The following article is part of The Clinical Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2017 American Academy of Physician Assistants’ meeting in Las Vegas. 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 the latest news from AAPA 2017. 

LAS VEGAS — Physicians in primary care and in medical and surgical subspecialties find that PAs are prepared to actively participate in clinical activities, according to data presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) 2017 conference.

C. Biscardi, PA-C, PhD, and colleagues from the Monmouth University Physician Assistant Program in West Long Branch, New Jersey, conducted a survey of 36 licensed and clinically active Medical Doctors (MDs) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) aged more than 21 years. The survey collected information on demographics; understanding of the PA profession, education, and clinical training; and experience working with PAs. The participants were asked about PA procedural proficiency and potential areas of further instruction, and they were asked to rate PA preparedness to practice and participate in clinical activities.

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Of the respondents, 64% worked in primary care and 36% worked in subspecialty care. Approximately 22% of primary care physicians responded that they currently work with a PA, and 52% responded that they worked with a PA in the past. Among the subspecialty physicians, 92% stated that they currently work with a PA, while 8% worked with a PA in the past.

When the respondents were asked to rate PA preparedness, 74% of primary care physicians responded that PAs are “moderately prepared” while 17% responded that they are “extremely prepared.” Among subspecialty physicians, 69% said that PAs are moderately prepared, while 23% considered them extremely prepared.

The researchers concluded that, “PA education is, as suspected, well structured and should not bow to the changing healthcare field but rather continue to produce well-equipped, well-rounded medical professionals to help alleviate the burden in both primary care and surgical subspecialties.”

AAPA 2017 continues through Friday, May 19th. Visit for more information.


  1. Lapp D, Mohammad S, Arce G, Daly G, Higginson T, Biscardi C. Physician perceptions of PA preparedness in primary vs subspecialty care. Presented at the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2017 conference; May 15-19, 2017; Las Vegas