Physician Assistants in India
In today’s world, the number of diseases is on the rise due to the impact of urbanization and westernization in the society. More number of people are seeking medical help not only for treatment but also for the prevention of diseases due to increased awareness. We do not have enough doctors to cater to this increasing demand. Not only in this present era, shortage of doctors has always been an issue globally. The United States of America successfully responded to this challenge in the 1960s by developing a professional body that has since been proved to be essential to the medical profession : “ Physician Assistants “. Presently there are more than 44,000 Physician Assistants in the United States and numbers are projected to exceed 75,000 by 2015.
Medical education and practice in the recent years is characterized by specialities and super-specialities. More and more medical graduates aspire for higher education both in the country and abroad to become specialists/super specialists. Due to this, there constantly lies a huge vacuum in the duties performed by medical officers at the primary level. The specialists are put to stress and extra burden whose valuable time can be spent on other pressing needs. The Physician Assistant effectively fills in this huge vacuum.
Inspired by the physician assistants in the United States, Dr.K.M.Cherian, renowned cardiac surgeon, started the physician assistant programme in India in the year 1992 and today, there are more than 200 physician assistants working in various hospitals across the country improving the delivery of health care.
Who are Physician Assistants?
Physician Assistants are well- trained health care providers who practice medicine under the supervision of specialists. They substitute for doctors at the junior level in institutional settings. They examine, investigate, prescribe, assist in surgery, counsel on preventive health care and treat patients under the supervision of doctors in institutional settings. Physician Assistants are not only involved in patient care,they also play a vital role in research activities and help in scietific paper publications.They have contributed to more than 100 scientific papers till date which were published in leading national and international medical journals.
With more international companies recognising India as a hub for conducting clinical trials and India preparing itself for medical tourism, physican assistants have tremendous role to play in the near future.
Aspirants who could not make it to the medical school by sheer margin of marks will find the physician assistant profession equally interesting and challenging.