A Classic Manuscript Reprinted in Celebration of 25 Years of Progress
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From July 1971, to July 1972, in a large suburban Ontario practice of two family physicians, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to assess the effects of substituting nurse practitioners for physicians in primary-care practice. Before and after the trial, the health status of patients who received conventional care from family physicians was compared with the status of those who received care mainly from nurse practitioners. Both groups of patients had a similar mortality experience, and no differences were found in in physical functional capacity, social function or emotional function. The quality of care rendered to the two groups seemed similar, as assessed by a quantitative "indicator-condition" approach. Satisfaction was high among both patients and professional personnel. Although cost effective from society's point of view, the new method of primary care was not financially profitable to doctors because of current restrictions on reimbursement for the nurse-practitioner services.
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