OHHRRNs’ Applied Health Research: Integration of Physician Assistants in Ontario’s Health Care System

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spring summer 2012 1Dr. Chan Kulatunga-Moruzi is working on an OHHRRN funded applied health research project that focuses on the integration of civilian trained PAs into Ontario’s health care system, documenting their integration and collecting data regarding the factors that impact both positively and negatively to the integration process. Of interest is how the PAs are being utilized, the nature of the PA-supervising physician relationship and the impact that PAs are having on the delivery of care at each site. To this end, both supervising physicians and graduates of civilian-trained physician assistant education programs have been surveyed in order to glean information from both perspectives. The next steps in her research will be to conduct case studies to examine further the specific impacts that PAs are having. Another area of interest is patient acceptance of PAs and the factors that impact on their acceptance.

The research findings thus far indicate that PAs are functioning well as physician extenders. They are performing a variety of clinical tasks, including controlled medical acts, and are typically supervised by more than one supervising physician. The large majority of PAs are being integrated quickly, often within 6 months. Although the development of medical directives may be a challenge, medical directives have been developed by a majority of the sites. Education regarding the PA role and their competencies may be necessary for sites planning on employing a PA as health care workers’ knowledge of the PA competency profile and their acceptance of the PA role were sited as the primary barriers to PA integration. The outcomes achieved by the addition of a PA to most of the sites met the goals and motivations for employing a PA. Supervising physicians reported that the addition of a PA has an impact on many factors, with patient-oriented outcomes being the most significant.

For more information contact Dr. Kulatunga Moruzi: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it