Primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) involve practicing clinicians in asking and answering clinical and organizational questions central to primary health care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed its PBRN initiative in recognition of this work and its ability to improve the health of all Americans, and the potential of these networks to engage clinicians in quality improvement activities.
This fact sheet shows that primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are more likely to practice in rural areas than are non-primary care specialists, but are still more concentrated in urban areas.
The Number of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Practicing Primary Care in the United States
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are health professions begun in the United States in the 1960s in response to shortages and uneven distribution of physicians.
Among physicians in the United States who spend the majority of their time in direct patient care, slightly less than one-third are specialists in primary care.
To further inform policy discussions around the U.S. primary care workforce, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is producing a set of fact sheets to provide health care policy and decisionmakers with information on the U.S. primary care workforce.
AHRQ has awarded four cooperative grants to support model State-level initiatives using primary care extension agents in small and mid-sized independent primary care practices to assist with primary care redesign.