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Physician assistants in the German inpatient care: barriers and enablers of integration

Laura Ringel (Medizinische Universit├Ąt Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria) (MCI Management Center Innsbruck Internationale Hochschule GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria)
Ayman Fouda (MCI Management Center Innsbruck Internationale Hochschule GmbH, Innsbruck, Austria)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 12 April 2024

Issue publication date: 26 April 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

Various health systems are challenged by a multifaceted crisis of increased service demand and workforce shortages. The effects are devastating and may end up in decreased access to care, poor quality of patient care and extreme demands on the workforce. The introduction of the physician assistant (PA) profession provided an avenue to address such challenges in several countries. In Germany, the integration of PAs has been proceeding slowly.

Design/methodology/approach

To understand the integration of the profession in Germany, we conducted 15 expert interviews to reveal how the PA profession is perceived among healthcare experts as well as the barriers and facilitators of integration in inpatient care.

Findings

Our results highlight a generally positive perception of PAs, particularly in terms of workload relief and bridging the gap between healthcare professionals. Nonetheless, barriers include resistance from healthcare workers unfamiliar with the PA role, while workforce shortages and collaborative teamwork facilitate integration.

Originality/value

These findings lay the groundwork for potential integration-enhancing strategies in Germany.

Keywords

Citation

Ringel, L. and Fouda, A. (2024), "Physician assistants in the German inpatient care: barriers and enablers of integration", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 201-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-11-2023-0088

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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