Rebranding the Physician Assistant Profession

An AAPA and WPP/Landor Collaboration

Overview

Want to know more? We’ve answered some of your top questions about the process.

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01

Design &
Discovery
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02

Research &
Analytics
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03

Insights &
Strategy
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04

Title
Development
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05

Validations &
Implications

TCI Process Overview

NOTE: At the time this video was created, AAPA 2020 in Nashville had not yet been canceled. The final report presentations from WPP/Landor and AAPA are now scheduled to occur at the AAPA House of Delegates meeting, Nov. 20 – 22, 2020. Stay tuned for exact location, date, and time, as well as CME information. Thank you for your patience.

Watch The Video

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01 Design & Discovery

February 2020 Summary of Progress

We began this comprehensive process in October 2018 to define our overall strategic objectives and design a best practice approach. The overall objectives that have been shared with the TCI Advisory Council, AAPA Board of Directors, and AAPA House of Delegates remain the same and continue to guide our efforts.

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    Empower physician assistants to successfully compete in an ever-changing healthcare marketplace
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    Boost their relevance among key stakeholder groups
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    Evolve the meaning and impact of the profession
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02 Research & Analytics

To serve as the foundational research that underpinned the overall strategy development and decision on title evolution. This phase was made up of two research components.

Qualitative

Phase

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Quantitative

Research

Qualitative Phase

We conducted tailored qualitative research to generate insights around how the profession is perceived, the experience different groups have with PAs, and how well perceptions match the actual role of PAs. We interviewed 4 groups of patients, and a number of PAs, employers, physicians, nurse practitioners, PA educators, PA students, and professional organizations (think tanks). Overall the research confirmed the strategic imperative to evolve the PA profession’s brand, and the insights guided the design of the quantitative research.

Overall the research confirmed the strategic imperative to evolve the PA profession’s brand.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research was used to build a robust foundation of data and generate unbiased insights for strategy development. Using the progress and learnings to that point, we developed a comprehensive survey, which was taken by 7,000 PAs, over 600 patients, 125 physicians, and 120 employers.

A comprehensive survey was taken by 7,000 PAs, over 600 patients, 125 physicians, and 120 employers.

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The biggest learning is that perceptions of the PA profession do not accurately reflect the value and capabilities of the PA role.

Some of the key learnings, which were shared with the Advisory Council, the BOD, and the HOD are:

  • PAs and PA students are strong advocates for their profession and see the profession much more positively and favorably than do patients, physicians, and employers.
  • Patients especially have little understanding of the PA role, and overall, most non-PA audiences are less informed about the PA role. Many PAs and PA students, and most respondents from other groups, could not accurately identify the correct description of the PA role.
  • There was not broad alignment on the fit of the Physician Assistant title with the description of the role – most PAs and PA students believe the title should be changed, as do a significant percentage of patients.
  • Overall, the biggest learning is that perceptions of the PA profession do not accurately reflect the value and capabilities of the PA role, and the title seems to add more confusion than clarity. Based on all of these learnings, we made a recommendation to the HOD and the BOD at the 2019 HOD meeting to explore a title change. That recommendation was met with resounding support and enthusiasm from attendees, including the BOD.
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03 Insights & Strategy

From the above, we worked closely as a core team, with input from the Advisory Council, to develop a full brand strategy to support and serve as an underpinning for the profession in the future. The strategy was developed using a best practice process, with a framework that many world-leading businesses use to build strategies for their brands.

The Purposeful Positioning for the PA profession, structured as an overarching belief and reason for the profession to exist, provides powerful direction for the profession and distinguishes the unique value we bring to the healthcare landscape and the communities we serve.

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The strategy was developed using a best practice process, with a framework that many world-leading businesses use to build strategies for their brands.
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04 Title Development

How Titles Were Selected

Guided by the research and strategy development, and in accordance with the recommendation to pursue a potential title change, we set strategic criteria for how we’d develop potential titles. This focused on making sure the title will be meaningful, credible, and enduring.

We pursued a number of different routes for generating potential titles and defined clear guardrails for title development. We focused on both descriptive titles based on common terms, as well as new titles from existing or familiar prefixes, suffixes, and/or Greek and Latin words.

We ultimately refined from over 100 possible titles, down to a short list, after legal and management review.
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05 Validations & Implications

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The short list of four titles have been quantitatively assessed with 27,000+ PAs and PA students.

The survey was designed not to pick a winner, but rather evaluate the strengths of each and the fit with the profession.

Based off these findings, we began the Validation research phase with three potential titles to better understand how a broader group of PAs, PA students, patients, physicians, and employers perceive the strengths and challenges of each.

We are currently evaluating these results and will be sharing our findings and implications as they become available.