Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners in Primary Care Plus: a Systematic Review
Van Erp, R.M.A.; van Doorn, A.L.; van den Brink, G.T.; Peters, J.W.B.; Laurant, M.G.H.; van Vught, A.J.
International Journal of Integrated Care 21(1): 6
ISSN/ISBN: 1568-4156 PMID: 33613138 Accession: 072317770
Shifting specialist care from the hospital to primary care/community care (also called primary care plus) is proposed as one option to reduce the increasing healthcare costs, improve quality of care and accessibility. The aim of this systematic review was to get insight in primary care plus provided by physician assistants or nurse practitioners. Scientific databases and reference list were searched. Hits were screened on title/abstract and full text. Studies published between 1990-2018 with any study design were included. Risk of bias assessment was performed using QualSyst tool. Search resulted in 5.848 hits, 15 studies were included. Studies investigated nurse practitioners only. Primary care plus was at least equally effective as hospital care (patient-related outcomes). The number of admission/referral rates was significantly reduced in favor of primary care plus. Barriers to implement primary care plus included obtaining equipment, structural funding, direct access to patient-data. Facilitators included multidisciplinary collaboration, medical specialist support, protocols. Quality of care within primary care plus delivered by nurse practitioners appears to be guaranteed, at patient-level and professional-level, with better access to healthcare and fewer referrals to hospital. Most studies were of restricted methodological quality. Findings should be interpreted with caution.