Expanded scope of practice may boost patient outcomes, transition to value-based care

As many states expand the role of advanced-practice registered nurses and nurse practitioners, there's plenty of reasons to welcome this latest shift in the healthcare landscape, according to Healthcare Finance.

The redefinition of the scope of practice has not been free of controversy, as the American Medical Association has been a vocal about the need for sharp divisions between the roles of nurses and physicians because of differences in training and philosophy. But the trend can also provide significant benefits to providers of all varieties, according to the article.

To start, the expansion of provider roles will likely lead more clinicians to take advantage of federal incentives that allow them to create and stay in independent practices. These practices serve as a vital check to the trend of hospital and health system consolidation, the article argues. The strength in numbers and increased focus on preventive care that result from expanded practice scope also will give providers a better chance to embrace value-based payment models that can ultimately boost their bottom lines.

A recent Health Affairs study backs up these predictions, as its findings suggest that healthcare organizations might be able to increase productivity by adding more non-physician staff members, FierceHealthcare reported.

Scope of practice expansion can also pay off for patients, as one nonprofit organization recently noted that nurses play a major role in improving outcomes. The trend also has fueled a rise of specialization in the industry that allows providers to "double-down with a focus on outcomes, interaction, professional collaboration and prevention," according to Healthcare Finance. Furthermore, an increase in primary care practitioners can lead to more one-on-one interaction between providers and patients, and can be part of the solution to the long-troublesome issue of increasing patients' accountability in regard to their health outcomes, the article states.

To learn more:
- read the article