Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

Heather Marie Hylton, PA-C

Jun 01, 2013

ASCO, the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology, and the Oncology Nursing Society came together again this year to present the Clinical Care in Oncology for the Advanced Practice Provider pre-Annual Meeting Seminar.  The education sessions and faculty were truly outstanding, and the quality of the program clearly illustrated ASCO’s commitment not only to the ongoing education of physicians but also to the advanced practice provider workforce.

While it is anticipated that advanced practice providers (APPs) will help bridge the gap in the Oncology workforce, it is not always well understood how and where to find APPs, how to orient and onboard them into a practice, and what model of care is optimal.  In today’s education session, Optimizing the Role of Advanced Practice Professionals in Oncology Practice, Dr. Dean Bajorin, Dr. Larry Shulman, and Maura Polansky, MS, MHPE, PA-C, addressed many of these issues, and a lively discussion with the audience ensued.

From my perspective, key takeaway points from this education session included:
1.   Collaboration between physicians and APPs is fundamental to the success of the physician-APP team
2.   The foundation of successful integration of an APP into a clinical practice is facilitated understanding of the training, expertise, and day to day responsibilities of the APP
3.   Orientation and practice-based training should be customized to the needs of the APP, and resources are available to help with onboarding, including the ACAPP
4.   In order to provide the most efficient, highest quality care to our patients, physicians and APPs need to be practicing to the top of their licenses, education, and training

With a recognized and growing need for APPs in the Oncology workforce and the impact of healthcare reform yet unknown, it is essential that models of care be incorporated where APPs fully extend physician capacity to care for patients and the highest quality, most cost-effective care is provided. I appreciate ASCO addressing these important issues not only through the Annual Meeting but on an ongoing basis as well.


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