Background: Changes in federal health policy are providing more access to medical care for persons with chronic disease. Providing quality care may require a team approach, which the American College of Physicians calls the “medical home.” One new model may involve nurse-managed protocols.
Purpose: To determine whether nurse-managed protocols are effective for outpatient management of adults with diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.
Data Sources: MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, and CINAHL from January 1980 through January 2014.
Study Selection: Two reviewers used eligibility criteria to assess all titles, abstracts, and full texts and resolved disagreements by discussion or by consulting a third reviewer.
Data Extraction: One reviewer did data abstractions and quality assessments, which were confirmed by a second reviewer.
Data Synthesis: From 2954 studies, 18 were included. All studies used a registered nurse or equivalent who titrated medications by following a protocol. In a meta-analysis, hemoglobin A1c level decreased by 0.4% (95% CI, 0.1% to 0.7%) (n = 8); systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 3.68 mm Hg (CI, 1.05 to 6.31 mm Hg) and 1.56 mm Hg (CI, 0.36 to 2.76 mm Hg), respectively (n = 12); total cholesterol level decreased by 0.24 mmol/L (9.37 mg/dL) (CI, 0.54-mmol/L decrease to 0.05-mmol/L increase [20.77-mg/dL decrease to 2.02-mg/dL increase]) (n = 9); and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol level decreased by 0.31 mmol/L (12.07 mg/dL) (CI, 0.73-mmol/L decrease to 0.11-mmol/L increase [28.27-mg/dL decrease to 4.13-mg/dL increase]) (n = 6).
Limitation: Studies had limited descriptions of the interventions and protocols used.
Conclusion: A team approach that uses nurse-managed protocols may have positive effects on the outpatient management of adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia.
Primary Funding Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.