As your medical practice grows, you will probably be faced with the need to hire additional staff or to stop accepting new patients. Choosing the latter option may ease your problem but it will also limit your ability to generate more revenue for your practice. Plus, if you are already seeing too many patients, not adding new ones won't eliminate your current problem.
One possibility is adding a physician assistant (PA) to the medical practice. These staff members can provide a number of benefits to your practice and to your patients, but the decision to hire one needs to be made carefully.
What is a Physician's Assistant?
Not everyone understands exactly what a PA is. A physician assistant is an individual trained to handle many aspects of patient treatment under the supervision of a physician. This does not mean the physician has to be standing over the PA's shoulder the whole time, but it does mean the PA is required to consult with the physician about patients.
Physician assistants must complete a two year training course and pass an exam created by the National Board of Medical Examiners. The first year of training is devoted to classwork and the study of subjects such as anatomy, pathology, and more. The second year is spent mostly on clinical rotations in a number of environments. The majority of students entering PA programs have already earned a bachelor's degree or higher.
In a medical practice, the PA can provide a number of services to patients. For example, they can record a patient's medical history, complete a physician exam, prescribe medications, begin treatment, conduct health screenings, deal with family planning issues, and more. They can read X-rays, suture injuries, and do diagnostic testing.
Does Your Practice Need a Physician Assistant?
As you can imagine from the overview above, a physician assistant can come in handy in many medical practices. If a patient comes in with a broken wrist, your PA can take all of the information, determine the severity of the break by looking at the X-ray, and suggest the appropriate treatment. Your PA will need to double-check with you about the diagnosis but, otherwise, you won't need to be involved at all with that patient's care. That leaves you more time to see additional patients or to conduct other professional business.
Furthermore, if you bring in a new patient. The PA can collect most of the information and can conduct the initial exam. You might want to come in near the end to introduce yourself and to discuss any findings from the exam.
Clearly, the PA can ease your patient workload. Of course, not all physicians want to take such a hands-off approach with their patients. In that case, a physician assistant may not be the best choice. However, there are other benefits as well.