91% of patients who saw a Physician Assistant in the past year say they improve the quality of healthcare

October 21, 2014

Patients who saw a physician assistant (PA) in the past year give high marks to the interaction, according to a new Harris Poll.

Patients who saw a physician assistant (PA) in the past year give high marks to the interaction, according to a new Harris Poll.

Additionally, 91% of respondents said they or their loved ones had a good relationship with their PA.

 The study, conducted in September 2014, surveyed 1,544 adults 18 and older in the U.S. who had interacted with a PA in the last year, either personally or through a visit with someone they cared for.

Findings include:

•93 percent agree PAs are going to be part of the solution to address the shortage of healthcare providers

•93 percent agree PAs are trusted healthcare providers

•92 percent agree having a PA at a practice makes it easier for a patient to get an appointment

•91 percent agree PAs improve health outcomes for patients.

 “The survey results prove what we have known to be true for years: PAs are an essential element in the healthcare equation and America needs PAs now more than ever,” said AAPA President John McGinnity, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “When PAs are on the healthcare team, patients know they can count on receiving high-quality care, which is particularly important as the system moves toward a fee-for-value structure.”

Ninety-three percent of respondents also said that PAs add value to healthcare teams.

 “These results tell us that PAs are not only good for patients, but also good for business,” continues McGinnity. “Patients want providers they can get to know and trust, and these results show PAs win over their patients with stellar care and excellent communication.”

There are more than 100,000 certified PAs in practice in the U.S. and in military bases worldwide, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants. PA’s practice  in every medical specialty, including primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, oncology, orthopedics, psychiatry, radiology, and pediatrics, according to the AAPA.

Typically, a PA will treat 3,500 patients a year, and practice in two or three different specialties throughout a career, notes the AAPA.

They conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, prescribe medication, and assist in surgery, and their roles encompass education, research and administrative services.