The Role of Technological Development in Healthcare: Careers as a Physician Assistant
Many people have asked me why I decided to choose to become a physician assistant (PA) instead of a medical doctor. The role of a PA is very beneficial for those who have the passion to be a part of the medical field, while still having a well-balanced life. This, however, does not mean that physicians are not capable of having a well-adjusted life, but it is usually more difficult due to their tight and hectic schedule. PAs, on the other hand, are able to avoid packed schedules by working part-time. Parents who are PAs are able to be home more often and helps them be able to be there for their kids when they are needed. Even Although PA school is a difficult experience to endure it is one of the few healthcare professions, that gives an opportunity to have a balanced work-life. According to ECPI University, “the career is expected to grow 23% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.” All of this is possible due to the enhancements of technology that positively affect physician assistants' careers. For instance, PAs are starting to become the “EHR (electronic health records) leaders” since they have the capability of examining their patients, diagnosing their patients, ordering test results, prescribing medications. As a result, they help the workflow become more efficient and effective, in the sense that doctors and nurses can see their patients at a quicker rate, that also allows more people to get diagnosed. This new technology also provides assistance to PA students in terms of gaining new opportunities and more knowledge of their medical studies. In light of current technological advancements, the role of physician assistants has been rapidly enhanced in terms of patient interaction as well as engagement, this enables PAs to gain a sense of independence in their careers and supplies them with the tools to become more effective and efficient in the workplace.
Physician assistants have similar duties as physicians, however, they must be supervised by physicians. State laws require PAs to always be supervised, however, with new and intriguing technology, PAs are able to become more independent in the clinic. An article written by Stephan Hanson talks about how technology such as the Electronic Health Records (EHR) has helped PA become more independent, especially with their practice. Hanson mentioned, “The bottom line is that I have to be able to contact them directly and immediately.” The EHR helps PAs become more independent since they have received the ability to work anywhere without being supervised. With PAs becoming more independent, it improves the physician's ability to expand their healthcare by having more physicians-PA teams. For instance, patients encounter these issues frequently when they are stuck in the waiting room anticipating the nurse to call their name in order to be seen by the doctor. For a 15-minute checkup, patients find themselves waiting an hour to an hour and a half to be diagnosed. This occurs because unfortunately physicians can get critical patients who need help right away, or some patients may go over the allotted times, which in turn delay the appointments for the others. In the patient’s perspective, waiting for a quick checkup tends to be frustrating especially when they have other responsibilities. Allowing PA’s access to EHRs gives them the ability to take in patients for a quick checkup, so they would not have to spend one hour waiting for a fifteen-minute checkup. Although PAs are doing routine checkups, physicians are treating patients who are severely ill, allowing the professionals to expand their clinic due to the ease of workflow and create an overall efficient and effective workplace. This technological advancement not only creates more independent PA’s but it also makes them more confident in ways. For example, they can diagnose patients without having to worry about finding their supervising physician to get consent and proceed. In the end, new and upcoming technologies have facilitated PAs in their journey to independence, which in turn leads to a more fluid and dynamic workplace and career.
Making an appointment with one’s doctor can always be a hassle, whether if it is an emergency or a pre-planned appointment. Finding yourself in a situation where your physician is not available, and that you need to find other doctors, who must accept your insurance, have a date available, and is not to far is very difficult. That’s where telemedicine comes in. Telemedicine helps patients make online appointments with their doctor by using their smartphone or computer no matter where you are. However, there may be cases when your physician would still have a busy schedule even with using telemedicine. Since the EHR has been helping PAs have the ability to become more independent, patients are able to have an appointment with PAs using telemedicine, due to their flexible schedules. Advancements in technology such as telemedicine, help provide a simple and effective communication between PAs and their patients. An article by the Healthecareers mentioned, “The most powerful benefits most patients experience from telemedicine are in terms of convenience and cost savings.” Not only that, making an appointment with a physician through using telemedicine is difficult, but is easier when a PA is usually available. Due to reduced costs, more patients tend to choose to use telemedicine, which benefits PAs into being able to further expand the healthcare to get better results. Telemedicine helps patients and professionals save time, money and have a better relationship and to continue growing the clinical team to be able to provide more for their patients. Telemedicine helps PAs become more independent because noe the patient can go directly to the PA without having the doctor involved. Telemedicine provides direct connection between the patient and the PA.
The power of social media can help physician assistants build better patient care through simply understanding other patients personal situations in terms of mental and physical health. Sabba Quidwai mentions Professor Christopher P. Forest, who said “In preparing medical providers to care for people — for individuals — it’s not enough for them to know only diseases, treatments, and counseling theory,” I believe that this sentence signifies that the importances of being able to connect with your patient on a level more than just knowing their diagnosis and treatment. PA’s much be able to understand the patient, their lifestyle choices to be able to truly help them. For example, Sabba Quidwai wrote an article about PA students in Keck School of Medicine of USC who were able to connect with their community by learning their needs, and stories of individuals.Social media is one way of communicating and sharing inspiring stories through a variety of creative ways, like videos, documentaries, and blogs.Watching, and reading the posts on PA's and what the job entails, gives students who hope to become PA's a better understanding of what PA's do. Not only that these videos and posts can help the student understand the importance of building connections with patients. Not only does this help students understand more about communicating with their patients, this also allows them to inspire others to join the community. Medical forums are another aspect in social media where patients and medical providers can interact. Getting to know online patients and their mental and physical health broadens the scope of a PAs patients. Through that PAs learn more conditions and are able to help their patients more. The best way for a PA to be effective is to sympathize with your patients and try to understand what they are going through mentally and physically.
As technology advances day to day, the role of a physician assistant also advances. Not to long ago, physician assistant where being observed by physicians and helping out whenever they could. But as technology advances PA’s are allowed more independence which not only takes a bit of workload off of the physician but more patients are allowed to be treated. Advances such as EHR, telemedicine, and social media all aid in the independence PA’s are gaining. EHR has provided PAs with the opportunity to become more independent, with helping patients. Whereas telemedicine is a powerful tool to increase productiveness in the healthcare profession. Increasing the productivity in healthcare allows and increase patients being diagnosed and helped, as well as decreasing the chances of physicians being over worked.Lastly, social media is a great tool that can be utilized by students to gain a better understanding of what it is to be a PA and how that role is changing with the help of technology. As I continue my journey to becoming a PA I am excited to see newer technologies that will not only help advance my career, but as well as see more people be treated. These technologies will not only help me, but they will also help others looking for a career that is well-balanced and gives the opportunity to work-part time in the healthcare profession.