Substituting nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses for physicians in healthcare for the aging population may achieve healthcare quality at least as good as care provided by physicians, according to a review of published studies.
The review assessed outcomes such as patient morbidity, mortality, satisfaction, and quality of life; quality of healthcare; provider workload and job satisfaction; medication use; and costs. Evidence from two randomized controlled trials showed no effect on approximately half of the outcomes and a positive effect on the other half of these outcomes. Evidence from eight studies with other comparative study designs supported most of the results of the randomized trials.
"Additional well-designed studies are needed to draw affirmative conclusions regarding quality of healthcare, costs and cost-effectiveness," wrote the authors of the Journal of Advanced Nursing review.