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AAFP: 72% of Patients Prefer Physicians to NPs

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, December 19, 2013

The AANP is continuing its lobbying efforts for states to give NPs more authority to prescribe medication, order tests, provide some services for some Medicare patients, and practice without a physician's supervision. Easing scope-of-practice restrictions, would address the shortage of primary care physicians.

AANP Co-president, Ken Miller, in a statement last month, pointed to its own survey results showing that 70% of patients are supportive of NPs having more responsibility, as proof that patients' preferences skew favorably toward NPs.

"These results clearly confirm what we have known anecdotally for years: American healthcare consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide. This is no surprise given that NP patients have health care outcomes that are consistent with those of physicians, and that patients consistently, and increasingly, prefer NPs as their primary health care provider."

Concluding that because Americans support legislation expanding NP authority, they also prefer an NP over a physician is a long leap. But patients, whether faced with access or insurance challenges, have been increasingly turning to NPs and other non-physician providers.

Take a look at the growth in retail clinics at pharmacy chains. What started out as stopping in to pick up a prescription or a flu shot has morphed into a convenience store with a healthcare department.

Now you can see someone (a non-physician provider) about a cold or minor ailment while also picking up a gallon of milk and your prescription and getting a flu shot. Consumers have become increasingly comfortable with this model, but physicians are uncomfortable with the lack of communication among the different parties providing care.

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4 comments on "AAFP: 72% of Patients Prefer Physicians to NPs"


sandra.hunt (12/30/2013 at 5:12 PM)
I doubt it. Let's see the survey instrument, methods, and the data.

Beth Brooks (12/21/2013 at 6:25 AM)
Too bad the authors of the study confused medical care with nursing care. Two completely different approaches to patients. A bit like comparing apples to oranges. That and I wonder if the questions were phrased in an objective way ?? Hmmm. Somebody is worried.

Linda T (12/20/2013 at 12:25 PM)
Would love to see the survey. Was it neutral and unbiased in its construction?