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Posts Tagged ‘physician assistants’

Summer Update- Medical Assistants and Physicians

Summer is here,  Patient care comes first and this is what I advise all my residents in teaching programs:

There is now a hierarchy in medical practice, important for best delivery of good patient care. With medical care comprising 17% of this Nation's GDP,

a team approach will provide rapid care for all and help keep costs down.  The day of "Doctor" and his/her one nurse is long gone.

Every individual should wear a name badge and repeat who they are. Patients are concerned with their invidual problems and may be confused by all the individuals they meet in any medical encounter.

Physicians: Name badge and qualifications (M.D. or D.O.)

Nurse Practitioners: Name badge necessary  These are highly trained professionals that (under supervision of a physician can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions)

Physician Assistants: Name badge necessary. These are highly trained professionals, graduates of specific designated Universities.  They may not diagnose illnesses but are

licenced by each State to write progress notes, assist in procedures and even dispense prescriptions.  All must be supervised by a physician.

Medical Assistants:  These outnumber physicians in the U.S.A.   They play an indispensable role in preparing patients for examination, taking vital signs, taking brief histories and transmitting lab and X-ray results to the professionals above.  Thay can call in renewal prescriptions and even administer medications as per written orders of the physician or nurse practioner.

 

Patients may not fully understand this hierarchy of personnel.  Each plays a role in providing cost efficient care, whether in private practice or academic settings.  Ultimately the physician (or University) has the legal obligation to supervise this efficient team.  Any breach places the Physician as ultimately responsible.

 

Physicians and Universities need to provide written Job Descriptions for each of these individuals, review responsibilities and assure that all meet State regulations.

Chart reviews and regular meetings of this team assures each performs their duties within the law.  I emphasize that  unintended "Mission Creep" can occur over the years with

trusted NPs, PAs and MAs.

As medicine evolves into a more efficient model, patient trust will follow. 

 

A Happy and Healthy Summer to All!

 

Dr. Bob

 

 

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