Successfully Integrating an APP into Your Practice

In our last post, we discussed how to build successful working relationships with you advanced practice providers (APPs) to increase patient satisfaction, team collaboration and ultimately, practice success.

To recap, APPs are licensed medical providers that practice medicine under the collaboration of doctors. From patient education to the treatment of skin issues and cosmetic procedures, APPs are important members of a healthcare team. APPs have collaborated with dermatologists since the 1970s, helping with patient exams and diagnosing, along with the development and implementation of treatment plans including prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting lab tests and surgical management of a wide variety of dermatologic diseases. Like any other doctor, APPs can build strong patient followings that help your team provide quality care and maximize productivity. They can also help alleviate schedule demands, so you have more work/life balance.

But let’s back up a little. Before you can build a successful relationship with your APP(s), it’s important to have the right onboarding or integration plan for them that will lay the foundation of that relationship. This can be a great opportunity to establish your practice/team culture, your expectations and day-to-day operational flow, including use of an EHR (electronic health record) system, if applicable. The right integration plan can help an APP more quickly adapt to all of those aspects. And since turnover for an APP can be quite costly, making them feel comfortable and confident early on will give them more motivation to stick around.

Onboarding

The right onboarding plan will help you train APPs in your specific practice standards and how your EHR (or another operational system) works. You can also incorporate other areas of importance for your practice culture and introduce the team they’ll be working with.

For introductions, introduce them to the team and community with your full endorsement, so they will be seen as a full member of the team from the start. For patients, it can be helpful to have your scheduling and reception teams elaborate on who the APP is and what clinical areas they support. You may even write a script for them to have handy. You can also share this information with your referral network of providers, so they know patients they refer will be in good hands. Adding the APP’s bio to your practice website is another good way to introduce them to patients and other providers.

Other than that, make sure the APP is able to attend al team meetings during their onboarding. This will help them pick up on practice goals and encourage them to share their thoughts. Keep in mind too, APPs have CME requirements to maintain licenses/certifications. Make sure they have the time (and if necessary, funds) needed to attend conferences, maintain memberships, etc.

Observation

By observing you during your clinical work, they can begin to understand your specific patterns and standards.

Collaborative care

As the APP gradually gains their footing, continue to support them by sharing tasks such as initial intake, documentation and simple procedures. Then, allow them to become increasingly independent, but make sure they know you’re still there for support.

Autonomy

During this last phase, APPs start seeing patients independently and are a full part of operational production.

The value an APP can bring to your practice can be truly impactful, especially with patient satisfaction. Patients today care more about the care they receive rather than credentials, as well as the ease of care. APPs can provide both – quality care in a more convenient time frame than perhaps you could on your own. But in order to ensure an APPs success in your practice, be sure to integrate them effectively.

Need help integrating a new APP? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!

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