(HealthDay News) – Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) can effectively perform a range of roles on primary care teams caring for patients with diabetes, according to a study published in the November issue of Health Affairs.
Christine Everett, PhD, from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC, and colleagues used Medicare claims and electronic health record data from a large physician group to compare outcomes for adult Medicare patients with diabetes who were cared for by teams that included PAs or NPs and those who received care from physicians only.
The researchers found that for four comparisons, outcomes were superior for the patients receiving care from PAs or NPs, while in three other comparisons, the outcomes were superior for patients receiving care from physicians only. Different patterns in the measure of the quality of diabetes care and use of health care services were associated with specific PA and NP roles. However, no role was best for all outcomes.
“Training and policy should continue to support role flexibility for these health professionals,” the authors write.