Nurse practitioners play greater role in patient adherence

The physician shortage will exacerbate once millions of uninsured patients enroll for coverage through healthcare reform and seek treatment for long-ignored medical conditions. In response, many nurse practitioners (NPs) are filling the void, putting particular emphasis on promoting patient adherence to therapy and medicine, according to a study by Manhattan Research.

The annual study of nurses found:

  • Nearly 90 percent of NPs provide patients with resources to help them with medication adherence, and three out of 10 have helped patients find digitial tools, such as apps or websites. to stay on track;

  • Almost half of NPs say they have spent more time educating patients during the past two years; and 

  • More than three out of five NPs described patient outcomes as one of their practice's main priorities.

"Nurse practitioners are playing a key role in driving medication adherence while using a variety of support tools, including digital support and services," Shawn Dimantha, principal analyst at Manhattan Research, said in the research announcement. "As NPs spend more time on patient education, there is an opportunity for pharma to extend services beyond the pill, including providing more engaging online patient education materials and tools that help patients stay on their medication."

The forthcoming implementation of healthcare reform has led nurse practitioners to push for a greater role in primary care. This summer, the American Nurses Association (ANA) submitted a recommendation that insurers selling plans in online exchanges be required to grant credentials to a minimum number of NPs. And a June Health Affairs study found a majority of healthcare consumers would rather see an NP or a physician assistant than wait to see a physician, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Moreover, a May survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 77 percent of NPs believed their expanded role in primary care would result in lower costs.

 To learn more:
- here's the research announcement

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