When finding a home base for health care, patients are no longer considering a single doctor in their community.
In today's primary care setting, multiple professionals work together as a team. An integral member of the modern health care team, physician assistants, or PAs, are trained to work hands-on with patients, often serving as an extension of the primary care doctor.
PAs are licensed medical professionals who can perform an array of services including clinical examinations, diagnostic services, test result interpretations, counseling on preventive care, advising a treatment plan and more. In a primary care setting, PAs often take on specific roles, including preventive medicine and acute crisis management.
The thought of consulting with someone besides a medical doctor causes trepidation for some patients. Before insisting on an MD, consider these benefits to seeing a PA as a primary care provider:
■ PA students receive nearly three years of medical training and complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in areas including family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics and more.
■ PAs are closely tied to the doctor in primary care. Doctors trust PAs to carry out procedures, consultations and examinations on their own, but are available to the PA when complex medical questions arise.
■ PAs are trained to consider the whole patient and help advise patients about lifestyle and preventive care.
■ PAs take time to communicate with the patient. The PA's schedule often allows more time to ask questions and discuss health care matters.
■ Approval ratings are high for PAs. Studies show patient satisfaction increases when a PA is available.
If you are interested in locating a PA as a primary care provider in Kentucky, visit bit.ly/1MslvyM. To learn more about the PA profession, visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants.