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.
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