Physician assistants can be effective in primary care

Added May 12, 2020

Citation: Halter M, Drennan V, Chattopadhyay K, et al. The contribution of physician assistants in primary care: a systematic review. BMC Health Services Research 2013; 13: 223

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems and healthcare workers. Existing research on the effects of extended roles for physician assistants in primary care may provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research evaluating the effects of certified physician assistants on general practice and family medicine care. They restricted their searches to studies published in English and did the search in September 2010. They included 49 studies, which were from Australia (1 study), the Netherlands (1), UK (1) and USA (46); and judged the evidence to be of weak to moderate quality.

What was found: Physician assistants are acceptable to patients in primary care and are able to provide satisfactory care.

The introduction of physician assistants in primary care may increase productivity; but with a different patient caseload to clinicians (including having a higher proportion of younger patients, acute presentations, minor illnesses and preventive consultations).

The retention of physician assistants in primary care is good, under suitable working locations and circumstances.

The cost-effectiveness of using physician assistants in primary care is uncertain.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

Share