CONTEXT: Nurse practitioners increasingly provide primary care in a variety of settings. Little is known about how resource utilization for patients assigned to nurse practitioners compares with that for patients assigned to physicians. OBJECTIVE: To compare health care resource utilization for adult patients assigned to a nurse practitioner with that for patients assigned to a resident or attending physician. DESIGN: Prospective, quasi-randomized study. SETTING: Primary care clinic at a Veterans Affairs medical center. PATIENTS: 450 new primary care patients: 150 were assigned to a nurse practitioner, 150 to a resident physician, and 150 to an attending physician. OUTCOME MEASURES: We collected data on laboratory and radiologic testing, specialty care, primary care, emergency or walk-in visits, and hospitalizations over a 1-year period. We also collected information on baseline chronic illnesses, blood pressure, and weight. RESULTS: Resource utilization for patients assigned to a nurse practitioner was higher than that for patients assigned to a resident in 14 of 17 utilization measures (3 were statistically significant) and higher in 10 of 17 measures when compared with patients assigned to an attending physician (3 were statistically significant). None of the utilization measures for patients in the nurse practitioner group was significantly lower than those for either physician group. CONCLUSIONS: In a primary care setting, nurse practitioners may utilize more health care resources than physicians.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Effective clinical practice : ECP|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1999|
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