Nonphysician Clinicians

Nurse Practitioner Popularity Grows

Patients generally prefer physicians to nurse practitioners (NP) or physicians assistants (PA) assuming a visit to either costs the same.  However, what happens when one takes into account waiting times? A paper by Dill et al. (2013) reveals the following:

Respondents were given a choice between seeing a physician assistant or nurse practitioner today or a physician tomorrow for a worsening cough. Nearly 60 percent preferred the physician assistant or nurse practitioner today, with only 25 percent preferring to wait a day to see a physician.

As patients interact more frequently with NPs and PAs, their popularity is only likely to grow.

Those with recent exposure to a physician assistant or nurse practitioner were more likely to want to see one again than to wait a day for the physician. Those who had never seen one showed a slight preference for waiting for the physician visit, 43.0 percent, compared to 39.5 percent who preferred a physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

Medicare beneficiaries, paticularly those with Medigap, are least likely to have seen a PA or NP. Unsurprisingly, Medicaid beneificiaries are most likely to visit an NP or PA.


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