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The ideal health system comprises multiple providers who communicate with and are accountable to each other to deliver coordinated care,” wrote authors of a new systemic review comparing advanced practice outcomes, published in the journal of Nursing Economic$. The review, conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and several other institutions in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., encompassed data from 1990 to 2008. To date, it is the most complete compilation of data comparing APRN care to other providers' care, namely physicians. The main finding was that care provided by nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives working in collaboration with physicians is comparable, if not superior in some cases, to care provided exclusively by physicians. - Source: The Clinical Advisor

Yet even the American Medical Association supports greater use of advanced practice nurses in acute care, says Edward Hill, M.D., a full-time faculty family physician at the North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo, and immediate past chair of the AMA board. "The AMA is very much in favor of the team approach to care," Hill says. "Most of the errors made in care today are system errors and we need all the help we can to avoid them." - Source: Hospitals & Health Network

Dr. Penny Kaye Jensen, President of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, believes “patients with NPs as their primary care provider have fewer instances of emergency-room visits, shorter hospital stays and often have lower medication costs. This can be attributed to the fact that NPs partner with patients for their healthcare and provide the necessary information so that they know when early intervention is needed.”- Source: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

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Nurse practitioner trends

Nurse Practitioners are the fastest growing health care profession in primary care, growing at close to a 10% rate in primary care; physicians are growing at less than 2% in primary care. "Nurse practitioners are the best solution to fill the great need for access to primary care," according to Dr. Jensen. - Source: American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

According to Health Affairs’ Health Policy Brief in October 2012, “In 2012, 18 states and the District of Columbia allowed nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications without a physician's involvement, while 32 states required physician involvement to diagnose and treat or prescribe medications.” The physician’s involvement maybe as little as a monthly meeting to discuss patient diagnosis and treatment.- Source: Health Affairs