, utilization



To understand the role, contribution, and utilization of physician assistants in the primary care setting. This systematic review aims to provide an accurate depiction of the growth and impact of the physician assistant profession in this field of medicine.


Using electronic databases MEDLINE and EMBASE, a review was undertaken using specified search terms of articles between the years of 2010 - 2019. In this review, the eligibility criteria were English language studies conducted in North America or the United Kingdom, PAs working in primary care with recognized PA qualifications and research findings relevant to PAs that are presented separately.


At least 1029 publications were identified, of which 15 articles met the inclusion criteria. Ten of these studies were based in the United States, while five were based in the United Kingdom. PAs in primary care were found to see less complicated patients, required supervision, and improved the patient caseload for physicians. The patients’ acceptance of PAs is on the rise as more knowledge about the skills and roles become prominent.


This review highlights the role of PAs in the primary care field, though more research is needed in areas such as patient outcomes to clearly understand the contribution and utilization of PAs in primary care.


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How to Cite

Thampinathan, S. (2020). The Role, Contribution and Utilization of Physician Assistants in Primary Care . The Journal of Canada’s Physician Assistants, 1(4), 9–16.