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West J Emerg Med. 2012 May;13(2):181-5. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2011.6.6746.

Physician assistants contribution to emergency department productivity.



The objective of this report is to determine physician assistant (PA) productivity in an academic emergency department (ED) and to determine whether shift length or department census impact productivity.


A retrospective chart review was conducted at a tertiary ED during June and July of 2007. Productivity was calculated as the mean number of patients seen each hour. Analysis of variance was used to compare the productivity of different length shifts, and linear regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between productivity and department volume.


One hundred sixty PA shifts were included. Shifts ranged from 4 to 13 hours. Mean productivity was 1.16 patients per hour (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12-1.20). Physician assistants generated a mean of 2.35 relative value units (RVU) per hour (95% CI = 1.98-2.72). There was no difference in productivity on different shift lengths (P = 0.73). There was no correlation between departmental census and productivity, with an R(2) (statistical term for the coefficient of determination) of 0.01.


In the ED, PAs saw 1.16 patients and generated 2.35 RVUs per hour. The length of the shift did not affect productivity. Productivity did not fluctuate significantly with changing departmental volume.

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