By Todd Pickard, FASCO, PA-C, and Stephanie Williams, MD, FACP
Advanced practice providers (APP) are an integral part of the oncology care team and practice of oncology. The ASCO Clinical Practice Committee’s APP Task Force is on a mission to help all oncology health care professionals better understand the important role APPs play on oncology care teams in practices and clinics. To help raise awareness the Task Force is focused on developing tools, resources, and educational opportunities to support oncology APPs and the team members working alongside them.
The APP Task Force was established in June 2019 and is comprised of APPs, clinic administrators, and physician/oncologist partners from various practice settings and geographic locations across the U.S. The Task Force’s diverse membership brings together a wide array of perspectives to advance its important work.
This Task Force builds on some of the team-based care work led by ASCO’s now-sunset Workforce Advisory Group (WAG), which focused on broader oncology workforce issues. The WAG developed and launched one of the first large-scale surveys of oncology APPs in 2018, and a subsequent contribution to JCO Oncology Practice.1 This work helped ASCO and other organizations more clearly understand the role of the advanced practice provider and that incorporating APPs into collaborative, team-based oncology practice models can help promote high-quality cancer care.
Since its inception, the Task Force has developed an APP onboarding and practice guide to help provide basic guidance, comprehensive integration of new team members, and best practices for onboarding APPs into an oncology practice. This guide is meant to supplement a practice’s current onboarding processes. The Task Force has begun development of a designated webpage that can serve as a user-friendly clearinghouse for APP and team-based oncology care information and resources currently available from ASCO. The page is expected to be updated with additional information and resources as the APP Task Force continues its work.
To further educate ASCO members and the broader oncology community, we are hosting a number of ASCO Education podcast episodes on “APPs 101,” covering a wide array of topics, including what and who APPs are in today’s oncology practice, their role and responsibilities, understanding their full scope of practice, and how to foster positive and beneficial working relationships with APPs and physicians. Listen to Episode 1: What and Who Are Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)? and Episode 2: Physicians Assistants (PAs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Oncology.
With a keen focus on the promotion of team-based care and reemphasizing the benefits for both patients and providers, ASCO and the APP Task Force are here to assist in meeting the needs of oncology APPs and to continue to provide educational opportunities, tools, and resources to help all oncology care teams succeed.
Mr. Pickard is the executive director of Advanced Practice and practices in urology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He is co-chair of the ASCO APP Task Force.
Dr. Williams is currently a lecturer at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She brings more than 30 years’ experience as an oncologist with a keen focus in stem cell transplant and cellular therapy. She is co-chair of the ASCO APP Task Force.
- Bruinooge SS, Pickard TA, Vogel W, et al. Understanding the Role of Advanced Practice Providers in Oncology in the United States. J Oncol Pract. 2018;14:e518-e532.