AAFP: 72% of Patients Prefer Physicians to NPs

Jacqueline Fellows, December 19, 2013

Nurses and physicians are at odds over who is qualified to take the lead in caring for the expected surge of newly insured Americans that will strain primary care providers.

A study commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows 72% patients prefer physicians over nurse practitioners for their medical care.

"We decided in the setting of everybody talking about patient-centered medical homes and transforming healthcare that it would be really important to go out and ask patients what they thought about how their healthcare is provided, says Reid Blackwelder, M.D., president of AAFP. The survey of 1,363 adults was taken in early November.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners, also curious about what type of care patients want, released its own study last month showing that healthcare consumers are in favor of expanding responsibility for NPs.

The two surveys do not exactly contradict each other, but it does indicate the two sides—nurses and doctors—are digging in their heels over who is qualified to take the lead in caring for the expected surge of newly insured Americans that will strain primary care providers.

According the AAFP survey, only 7% of respondents said they would prefer a nurse practitioner over a physician while 16% indicated no preference and 5% said they didn't know.

Jacqueline Fellows

Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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