November 18, 2020

Firefly Explains: Nurse Practitioners & Doctors

What's the difference between an MD (physician) and an NP (Nurse Practitioner)?

We get the question quite often. At the highest level, the answer is that there's less of a difference than most people might think. In fact, nurse practitioners have been the backbone of primary care for decades. And, at Firefly, they’re the core of the continuous care we provide.

In primary care, so much of what keeps people healthy is not medical procedures or interventions; it's communication and behavior. It's about working with patients to get them to do less of something (smoking, drinking) or more of something (exercising, eating right). This philosophy of teaching patients better behaviors is a fundamental element in the nursing field and has proven to be an effective long-term care strategy.

Does the Physician "Supervise" the NPs?

Another common question. We prefer the term "support". The studies have shown that outcomes with NPs are comparable to MD-driven care, so Firefly NPs dictate the courses of our care plans. The role of the MD is to support the NP, and to jump in to help solve more complex medical questions, should they arise, since they tend to have more knowledge of rare diagnoses or uncommon conditions.

In the outdated current model, physicians' time is often poorly spent. They are managing relationships, lining up referrals, filling prescriptions and more. With Firefly, it's the greater Care Team, led by the patient's NP,  that handles much of the day-to-day, freeing the physician up to concentrate on the highest-levels of the patient's needs. We have moved on from the patient/doctor relationship to the patient/Care Team relationship.

Our approach to continuous care is about partnership, management and behavior. While there are technical differences between MDs and NPs, we believe the most effective care uses this partnership to its advantage.  By working together, the team can provide continuous care based on your needs.

For a quick snapshot, take a look at the care MDs and NPs can provide below:

The difference in care that MDs and NPs can provide.

Any further questions? We're always available to chat on the Firefly App. Not a member yet? Get started by signing up on our website, or giving us a call at (855) 869-9284.

Get started with Firefly Health

Takes 2 minutes   ·   No fees  ·   Cancel anytime