Healthcare News & Insights

More non-docs handling patient visits on their own

A new report from the CDC shows the number of outpatient visits handled by physician assistants (PAs) and advance practice nurses (APNs) is skyrocketing.

According to the report, hospital outpatient department visits attended only by PAs or APNs increased by 50% between 2000 and 2009. But not all areas are seeing the same level of growth. More urban hospitals are less likely to have PAs and APNs handle patient visits on their own.

Some specialties rely more on PAs and APNs, as well. More visits with only a PA or APN were made to general medicine (21%) and OB/GYN (19%) practices. The specialties least-likely to rely on PAs and APNs for these visits were pediatrics (8%) and surgical (5%).

The types of visits most likely to be handled solely by a PA or APN were visits where a patient was coming in to discuss a new issue (22%). Other types of patient visits included treatment for a flare-up of a chronic condition (14%), routine treatment of a chronic condition (11%) and pre- or post-op care (6%).

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