In a study conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will be faced with a shortage of an estimated 90,000 physicians by 2020. That figure is fully expected to reach beyond 130,000 by 2025. Small wonder nurse practitioners and physician assistants are filling an increasingly vital role in providing primary medical care. Several decades of research has also demonstrated that nurse practitioners (NPs) consistently achieve equivalent outcomes with their patient treatments compared to those patients treated by physicians.
In light of the growing need for NPs and their increasingly important role in the health care industry, here are the top 5 ways nurse practitioners benefit the health industry.
Reducing the Cost of Patient Visits
Varying medical practice settings can realize an extensive savings by employing NPs. One study demonstrated that nurse practitioners delivered care at 23% less than the average cost associated with physicians. Many believe this is because NPs earn a lower salary than physicians. However, more savings are realized through better patient health and lower drug costs than through salary differences.
Treating the Whole Patient
NPs often go beyond mere diagnosis and treatment for their patients, even addressing holistic healthcare needs. This can include counseling regarding exercise and diet as well as patient-oriented troubleshooting on how to address other health issues. With their training, background and sensitivity, NPs are often more interested in the whole patient, not just their current malady.
Nurse Practitioners are Trusted by Their Patients
NPs consistently outscore other healthcare providers in patient satisfaction, with their proven ability to listen and understand patient concerns regarding healthcare. In fact, according to a 2011 study, only 50% of patients felt their doctor listened carefully to their concerns, compared to over 80%of patients seeing NPs. This willingness to listen builds a solid trust between patients and providers. When patients trust their provider, they are more likely to follow their advice and treatments.
NPs Spend More Time with Patients
NPs consistently demonstrate a more patient-centered approach to treatment, mainly by spending more time with patients than the typical physician. Taking the time to accommodate patients by answering questions, counseling, and educating them always contributes to improving patient health, and reducing patient and provider costs. Patients know when their healthcare provider cares. Quality care is often spelled T-I-M-E.
Cost-Efficient Education and Training
Nurse practitioners begin their careers by providing nursing care, then building on that care with increasingly higher levels of professional training. Moreover, an NP’s graduate training normally focuses on one specialty area, and includes hands-on as well as academic training. Contrast this with medical school, where students often embark on graduate-level education with no prior experience in patient care. As a result, NP education provides a better practitioner at 20-25% less cost.
At Pediatric Healthcare of Northwest Houston, P.A., our physicians and nurse practitioners provide personalized and professional care for every child. We believe each child is unique, and deserves our best in both time and care, from infancy through adolescence. In the Houston area, call (281) 655-1500; in The Woodlands/Conroe area, call (936) 539-8190 for appointment information, or schedule an appointment online.