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May 17, 2000

Health Outcomes Among Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(19):2521-2524. doi:10.1001/jama.283.19.2521

To the Editor: The study by Dr Mundinger and colleagues1 describes outcomes of patients treated by nurse practitioners or physicians. Although outcomes of these groups were similar at the end of the study, it is not clear that this result was solely due to the quality of care provided. Although the authors state that " . . . a similar number of patients were scheduled per session in each clinic," it is likely that with the introduction of the new nurse practitioner clinic, fewer patients were seen at the new site per clinic session during the early part of the study. This is important because it is generally recognized that patient satisfaction is closely related to the length of time that a practitioner spends with a patient. It has also been demonstrated that patient satisfaction correlates strongly with patient adherence.2 Measuring the differences in productivity between the 2 groups would give a clearer picture of the total caseload of each group of practitioners during the study.

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