Nurse-led versus physician-led primary care

Added June 20, 2020

Citation: Martínez-González NA, Djalali S, Tandjung R, et al. Substitution of physicians by nurses in primary care: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Health Services Research 2014 Dec;14(1):214.

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare services, workers and resources. Existing research on substituting physicians with nurses may provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing nurse-led care with care by primary care physicians. They restricted their search to articles published in English and did the search in August 2012. They included 20 individual randomised trials, 3 cluster randomised trials and one quasi-randomised trial (total: 38,974 participants) and 2 studies with cost data from 2 of the randomised trials; but concluded that assessing substitution of physicians by nurses is still substantially limited by methodological deficiencies in the available studies.

What works: Nurse-led care seemed to improve patient satisfaction and reduce hospital admissions and mortality compared to physician-led care.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: The effects on quality of life and costs of care for nurse-led care versus physician-led care are uncertain.


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