NPs, PAs provide same care quality as physicians for diabetes patients, study finds

Diabetes patients who receive primary care from nurse practitioners and physician assistants have similar intermediate outcomes as patients who are treated by primary care physicians, a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found.

The researchers looked at data from the Department of Veterans Affairs' EHR to analyze potential differences in diabetes outcomes in patients of physicians, NPs and PAs. The study included data from more than 300,000 adults with diabetes who were treated by 3,487 physicians, 1,445 NPs and 443 PAs across 568 VA primary care centers.

Diabetes outcomes the researchers assessed included mean hemoglobin A1c, systolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

Of the study participants, 74.9 percent received primary care from a physician, 18.2 percent received care from NPs and 6.9 percent received primary care from PAs.

"No clinically significant variation was found among the three [primary care provider] types with regard to diabetes outcomes, suggesting that similar chronic illness outcomes may be achieved by physicians, NPs and PAs," the researchers concluded.

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