Background: The PA profession has evolved to the point where PAs are increasingly found in specialty areas of medicine. One of the newer specialties to accept physician assistants into its ranks is the hospitalist profession. Moreover, when the ACGME implemented work hour restrictions on residents, hospitals sought to fill the vacuum with mid-level providers. Very little research has evaluated the efficacy of the PA in this new role, and how the PA compares professionally with the tradition hospital house staff. This paper reviews some of the few studies that examine this issue.
Methods: Exhaustive search of available medical literature using Medline, CINAHL, and Web of Science for key words “physician assistant” and “hospitalist.”
Results: Data from three studies reviews mortality rates, cost of care, length of stay, patient satisfaction, readmission within 30 days and adverse events of PA hospitalists versus traditional house staff. No significant differences were found.
Conclusion: On the surface, there is no data to suggest inferiority of PA hospitalist care compared with residents or tradition inpatient general medical staff, but because the data is so scant, further study is needed.
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