Improving Health Care Efficiency Through the Integration of a Physician Assistant into an Infectious Diseases Consult Service at a Large Urban Community Hospital
BACKGROUND: Physician assistants (PAs) have recently been introduced into the Canadian health care system in some provinces; however, there are little data demonstrating their impact.METHODS: A retrospective case-control study was conducted between January 2010 and December 2013. Length of stay (LOS) and mortality were examined in the infectious diseases consult service (IDCS) compared with hospital-wide controls. The two-year period before the introduction of the PA to the IDCS of a large urban community hospital in Canada (2010 to 2011) was compared with the two-year period following the introduction of the PA (2012 to 2013).RESULTS: Following the introduction of a PA to the IDCS, there was a decrease in time to consultation from 21.4 h to 14.3 h (P<0.0001). LOS was significantly decreased among IDCS patients by 3.6 days more than that seen in matched hospital-wide controls (P=0.0001). Mortality did not significantly change after PA introduction in either cases or controls.DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: PAs can improve health efficiencies in the Canadian health care setting, leading to reduction in LOS.