The Quality of Air Force Outpatient Care

How Well Do Physician Assistants Perform?

by George A. Goldberg, Andrew F. Siegel, David S. C. Chu, David G. Jolly

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Analyzes quality of care rendered by physician assistants (PAs), who work under a doctor's general supervision in Air Force clinics and care for some patients formerly treated by physicians. It focuses on the technical process of care, and uses data collected with a patient contact record at nine Air Force bases in 1974. For a set of conditions that account for 20 to 25 percent of outpatient visits to clinics dealing with general medicine problems, the analysis shows that PAs are performing at least as well as physicians. It is concluded that the Air Force can deliver the same quality of medical care when PAs, working under a doctor's general supervision, treat some of the patients formerly seen by physicians.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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