Delivering high-quality, effective, and sustainable services is both a top priority and one of the most pressing challenges facing governments and businesses. Physician assistants (PAs) are academically prepared and highly skilled health care professionals who provide a broad range of medical services in different clinical settings, under the supervision of a physician. One of the current challenges of the profession in Canada is the lack of data on the impact of PAs from a productivity and cost-effectiveness perspective.
The first in a series, this report aims to set the stage and act as a backgrounder to better understand the role of PAs within health care systems. It comprises a literature review and brief Canadian-based case studies of PA models of care. It introduces PAs; discusses their role in various settings; and synthesizes relevant information about the effectiveness and efficiency of PAs in Canada and elsewhere. The report is funded by the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The College of Family Physicians of Canada, and Alberta Health Services.