According to a new study published in the November 24th, JAMA Internal Medicine, nurse practitioners order more costly diagnostic imaging examinations than primary care physicians do in order to evaluate similar patients. Advanced practice clinicians, including Nurse Practitioners, order imaging be performed for 2.8% of their patients following an office visit compared to 1.9% for primary care physicians. While this percentage may seem small, when states, governments, or other payers are seeking to lower costs and maintain quality for a population of patients – these numbers equal real dollars.
“… efforts to expand access to care by simply substituting advanced practice clinicians for physicians without careful imaging appropriateness mechanisms may further elevate health care costs and potentially increase unnecessary radiation exposure…”
JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 24, 2014. Abstract; Read more at Medscape.