By 2030, there could be a shortage of up to 105,000 providers, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Nearly half of that shortage will affect primary care practices, which is leading many clinics to find new ways to bridge the gap and still deliver great patient experiences. Their solution? More reliance on nurse practitioners and other interdisciplinary providers, like physician assistants.
Making use of existing resources
A shortage of physicians combined with rising population numbers prompted the AAMC to push for higher medical school enrollment, but that’s not all. The group has also “focused on interprofessional teamwork to increase the use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants...” Why? Because a more team-based approach to healthcare is just one of the ways we can use our existing resources to drive great patient experiences when physician numbers are shrinking.
Along with an increased focus on interdisciplinary medicine, modifications to scope of practice laws and regulations could offer even more opportunities for NPs to deliver more care.
Collaboration Benefits Everyone
When nurse practitioners step in to assist providers in primary care environments, it facilitates a collaborative approach. At Vera, we’ve seen firsthand how collaboration in a primary care environment can deliver exceptional patient experiences. Our providers, nurse practitioners, health coaches, and medical staff work together to develop personalized care plans for every patient. The result is a more comprehensive approach to primary care that drives positive health outcomes. It also reduces the strain normally placed on providers alone.
We believe this same approach can work to help reduce strain on a healthcare environment running low on providers. We don’t see provider shortages as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity to practice primary care as a team.
It’s clear that the future is one with fewer providers. That’s a reality we have to face. We can't control how many students are choosing to go to medical school. Instead, we’re looking at the resources that are available. As part of a dedicated care team, quality nurse practitioners and physician assistants can ensure that great patient experiences are maintained, even in a system low on providers.