November 28, 2016 – PA


Anchor lead: What happens when physician assistants provide more care for patients in the hospital? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Physician assistants who have been specially trained can safely provide much of the care to hospitalized patients, a study by Henry Michtalik and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has shown. The study compared care provided by two groups: one with a customary physician assistant to physician ratio, and the other with an expanded number of PAs, as they are known.

Michtalik: In the expanded group there was a clear communication protocol and we looked at differences in terms of outcomes like readmissions, length of stay, consultant use and cost of care and we found that there was no difference between the two models. What that suggested to us is that the expanded role of physician assistants with a clear communication protocol was a viable option for helping hospitals deal with the staffing challenges that they have, with no adverse impact on patient outcomes.  :29

Michtalik says our current regulatory environment for healthcare needs to reign in costs while providing best care, and such a strategy may help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.