JAMA: Nurses’ Primary Care Outcomes Rival MDs’
Patients who receive primary medical care from nurse practitioners fare as well as patients treated by physicians, according to a study published in today's JAMA. Researchers led by a team at Columbia University randomly assigned 1,316 patients to either nurse practitioners or physicians for six months and found patients in both groups experienced the same improvement in symptoms of asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes, and similar overall health gains. Researchers also reported no differences in patient satisfaction or use of health resources between nurse practitioners and physicians. Nonetheless, the AMA criticized the study's focus on a "narrow population" -- consisting mostly of healthy, middle- aged Hispanic women enrolled in Medicaid -- and in an accompanying editorial, one primary care expert pointed to the study's failure to provide data suggesting how advanced nurses would perform in complex and emergency situations (Winslow, Wall Street Journal, 1/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.