Nurse Practitioner Practice Environments in Primary Care and Quality of Care for Chronic Diseases

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Background:The chronic disease burden in the United States represents a significant challenge for the primary care system. The nurse practitioner (NP) workforce can help meet the demand for care; however, organizational barriers such as poor practice environments prevent NPs from delivering high quality care.Objectives:We investigated the relationship between NP practice environments and quality of care for chronic diseases.Research Design:We fit regression models to assess cross-sectional associations between claims-based quality measure performance and survey data on NP practice environments in Massachusetts.Subjects:We used survey data from 221 primary care NPs from 118 practices. We obtained quality of care data for patients with asthma, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.Measures:The Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Organizational Climate Questionnaire was used to measure practice environments with its following 4 subscales: NP-Physician Relations, Independent Practice and Support, Professional Visibility, and NP-Administration Relations. Three Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set measures were used to evaluate the quality of care.Results:A 1-SD increase in the organizational-level NP-Administration Relations subscale score was associated with a near doubling of the odds of receiving medication management for asthma. A 1-SD increase in the organizational-level Independent Practice and Support subscale score was associated with a 60% increase in the odds of receiving recommended screening for cardiovascular disease. There was no impact on diabetes care measure.Conclusions:NP practice environment affected the quality of care for 2 chronic conditions. Efforts should be implemented to improve NP practice environment to potentially improve care quality.

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