PMID: 38479Jul 1, 1979

Physician's assistants in primary care practices: delegation of tasks and physician supervision

Public Health Reports
E EkwoM Daniels


Little information is available on factors influencing physicians (MDs) to delegate health care tasks to physician's assistants (PAs). Information about assignment of tasks to PAs was sought from 19 MDs engaged in practice in primary care settings in Iowa. These MDs employed 28 PAs. Tasks assigned to PAs appeared to be those that MDs judged to require little or no supervision. Tasks that could be performed efficiently by other non-MD personnel were not asigned to PAs. However, PAs were observed at the practice sites to perform tasks which the MDs had indicated could be appropriately assigned to PAs, as well as some tasks that could be performed by other non-MD personnel. The MDs provided health care to 126 (13.6 percent) of the 925 patients seen by PAs for whom the sequences of patient-provider contact were recorded. In these settings, the PAs functioned with a high degree of autonomy in providing health care. These findings have implications for educators and potential employers of PAs.

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