The coming changes in the healthcare industry means that more healthcare professionals will be needed. There are not enough doctors to fill the gap, but there are other types of providers who can help with these needs. One such health professional is a nurse practitioner. NPs can prescribe, treat, diagnose, or order necessary labs. By performing these necessary tasks, patients can be treated without the need for waiting for the already-overworked physician to see them. This speeds up the processing time and allows more cases to be seen every day. Therefore, the cases that truly require physician attention can be focused on more in-depth since physicians will not have to be rushing from room to room in order to process everyone who comes into the office.
"The idea is that not every patient visit needs to be with a physician. The physician culture for decades was that doctors have to do everything, that that's the only person who can do that care, and that's probably not true. With multiple other team members -- nurse practitioners, physician assistants, but also just regular not advanced practice nurses, medical assistants -- with these folks working together, they can do the care that doesn't require the physician, therefore it extends the practice." ~ Dr. Glen Stream, President-Elect (American Academy of Family Physicians)
There is also the aspect of billing costs. Since NPs make less than physicians, it is less costly for them to treat patients because of billable hours and they can also afford to spend the time in one-on-one sessions educating the patient on their illness and how to get healthy. With estimates showing that 30-60% of current healthcare can be provided by NPs or other non-physicians, it makes sense to look into these areas for the future of medicine. By utilizing as many health providers as possible in a variety of roles, the influx of new patients will not overwhelm the system and care will not have to be compromised. In the end, patient care is the most important aspect of medicine.