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Is Care Improved by a Collaborative Approach?

December 22, 2020

Advanced practice nurses work alongside physicians in many settings. As more facilities employ nurse practitioners to work with their doctors, you may wonder: is care improved by a collaborative approach?

The truth is that care is better when physicians and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) or nurse practitioners work together in a collaborative care model. When these professionals come together to treat the patient, the result is a synergistic effect that improves care outcomes and increases satisfaction.

To find out how, read on.

Improved Care Outcomes

A care approach by a doctor and APRN team improves:

  • Lab work including lipid levels and A1c results
  • Blood pressure
  • Symptoms
  • Quality of life
  • Fewer hospitalizations and ER visits
  • Lower care costs

A recent article on collaborative care between physicians and nurses found that outcomes improves in many areas. To sum up, the results were better compliance, lower symptom severity, and fewer hospitalizations.

There are many reasons for these findings. Firstly, when doctors and nurses work together on a treatment plan, they complement each other. Each brings a different set of skills, knowledge, and background. Putting these two views together gives a better picture of the patient and how to treat them.

Physician and APRN teams provide a more comprehensive treatment plan that addresses more factors affecting health and illness than each one could alone.

Increased Satisfaction

Certainly, a team approach improves satisfaction in many ways. Patients, family members or caregivers, and the healthcare providers themselves report more contentment from this care model.

One reason for increased satisfaction is the focus on health promotion. Nurse practitioners provide education. They can counsel patients and families, and they even perform care coordination. Patients and families get great benefits from this added care management. It makes them feel they are getting better care.

Secondly, when APRNs work with physicians in outpatient settings, they help to increase efficiency and optimize patient care. For example, clinics or offices that use nurse practitioners are able to give patients more appointments. These care teams can make same-day visits, walk-ins, and extended hours possible. APRNs can provide routine health care services, while letting physicians to treat the more complex cases.

The Future for Collaborative Care

Healthcare continues to change. Read more about in our article here. More doctors and patients are focusing on preventative care, health, and wellness.

Meanwhile, factors such as a growing, aging population and increased access to care under the Affordable Care Act have helped create a greater demand for physicians. The workforce is not able to meet the need. Moreover, the physician shortage is expected to continue. Nurse practitioners are one of the answers to this crisis.

Working with doctors, nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat patients in many settings from hospitals to specialty clinics.

Nurses provide health promotion and education. Consequently, APRNs complement the care that physicians provide. They are an integral part of the healthcare team. The results of this doctor-nurse collaborative care model include improved health outcomes and increased satisfaction.

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