Physician assistants as hospitalists in Canada: A literature review

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Stefanson, Megan
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Intro: Physician Assistants (PAs) are currently working as hospitalists in Canada, and there is an increasing demand to create more PA hospitalist positions. There is currently little research available on Canadian PAs and even fewer research on PAs working as hospitalists worldwide. Background: There are various stressors on the Canadian healthcare system, such as fiscally limited resources due to a publicly funded model as well as physician burnout. A possible solution may be the implementation of hospitalist PAs. Methods: Articles examined for this literature review were identified using a PubMed search of the term “physician assistant hospitalist,” through manually searching journals, and an examination of references from relevant papers. Inclusion criteria for articles in this review were as follows: primary research, those written in English, focused on PAs, as hospitalists in an inpatient setting. Results: The PubMed search resulted in a total of 114 articles, of which five were relevant, and four articles through references and manual exploration of journals for a total of nine articles. Limitations: There are several limitations to this review that include generally limited data on PAs, even further limited on PAs in Canada and therefore no Canadian studies that examined PA hospitalists. Additionally, none of the performed were randomized control trials, and all were retrospective chart reviews. Discussion: PAs stakeholders in the Canadian healthcare system including the economist, physician and patient. They provide accountability through a cost-effective, resource efficient means. Physicians can be pleased by PAs providing safe, high-quality patient care. These elements contribute positively to fostering the integral trusting relationship between physician and PA. Finally, patients are satisfied with their care by PAs. Conclusion: Based on the data review, PAs are economically efficient, patients are satisfied with care and PAs to provide quality, safe patient care, which allows for a trusting relationship between PA and physician.