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Use of physician assistants and advance practice nurses in hospital outpatient departments

Patients are increasingly seeing only a physician assistant or advance practice nurse when visiting a hospital outpatient department, although the rate is still low. The use of PAs and APNs for patient visits increased from 10% of visits in 2000-01 to 15% in 2008-09, an increase of 50%.

As might be expected, patients in rural areas were more likely to see only a PA or APN than their urban counterparts – 36% of visits in rural locations compared to 6% in metropolitan areas. Smaller hospitals, non-teaching hospitals, and general medicine or obstetrics/gynecology issues were also likelier to involve PA- or APN-only visits.

Hing E and Uddin S. Physician assistant and advance practice nurse care in hospital outpatient departments: United States, 2008-2009. NCHS [National Center for Health Statistics] Data Brief, no. 77, Nov. 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db77.pdf

Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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