One of the most rewarding parts of my job as a clinical physician assistant has been talking with patients about their healthcare needs and concerns. But that type of one-to-one patient engagement and education is getting harder to do these days.
Yet we need to find a way make it happen. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants recently conducted a survey of consumers and found that more than 20% of patients say they have been treated, but not educated about their healthcare. That rate could increase considerably as new populations of insured patients, many with complex illnesses, enter the healthcare system under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The survey also showed that access. to healthcare now trumps every other national concern, including the economy. Patients are ready for a reformed healthcare system that makes quality healthcare accessible for all.
That's why the emerging care-team concept, consisting of physicians, PAs, nurses and other practitioners, will be so important. But it's going to be up to all of us in the industry to ensure this model expands and is effectively implemented.