Nurse practitioners as an underutilized resource for health reform: evidence-based demonstrations of cost-effectiveness

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2010 Apr;22(4):228-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2010.00498.x.


Healthcare reform in 2009 was motivated by an imperative to reduce the relentless increase in spending on medical care. Many efforts to solve the problem focused on applying proven principles of evidence-based practice and cost-effectiveness to find the least-expensive way to produce a specific clinical service of acceptable quality. This paper combines economic analysis and reviews published literature to show how the goals of healthcare reform can be accomplished by allowing independently licensed nurse practitioners to provide their wide range of services directly to patients in a variety of clinical settings. The paper presents extensive, consistent evidence that nurse practitioners provide care of equal or better quality at lower cost than comparable services provided by other qualified health professionals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Evidence-Based Nursing
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Nurse Practitioners* / economics
  • Nurse Practitioners* / statistics & numerical data
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Quality of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms / organization & administration
  • United States