Primary care physician assistant and advance practice nurses roles: Patient healthcare utilization, unmet need, and satisfaction.
PURPOSE: Team-based care involving physician assistants (PAs) and advance practice nurses (APNs) is one strategy for improving access and quality of care. PA/APNs perform a variety of roles on primary care teams. However, limited research describes the relationship between PA/APN role and patient outcomes. We examined multiple outcomes associated with primary care PA/APN roles. METHODS: In this cross-sectional survey analysis, we studied adult respondents to the 2010 Health Tracking Household Survey. Outcomes included primary care and emergency department visits, hospitalizations, unmet need, and satisfaction. PA/APN role was categorized as physician only (no PA/APN visits; reference), usual provider (PA/APN provide majority of primary care visits) or supplemental provider (physician as usual provider, PA/APN provide a subset of visits). Multivariable logistic and multinomial logistic regressions were performed. RESULTS: Compared to people with physician only care, patients with PA/APNs as usual providers [5-9 visits RRR=2.4 (CI 1.8-3.4), 10+ visits RRR=3.0 (CI 2.0-4.5): reference 2-4 visits] and supplemental providers had increased risk of having 5 or more primary care visits [5-9 visits RRR=1.3 (CI 1.0-1.6)]. Patients reporting PA/APN as supplemental providers had increased risk of emergency department utilization [2+ visits: RRR 1.8 (CI 1.3, 2.5)], and lower satisfaction [very dissatisfied: RRR 1.8 (CI 1.03-3.0)]. No differences were seen for hospitalizations or unmet need. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare utilization patterns and satisfaction varied between adults with PA/APN in different roles, but reported unmet need did not. These findings suggest a wide range of outcomes should be considered when identifying the best PA/APN role on primary care teams.
Everett, CM; Morgan, P; Jackson, GL
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