Bridging the Gap

Advanced Practice Providers Improve Patients’ Access to Quality Health Care

An Advanced Practice Provider (APP) is a medical professional who has “an advanced level of education and training in order to provide care for patients,” says Peggy Mark, system vice president and chief nursing officer, Premier Health. “APPs generally fall into two categories: the first is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and the other is a Physician Assistant (PA).”

APPs also play a vital role in the delivery of patient care as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPs), Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs), and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs).

A Strong Foundation of Care

“APPs have been providing health care in the primary care, acute care, and specialty care areas for nearly half a century, and the number of APPs has been increasing significantly as patients continue to report high levels of satisfaction with the care they receive,” says Erin Kelly, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CWS, FACCWS, Miami Valley Hospital Burn and Wound Clinic.

APPs are vital to delivering care and lowering the overall cost of care. APRNs and PAs have completed advanced education and rigorous training, are licensed by the state, and are nationally certified. APPs are fully equipped to provide necessary treatment and diagnoses, including ordering and performing tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, and injuries; prescribing medications and treatments; and working closely with physicians. This collaborative model has become increasingly important as physician shortages continue to rise in several specialties.

“Previously, a patient might have to wait to see their provider until they had an opening,” says Michael Deyhle, PA-C. “Now we offer a model of care that is much more of a team-oriented approach that helps us see patients more quickly and helps them get the care that they need. It also helps lower costs by saving them a trip to the emergency room.”

Patient-Centered Care

In today’s changing health care environment, the importance of APPs only promises to grow with time as care becomes more patient-centered.

“What we do as APPs is really to expand the quality, care, and access to care for patients,” says Deb Matosky, APRN, trauma, at Miami Valley Hospital. “This does not have to be completely dependent on one provider type. This is because we now have a variety of advanced practice providers who are well-trained, certified, competent, and prepared to help patients reach their wellness goals.”