Measuring performance of professional role substitution models of care against traditional medical care in healthcare—A systematic review

Rumbidzai N. Mutsekwa*, Charlene Wright, Joshua M. Byrnes, Russell Canavan, Rebecca L. Angus, Alan Spencer, Katrina L. Campbell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To identify outcome measures used to evaluate performance of healthcare professional role substitution against usual medical doctor or specialist medical doctor care to facilitate our understanding of the adequacy of these measures in assessing quality of healthcare delivery. 

Methods: Using a systematic approach, we searched Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science from database inception until May 2020. Studies that presented original comparative data on at least one outcome measure were included following screening by two authors. Findings were synthesized, and outcome measures classified into six domains which included: effectiveness, safety, appropriateness, access, continuity of care, efficiency, and sustainability which were informed by the Institute of Medicine dimensions of healthcare quality, the Australian health performance framework, and Levesque and Sutherland's integrated performance measurement framework. 

Results: One thirty five articles met the inclusion criteria, describing 58 separate outcome measures. Safety of role substitution models of care was assessed in 80 studies, effectiveness (n = 60), appropriateness (n = 40), access (n = 36), continuity of care (n = 6), efficiency and productivity (n = 45). Two-thirds of the studies that assessed productivity and efficiency performed an economic analysis (n = 27). The quality and rigour of evaluations varied substantially across studies, with two-thirds of all studies measuring and reporting outcomes from only one or two of these domains. 

Conclusions: There are a growing number of studies measuring the performance of non-medical healthcare professional substitution roles. Few have been subject to robust evaluations, and there is limited evidence on the scientific rigour and adequacy of outcomes measured. A systematic and coordinated approach is required to support healthcare settings in assessing the value of non-medical role substitution healthcare delivery models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-217
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Early online date17 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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