Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

What Role Does a Physician Assistant Play in Disease Management?

Career News August 14, 2013

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, disease management is an approach to patient care that emphasizes collaborative treatment throughout the course of disease and across health care delivery systems. This approach can substantially improve the quality of patient care and play an important role in the treatment of chronic illness such as diabetes. Multidisciplinary teams are best suited to drive disease management programs, since they provide preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic decisions essential to patient care. Physician assistants (PAs) have close working relationships with physicians, and their education is designed in a medical model complementing physician training, which is why they have a key role to play in all facets of Disease Management.

Physician assistants must manage the entire range of a patient’s disease and work towards maximizing functional ability. Treatment of pain is an integral part of disease management for many illnesses such as osteoarthritis, gout and lupus. The role of the physician assistant in these circumstances is to perform disease specific management for pain control and also minimizing discomfort on a daily basis.

In many cases, PAs may order physical or occupational therapy to counteract weakness and de-conditioning, which may exacerbate a patient’s pain. Physiatrists may be consulted in cases where patients are unresponsive to treatment. PAs strive to help their patients maintain the best quality of life possible. The PA’s role often is quite similar to that of his or her supervising physician.

Assessment Tools

Part of the physician assistant role is to use the Visual Analog Scale and the Global Assessment of Functioning to measure a patient’s functional capabilities, assess treatment success and measure improvement in control of disease. The Health Assessment Questionnaire can also help a PA understand more about the patient’s condition. These assessment tools, together with physical examination assist the PA in assessing the patient’s health. It’s also important for the patient to take responsibility for managing their own health, and a PA can help them take an active role in this.

Sample Physician Assistant Employment Opportunity

A recent job opening at the Mayo Clinic requires a Physician Assistant to work with a team along with Family, Adolescent, Pediatric, Primary Care and other health consultants and staff at an outpatient clinic. The role of the PA is to provide preventative, chronic and acute health care services for patients of all ages. Responsibilities include patient evaluation, ordering and analyzing diagnostic tests, prescribing medication and other treatments, as well as counseling. PA’s can teach patients how to be proactive in their own health care.

American Medical Association Definition of PA Role

The Physician’s Assistant role as described by the American Medical Association is to practice medicine under the supervision of a Medical Doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy. The physician team facilitates high quality health care. PAs make clinical decisions and provide therapeutic care that can be primary or specialty. The PA may also work in a research or educational capacity.

According to May 2011 figures from the U.S. Bureaus of Labor Statistics about 62% of physician’s assistants work in medical offices and about 25% work at general medical and surgical hospitals. Medical practices and hospitals are essential target of Disease Management methodology. Disease Management is becoming increasingly popular. As its use spreads, PAs will assist physicians in their practice as they do in most other aspects of medical care.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
4 Program(s) Found
Fortis Institute , Grand Prairie
  • Apply At Fortis College Today! Explore the Career Programs.
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
  • Do you aspire to fulfill an evolving healthcare role as a highly-qualified nursing professional? GCU is the place for you.
  • RNs, pursue your BSN or MSN conveniently online, backed by the legacy of GCU's traditional campus.
  • GCU's bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to fill roles in direct care, management, health education and administrative disciplines.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Develop with hands-on practice, online and lab simulations and in depth peer discussions exploring best practices.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
  • Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Non-profit university accredited by WASC Senior Commission
  • Professors with real-world experience and student centered approach
  • Flexible, fully online degree programs responding to the market needs
  • All courses are offered six times a year with clear path to completion and reduced time-to-degree
  • No additional costs for textbooks or other fees
  • Personal support from application to graduation leading to high retention and graduation rates
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
South University , Virginia Beach
  • Programs include BS in Healthcare Management programs and MBA in Healthcare Administration.
  • Courses include Principles of Management, Healthcare Delivery and Organization, and Healthcare Finance.
  • Healthcare Administration programs are available at many of the 11 campus locations across the United States.
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
1 Program(s) Found
  • Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
  • Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
  • Online Courses
2 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Non-profit university accredited by WASC Senior Commission
  • Professors with real-world experience and student centered approach
  • Flexible, fully online degree programs responding to the market needs
  • All courses are offered six times a year with clear path to completion and reduced time-to-degree
  • No additional costs for textbooks or other fees
  • Personal support from application to graduation leading to high retention and graduation rates
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!