Physicians in Kentucky Perceive Physician Assistants to Be Competent Health Care Providers

Somu Chatterjee, Susan Westneat, Andrew Wyant, Ryan Hunton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: The use of certified physician assistants (PA) has increased throughout the US health care system. The purpose of this study was to objectively evaluate physicians' perceptions of PAs' mastery of specific skills. It is important to understand stakeholders' perceptions of PAs' capabilities to support future changes in policies for better utilization of PAs in our health care system.

METHODS: From 2014 to 2015, randomly chosen "active" physicians listed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure were surveyed about their perceptions of competencies of certified PAs. Six competency domains (medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning, and improvement and systems-based practice) were rated using a Likert scale. Each competency-derived skill-based question was ranked by the number of physicians giving the highest scores on the Likert scale (a score of 4 or 5) and by effect size. Cronbach's alpha for the survey was calculated.

RESULTS: An overwhelming majority of the physicians perceived certified PAs to be competent (n ≥ 161, ≥ 60%) for specific skills. The survey had internal consistency with Cronbach's alpha ranging from 0.75 to 0.87 for competency domains. Effect size ranged from 0.44 to 0.98 for scores given by physicians with, versus without, experience with PAs.

CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, there is objective evidence of physicians' perceptions of PAs' mastery of specific competency-derived PA skill sets. This study will help guide effective utilization of PAs throughout the health care system and future PA education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Kentucky
  • Perception
  • Physician Assistants/standards
  • Physicians/psychology
  • Professionalism


Dive into the research topics of 'Physicians in Kentucky Perceive Physician Assistants to Be Competent Health Care Providers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this