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NEW YORK — With physicians already in short supply and millions of uninsured Americans set to enter the healthcare system in 2014 as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes effect, nurses and physician assistants are stepping up to fill the gap and are increasingly taking a central role in helping patients stay on therapy, according to Manhattan Research's "Taking the Pulse Nurses 2013" study.
"Nurse practitioners are playing a key role in driving medication adherence while using a variety of support tools, including digital support and services," Shawn Dimantha, principal analyst at Manhattan Research, stated.
Promoting adherence to treatment is becoming all the more important to providers and health systems in light of the healthcare reform-fueled shift toward outcomes-based reimbursement. The study, for which Manhattan Research surveyed 909 practicing U.S. nurses and physician assistants, found that:
- Nearly 9-out-of-10 NPs provide patients resources to help them stay on track with their medicines, and 3-out-of-10 NPs have referred them to such digital adherence tools as websites or apps
- Almost half of NPs said the time they spend on patient education has increased over the past two years
- More than 3-out-of-5 NPs said patient outcomes will be a top priority in their practice for the next one to two years
"As NPs spend more time on patient education, there is an opportunity for pharma to extend services beyond the pill, including providing more engaging online patient education materials and tools that help patients stay on their medication,” Dimantha stated.