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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Examining the impact of nurse practitioner-led group medical visits for patients with chronic conditions in primary care Housden, Laura Michelle


The aging Canadian population, increasing incidence of chronic conditions, and rising healthcare costs have contributed to concerns that the current healthcare system may not meet healthcare needs. Canada has sought innovative ways to meet patients’ healthcare needs through reforms such as group medical visits (GMVs) and care by nurse practitioners (NPs). While studies have shown that care with NPs and GMVs is effective, there is limited evidence examining how NPs engage in innovative care delivery. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of NP-led GMVs for patients with chronic conditions in primary care. This study used multiple methods, including a systematic review and meta- analysis and a multisite case study (N=3). The systematic review and meta-analysis included studies published between 1947 and 2012 for patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes who attended GMVs. Of the 94 studies identified, 13 met final inclusion criteria. Group medical visits had a positive effect on clinical and patient-reported outcomes, with significant reductions in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c reduction −0.46%, 95% confidence interval −0.80% to −0.31%). The case study consisted of two cases where NPs were using GMVs and one where NPs were not using GMVs. Open-ended interviews with patients (N=12), providers (N=14) and 10 hours of direct observation were completed. Analysis of the data suggests that GMVs facilitated an environment that was patient centered, interprofessional and increased patients’ confidence managing chronic conditions. Furthermore, the processes of care within the GMVs disrupted power differentials in primary care, between patients and providers and amongst healthcare providers. Yet, these same power differentials constrained NPs’ ability to adopt GMVs, with NPs indicating that they had limited agency to diffuse healthcare innovations. Unique contributions of this study were a systematic review and meta-analysis of GMVs among those with diabetes and new knowledge on how power differentials influence the diffusion of innovations in primary care. These findings demonstrate that GMVs provide opportunities to meet clinical, team-based, and patient-centered healthcare objectives. Ongoing research that considers the context of practice environments, power differentials, and conditions that limit NPs ability to diffuse healthcare innovative is needed.

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