Study: Nurse practitioners role in patience adherence intensifies
By Mia Burns (email@example.com)
Nurse and physician assistants are stepping up to fill the gap as doctors are already in short supply and millions of uninsured Americans are expected to enter the healthcare system once the Affordable Care Act goes into effect. Nurse practitioners, in particular, are taking a central role in patient adherence, according to Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse Nurses 2013 study.
Promoting medication adherence is becoming increasingly important to providers and health systems during the healthcare reform-fueled shift towards outcomes-based reimbursement. The Manhattan Research study surveyed practicing U.S. nurses and physician assistants. Among the key findings are: nearly 9 out of 10 nurse practitioners provide patients resources to help them stay on track with their medicines, and 3 in 10 nurse practitioners have referred patients to digital adherence tools such as websites or apps; almost half of nurse practitioners said the time they spend on patient education has increased over the past two years; and more than three in five nurse practitioners said patient outcomes are a top priority in their practice for the next one to two years.
“The primary care physician workforce is already quite stretched,” says Shawn Dimantha, principal analyst at Manhattan Research. “The American Medical Association claimed a shortage of 9,000 primary care physicians in 2010 and with millions of uninsured people entering the healthcare marketplace, the already stretched physician base is most likely going to have an increasingly difficult time dealing with this new patient demand. A large part of this increase in responsibilities is also due to nurse practitioner professional organizations, like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, pushing for increased scope of practice laws on a state by state basis. Finally, nurse practitioners are becoming even more accessible as we start to see the rise of retail clinics in locations like CVS and other retail outlets, where nurse practitioners are the primary clinical staff on hand, and telemedicine offerings allowing for remote consultation with patients.”
Nurse practitioners spending more time on patient education will provide pharma an opportunity to extend services beyond the pill. “Nurse practitioners typically receive information from pharma companies through patient education and financial assistance programs,” Dimantha told Med Ad News Daily. “These services allow nurse practitioners to provide more information on disease/condition management and accessibility of treatments to patients. Nurse practitioners play a strong role in making sure patients take their medications, not only because they often have the ability to prescribe medications, but also because they are more accessible to patients than physicians are. Medication adherence/compliance has been a huge focus for pharma companies over the past few years and nurse practitioners are key partners in this process. Pharma sees this situation as a win-win for all parties involved: healthcare costs and complications are reduced, pharma revenues strengthen, and patient outcomes improve.”
Regarding digital support tools and services, smartphone and tablet apps are popular ways for nurse practitioners to find clinical information and supplement patient care include apps from Epocrates, Medscape, and UpToDate, says Dimantha.
As nurse practitioner responsibilities continue to evolve, changes to nursing curriculum to help introduce new clinical training will occur. “Nurse practitioners can also choose to specialize in different therapeutic areas as these fields become more lucrative,” Dimantha told Med Ad News Daily. “Much of the increase responsibility is also facilitated through continuing education programs from organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, which has been lobbying for an increased clinical role for nurse practitioners for many years, and has been emboldened by the urgency of recent healthcare reform. The Institute of Medicine’s ‘The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health’ report made several recommendations for nurses/nurse practitioners including the promotion of increased levels of education/training for these professionals, and recommendation that nurses practice to the full extent of their education/training.”
Posted: September 2013