Advance Practice Providers trusted members of healthcare team
In light of a continuing national shortage of family practice and internal medicine physicians, "advance practice providers" (APPs) continue to grow in importance in ensuring enough providers are available to meet the growing demand for ongoing patient care.
"Advance practice providers, in
collaboration with physicians, are able to expand patient access to care," says
Cherie Frame, NP. As a Nurse Practitioner, she falls into the category herself.
She also chairs the APP Committee at Reid Health, which recently recognized and
celebrated APPs and their contributions to the healthcare system. APPs include
nurse practitioners, physician assistants (PA), clinical nurse specialists
(CNM), certified nurse midwives (CNM) and Doctors of Audiology (AuD).
APPs are licensed and board-certified in
their specialties, making them able to manage acute and chronic illnesses. Having
them as part of a team that includes a physician also helps reduce the high-stress
demands on a smaller number of M.D.s and D.O.s. "The collaborative approach to
care frees up more time for the physician to see patients who are more acutely
ill," she said.
Rohit Bawa, M.D., Reid ENT and Chair of
the Network Operations Council for Reid Health Physician Associates, said APPs
help "fill the gap" created by the national shortage. He says more physicians
are choosing specialty care, which also contributes to the increasing demand
for family practice providers.
"Because many are choosing to
specialize, this leaves few family and general medicine physicians," Dr. Bawa
said. He also sees a positive side to the evolution of an increasing number of
APPs. "As healthcare has advanced over the past decade, the concept of
team-based care has become more prominent. Physicians, APPs, nurses, medical
assistants and office staff work as a team with the patient at the center.
Everyone is focused on the patient and providing the best care possible."
Frame sees advance practice providers as
always being a vital part of healthcare delivery. "Some practices have more
than one APP collaborating with a physician," she said. Some states with more
extreme physician shortages also allow nurse practitioners to practice
independently, though this is not the case in Indiana and Ohio.
For the Reid Health system, she said,
"advance practice providers are trusted members of the physician-directed care