Practice Management

How to expand the APP role in a crisis


 

A spirit of improvisation

There is a lot of tension at Emory University Hospital these days, reflecting the fears and uncertainties about the crisis, Dr. Nave said. “But there’s also a strangely powerful camaraderie like I’ve never seen before. When you walk onto the COVID units, you feel immediately bonded to the nurses, the techs, the phlebotomists. And you feel like you could talk about anything.”

Changes such as those made at Emory, have been talked about for a while, for example when hospitalists are having a busy night, she said. “But because this is a big cultural change, some physicians resisted it. We trust our APPs. But if the doctor’s name is on a patient chart, they want to see the patient – just for their own comfort level.”

Ms. Ortiz thinks the experience with the COVID crisis could help to advance the conversation about the appropriate role for APPs and their scope of practice in hospital medicine, once the current crisis has passed. “People were used to always doing things a certain way. This experience, hopefully, will get us to the point where attending physicians have more comfort with the APP’s ability to act autonomously,” she said.

“We’ve also talked about piloting telemedicine examinations using Zoom,” Dr. Nave added. “It’s making us think a lot of remote cross-coverage could be done that way. We’ve talked about using the hospital’s iPads with patients. This crisis really makes you think you want to innovate, in a spirit of improvisation,” she said. “Now is the time to try some of these things.”

Editors note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals are seeing unprecedented volumes of patients requiring hospital medicine groups to stretch their current resources and recruit providers from outside their groups to bolster their inpatient services. The Society of Hospital Medicine has put together the following stepwise guide for onboarding traditional outpatient and subspecialty-based providers to work on general medicine wards: COVID-19 nonhospitalist onboarding resources.

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