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Article Title

Consultation and Referral Patterns of Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

Publication Date

4-30-2015

Keywords

nurse practitioners, consultations, referrals

Abstract

Background/Aims: The aims of the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Consultation & Referral Patterns study included: a) determining the percentage of patients for which primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) request referrals or formal consultations; and b) exploring the patient, provider and system characteristics associated with variation in consultation/referral. Specifically, the project will contribute to understanding the decision-making models for when and how patients are referred by NPs to physicians and other health care providers.

Methods: Primary care NPs who were individual members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners were invited to participate in the study. During a 3-week period, participants recorded summary data identifying: a) all the patients seen on a particular day, b) the number of patients seen by age category, and c) the type of patient visit. When any visit occurs in which they initiate an informal consult, formal consult or referral, the NPs recorded de-identified data to describe the encounter, preferably at the time they completed their routine charting after each of these encounters.

Results: Results are forthcoming. Data collection is ongoing through September 30, 2014, and the analysis will be completed by February 2015. Descriptive statistics will be used to examine the distribution of key outcome and predictor variables. Means and standard deviations will be computed for continuous variables and percentages for categorical variables. These data will be used to describe the study participants, address the research questions and inform the statistical analysis.

Discussion: Conclusions will contribute to understanding the decision-making models for when and how primary care NPs are consulting and referring.

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