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Team-Based Care: Latest Data on Family Physician, PA, and NP Practices

Team-Based Care: Latest Data on Family Physician, PA, and NP Practices

A recent study published in Family Medicine demonstrates the positive impact on practice capacity and scope of practice of family physicians (FPs) when nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), or both work in a team-based model within their practices. According to the authors, this study is the first to report on the practice changes of FPs who work with NPs and PAs using a large representative sample size of FPs. The aim of the study was to “determine if patient panel size and scope of practice of family physicians varied with the presence of an NP, a PA, or both at their primary practice site.” Authors obtained their data from the American Board of Family Medicine practice demographic questionnaires, completed by FPs registered to take the Family Medicine Certification Examination from 2013 to 2016. The sample size provided researchers with 27,836 responses from FPs in direct patient care practice, excluding FPs identifying urgent/emergent care or hospital-affiliated practices as their primary practice. Among other findings, the data demonstrated working with PAs seemed to allow FPs to see a greater number of patients and provide more services than working with NPs.

Identified as a major limitation of the study, data were not collected on provider panel management; thus, researchers were not able to identify if the NPs and PAs worked within the FP’s panel or held their own. Additionally, authors recognize that study data were self-reported and therefore may be subject to recall bias. Nonetheless, the authors conclude that the study provides the first empirical evidence of higher practice capacity when FPs provide team-based care with NPs and PAs. This is a great resource for those of you who are developing proposals to implement team-based care within your practices.

  • Dai M, Ingham R, Peterson L. Scope of practice and patient panel size of family physicians who work with nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Fam Med. 2019;51:311-318.

Filed under: Health Policy and Trends

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