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.
We investigated the relationship between NP practice environments and quality of care for chronic diseases.
We fit regression models to assess cross-sectional associations between claims-based quality measure performance and survey data on NP practice environments in Massachusetts.
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.
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.
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.
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.