Optimal Team Practice: A Survey of Physician Opinions

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Little information is available on physician OTP policy opinions, specifically for those who practice with PAs.
Little information is available on physician OTP policy opinions, specifically for those who practice with PAs.
The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor's coverage from the 2018 American Academy of Physician Assistants' annual meeting in New Orleans. Our staff will be reporting live on original research, case studies, and professional outreach and advocacy news from leading PAs in many specialty areas. Check back for ongoing updates from AAPA 2018. 

NEW ORLEANS — Many physicians are unaware of optimal team practice (OTP) policy and its impact on medical practice, according to research presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants' (AAPA) 2018 conference.

The AAPA's House of Delegates approved the OTP policy in May 2017 to broaden healthcare access. It encompasses 4 main components:

  1. Emphasize PAs' commitment to team practice with the degree of collaboration determined at the practice level.
  2. Eliminate legal requirements for PAs to have a specific relationship with a physician in order to practice.
  3. Authorize PAs to be directly reimbursed by all public and private insurers.
  4. Create autonomous majority-PA boards to regulate PAs, or give that authority to healing arts or medical boards that have as members both PAs and physicians who practice with PAs.

Lauren De Forte, MS, PA-C, from the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and colleagues generated a questionnaire to understand physicians' opinions pertaining to OTP and how it may mold PA practices and their capability to provide patient-centered quality health care.

The investigators distributed a 20-question survey to 96 physicians to tabulate demographics, practice characteristics, clinical setting interactions with PAs, thoughts on OTP, and opinions on its impact on certain facets of medical practice.

Nearly 80% of volunteers had no previous knowledge of OTP policy. Of the 4 components of the OTP, the majority of physicians (62.8%) were in agreement with component 1, while 93% disagreed with component 3. Approximately half (47.3%) of physicians somewhat agreed that they would attempt to implement OTP policy into their practice.

The investigators reported a significant correlation between agreement with OTP policy and years in practice, time until comfortable with PAs managing patients, and previous OTP awareness.

“Although opinions were varied on the components of OTP, it was encouraging that nearly half of physicians were positive in regarding implementing it in their clinical practice,” wrote the authors. “Future advocacy efforts related to OTP implementation should target physicians to ensure that they are aware of this policy and how it will critically expand access to quality health care and collaboration among clinicians.”

AAPA 2018 continues through Wednesday, May 23. Visit https://www.aapa.org/conference/ for more information.

Reference

De Forte L, Doerler A, Oliphant A, et al. Assessing physician's opinions regarding optimal team practice. Presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2018 conference; May 19-23, 2018; New Orleans. Poster 115.

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