The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) estimates there will be approximately 50,121 people in clinical practice as PAs at the beginning of 2004, according to the newly released Information Update: Projected Number of People in Clinical Practice as PAs as of January 1, 2004. This estimate more than doubles the number of PAs in clinical practice ten years ago. AAPA estimates there were 23,300 PAs in clinical practice at the beginning of 1994.
Approximately 192 million patient visits were made to physician assistants and 236 million medications prescribed or recommended by PAs in 2003, according to the Information Update: Number of Patient Visits Made to Physician Assistants and Number of Medications Prescribed or Recommended by Physician Assistants in 2003.
"With almost 200 million patient visits this year, it's clear that physician assistants have become a significant part of the health care system, providing quality care in all medical specialties," said Stephen Crane, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. "With the intensive training required for the profession and focus on team practice with physicians, PAs have gained widespread acceptance by the public as well as the medical community."
This year, more PAs (33%) practiced in family medicine than any other specialty. These PAs accounted for approximately 38 percent of the patient visits made to PAs during 2003 and approximately 44 percent of the total number of medications prescribed or recommended by PAs during 2003.
"The number of individuals entering the physician assistant profession continues to grow, driven by the fact that PAs are recognized as a solution to e