Many primary care physicians say they would like to work with a registered nurse (RN) and many registered nurses are interested in entering this area of practice. So what’s stopping more collaboration between physicians and RNs? The main reason is perceived cost. This is an important consideration, but does not necessarily have to be an obstacle. For the team approach to be cost-effective, at least one of the following two things must happen.
Increased access: More patients will need to be seen by the physician-RN team. If the team can provide care to two to three additional patients each hour than the physician alone, the arrangement normally becomes cost effective. In most circumstances, physicians can bill the province for care provided there is some interaction with the client.
Enhanced patient outcomes: Many provinces and territories have financial incentives in place to ensure targets for screening and chronic disease management are met. As a team, the physician and registered nurse can enhance care in these areas, reach health-care targets and receive extra compensation.
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