Tuesday, December 23, 2014

INQRI Brief: Non-Physicians Can Address Primary Care Shortage

A pending primary care shortage may be best addressed by implementing promising strategies that fully utilize non-physician health care professionals in new systems of care, according to a new research brief co-authored by INQRI Co-Directors Mary Naylor and Mark Pauly with Janet Weiner.

With approximately 30 million people expected to gain coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), demands on primary care services will no doubt grow. The brief, Primary Care Shortages: It’s More Than Just a Head Count, examines how the ACA will affect the delivery of primary care, and reviews recent research on the primary care shortage and possible strategies to address it.

The brief outlines several strategies that show promise for addressing these demands. Among them is ACA’s investments in health professional education and training to increase the number of primary care providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Other models, like retail clinics could ensure that more people can access primary care services, particularly in rural areas.

Ultimately, allowing health care providers to practice to the full extent of their education and training is central to increasing access to primary care, the authors write.

An article on the brief from RWJF’s December 2014 Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge is available here.

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