Four Pivotal Ways Nurse Practitioners Play A Key Role In The Effort To Manage Healthcare Costs
As the country continues to face rising healthcare costs and a growing physician shortage, nurse practitioners (NPs) play a vital role in our healthcare system. How do NPs contribute to lowering healthcare costs? Here are four pivotal ways:
Timely and Early Interventions
NPs are often the initial point of contact for many patients in a primary care setting, and patients can usually schedule an appointment with an NP faster than they can get in to see the physician. They are trained to recognize and identify issues early on and focus on preventative care and overall health. By educating patients about disease prevention and also managing patients’ health concerns at this level, they can help reduce chronic conditions and prevent costly complications and treatments – and unnecessary visits to specialists and emergency rooms.
Accessible Treatment Plans and Patient Compliance
NPs are trained to create cost-effective treatment plans that take into account patients’ financial positions and insurance coverage while still providing quality care. They also allocate time to educating patients about the treatment plans and their conditions, leading to better patient compliance and reducing the need for additional treatment.
Significant Role in Chronic Disease Management
By providing patients with a broad understanding of their conditions and the tools available to effectively manage their own health, NPs play a chief role in preventing and managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. This can take the form of lifestyle counseling, healthy lifestyle choices, and guiding how to integrate the management of their condition into their daily lives. They can help ensure patients receive needed treatments and follow up by coordinating multidisciplinary care and helping them manage the healthcare system by ordering tests, helping to make appointments, providing guidance on managing prescription regimens, and monitoring symptoms. Additionally, an NP’s training includes supporting patients with the psychological effects, physical restrictions, and mental health issues of their chronic condition and providing counseling to help them cope, along with referring them to mental health experts for added support.
NPs are embracing telehealth and remote monitoring technologies more and more, which increases access to primary and specialty care at lower costs and helps patients receive timely care. Their training also influences their prescribing habits and makes them attentive to prescribing cost-effective generics when possible, making them more affordable to patients while also contributing to a general cost reduction in healthcare. NPs also tend to advocate healthcare policy and efforts that encourage economical healthcare solutions and increased access to care for all.
Ultimately, the comprehensive and patient-centered approach that nurse practitioners take in the care of their patients, along with their emphasis on preventative care, positions them as key contributors in the effort to manage healthcare costs without compromising quality care.