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Implementation of the Physician Assistant in Dutch Health Care Organizations: Primary Motives and Outcomes

van Vught, Anneke J. A. H. MSc, PhD; van den Brink, Geert T. W. J. MSc; Wobbes, Theo MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.HCM.0000440621.39514.9f
Article

Physician assistants (PAs) are trained to perform medical procedures that were traditionally performed by medical physicians. Physician assistants seem to be deployed not only to increase efficiency but also to ensure the quality of care. What is not known is the primary motive for employing PAs within Dutch health care and whether the employment of the PAs fulfills the perceived need for them. Supervising medical specialists who used PAs in their practices were interviewed about their primary motives and outcomes. The interviews were semistructured. Two scientists coded the findings with respect to motives and outcomes. In total, 55 specialists were interviewed about their motives for employing a PA, and 15 were interviewed about the outcomes of employing a PA. With respect to the primary motives for employing a PA, the most frequent motive was to increase continuity and quality of care, followed by relieving the specialist’s workload, increasing efficiency of care, and substituting for medical residents. The outcomes were found to be consistent with the motives. In conclusion, the primary motive for employing a PA in Dutch health care is to increase continuity and quality of care.

Author Affiliations: HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Anneke JAH van Vught, MSc, PhD, University of Applied Sciences, Sint Annastraat 312, 6525 HG Nijmegen, the Netherlands (a.vanvught@han.nl).

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins