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Are Nurse Practitioners Replacing Medical Doctors?

Posted by on 04 March 2019
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As of today 30% of U.S. providers are nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs) which is up from 24% in 2010. By 2025, NPs and PAs are expected to make up an even greater portion of providers because MDs are growing at a slower pace.

2019 Stats
Today there are 248,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. - more than double the number in 2007. Almost all NPs (95.8%) prescribe medications writing an average of 23 prescriptions per day. There are more than 1.06 billion patient visits annually to NPs. In addition, there are more than 123,000 certified PAs nationwide who prescribe and interact with patients upwards of 400 million times annually.

2030 Projections
A study using predictive modeling expects PA growth to continue at a rapid rate and more than double between 2015 and 2030 (121% growth) to reach 242,000 PAs in 2030. The number of PAs has already increased 106% between 2000 and 2010, and this trend will continue according to data published by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). In fact, as PA numbers grow at faster rates than physician numbers, projections suggest that the PA-to-physician ratio will change from 1 to 7 in 2015 to 1 to 3.5 in 2030.

Similarly, the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), a category that includes NPs, will also continue to increase dramatically reaching 449,000 by 2030. Forward looking projections suggest that APRN supply will more than double between 2015 and 2030 (109% growth), with this growth mainly coming from increased supply of NPs and little growth in supply of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and certified nurse-midwives (CNMs). The physician-to-APRN ratio is expected to go from 3.6 physicians for each APRN in 2015 to only 1.9 physicians for each APRN in 2030.

The solution to the physician shortage, already in effect, is NPs and PAs treating more patients in all settings. This has created an opportunity on which many pharma and medical device marketers and market researchers are capitalizing. The only question now is will you be one of them?

About the Author: Jay Levenson is immersed in the world of Advanced Practice Providers (NPs and PAs) and has been helping pharma marketers reach this prescriber segment for the past seven years at RNsights, the leader in reaching NPs/PAs/RNs. Contact Jay with any questions about marketing to Advanced Practice Providers.

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