One approach to increasing the supply of health services is rational delegation of some of the physician's traditional functions in delivery of health care. Such an approach involves reallocating duties between the physician and other health personnel to achieve the best use of skills at each level, and often results in reducing the time input in education required to perform a given health service. This reallocation of duties can take place in two ways: by expanding the medical service role of existing health occupations, or by creating and recruiting for new career roles to assist the physician.
Neither of these methods is in itself new. Physicians have been delegating tasks to allied workers and training their own "assistants" for many years. Many physicians, within their office settings, have been highly successful in training persons to perform specific functions previously associated solely with the physician's role. The duties of these assistants