How Manitoba Physicians see the Value of Physician Assistants


Collaborative Practice
Health Workforce

How to Cite

Jones, I. W. (2020). How Manitoba Physicians see the Value of Physician Assistants. Journal of Canada’s Physician Assistants, 1(5), 11-17. Retrieved from


This research investigates the value of physician assistants (PA), presenting the opinions of twenty supervising physicians on how PAs contribute to patient care, the health system, and the physician’s wellness.  In May 2019, 72 supervising physicians of Manitoba’s 116 clinical PAs were sent a twenty-question electronic survey asking their perspectives of PA’s Value. A Literature review used PubMed, and Google Scholar search engines for the terms Value, physician assistant, and combinations of phrases related to PA benefit, PA values, Physician Value, and Canadian physician concerns with PAs, to guide the question development. 

Twenty physicians responded from the list of the seventy-two physician supervisors contacted, representing a response rate of 27.7%.  Three of the physician respondents have employed a PA for less than a year, 85% or 16 MD for more than two years, with 36.84% of the total for longer than five years. Eighty-five percent (n=18/20) of the responding physicians rated the value of having a PA as very valuable or extremely valuable. At the same time, 95% (n=19) were likely or extremely likely to recommend hiring a PA to a friend or colleague. One physician did not find value in the PA they hired. The phrases used by physicians in describing the Value PAs brought to Manitoba Healthcare included Honesty and Respect (78.95%), Improved Access (73%), Excellence In Care (63.1%), A Better Workplace (78.95%), Better Patient Safety (73.68%), Better Teamwork (84.21%), Accountability (73.68%),  Efficiency (73.68%), Decreased Stress 42.11%, and Better Communication with Patients (57.89%)

Ultimately, the determination of PA’s Value is through the lenses of those looking and asking what is needed.  Manitoba physicians represented in this survey indicate extreme satisfaction with the quality and Value PAs contribute to their practice environment and personal lives.



1) Snyder L, Neubauer RL, for the American College of Physicians Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee. Pay-for-Performance Principles That Promote Patient-Centered Care: An Ethics Manifesto. Ann Intern, Med. 2007;147:792–794. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-147-11-200712040-00011
2) Ross E.G. Upshur, C. Shawn T. Is evidence-based medicine overrated in family medicine? Canadian Family Physician Nov 2013, 59 (11) 1160-1161
3) Conference Board of Canada; Value of Physician assistants: Recommendations for Action. Ottawa: The, 2017. wellness /2016/11/18/The_Value_of_Physician_Assistants_in_the_Canadian_Health_Care_System.
4) Chappelow, J. Economic Efficiency Jun 21, 2019
5) Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System Report to Congress “Medicare’s ‘Incident to’ Billing Hinders the Recognition and Assessment of PA Value.” June 2019
6) MANITOBA PHYSICIAN’S MANUAL. The Minister of Health APRIL 1, 2019: Minister of Health, Wellness and Active Seniors. Government of Manitoba
7) Forbes, L., Himebaugh R. Building a Practice that People Want to be Part Of. Office Blog Society of Hospital Medicine April 18, 2017. Accessed May 2019.
8) Grzybicki DM1, Sullivan PJ, Oppy JM, Bethke AM, Raab SS. The economic benefit for family/general medicine practices employing physician assistants Am J Manag Care. 2002 Jul;8(7):613-20.
9) American Medical Association. Physician-led team-based care KED:15-0403:PDF:7/15:ST May 2019
10) Lee, F. Joseph et al. “Stress, burnout, and strategies for reducing them: What's the situation among Canadian family physicians?.” Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien vol. 54,2 (2008): 234-5.
11) Lemaire, J, et al. “Understanding How Patients Perceive Physician Wellness and Its Links to Patient Care: A Qualitative Study.” PLoS One, vol. 13, no. 5, Public Library of Science, May 2018, p. e0196888.
12) Bakker, Schaufeli, Sixma, Bosveld, & Dierendonck. Patient demands, lack of reciprocity, and burnout: A Five-year longitudinal study among general practitioners. Journal of Organizational Behavior J. Organiz. Behav.21, 425±441 (2000)
13) Van Dierendonck, D. Schaufeli, WB. Buunk BP; Burnout and inequity among human service professionals: a longitudinal study. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2001, Vol 6:No 1, p 43-52
14) Bowen, Sarah et al. “Potential of physician assistants to support primary care: Evaluating their introduction at six primary care and family medicine sites” [Contribution potentielle des assistants médicaux aux soins de première ligne]. Canadian Family Physician vol. 62,5 (2016): e268–e277.
15) Katz, J. Conflict and its resolution in the operating room. Journal of Clinical Anesthesia Volume 19, Issue 2, March 2007, Pages 152-15
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.