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May 17, 2000

Health Outcomes Among Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians—Reply

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

In Reply: I agree with most of Dr Poplin's comments. I disagree with her contention that we should encourage nurse practitioners to practice independently, without requiring them to prove that they measure up to physicians in caring for very sick patients. Our society requires the proponents of new drugs and new tests to prove that the new technology is as effective as the established technology. In this way, those who pay for health care, or those who use it, can decide whether the new technology is effective in a specific situation. Shouldn't patients know if physicians are better than nurse practitioners at some aspect of primary care so that they can decide when to ask for a consultation?