I noticed the term “advanced practice providers (APPs)” in the article, “The Invasion of the Physician Assistants,” by Thomas Cook, MD. (EMN. 2019;41:1; http://bit.ly/37ZBQOv.)
Far from advanced practice, as I would understand such a term, these individuals ostensibly act, in most cases, on par with the physicians with whom they associate and, in some cases, independently, some within specialties or subspecialties and some in alternative forms of health care. Some may have advanced their knowledge base through additional training, but to delegate the term “advanced practitioners” to all these individuals en masse is, in my opinion, inaccurate.
The degree and amount of physician training far surpass those of the bulk of primary care non-physician providers. Granted, such terms as “mid-level” or “ancillary” also carry some of their own aspects of inaccuracies, and I am wont to call them anything other than what they have traditionally been described by their accrediting bureaus: physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Certainly, the variability in their training and capacities as practitioners is also on par with that of physicians, who are still called “physicians” or representatives of their specialty or subspecialty (e.g., otolaryngologist, pediatrician, etc.). Certainly, not “advanced practice physicians” (though, in those cases, they may possibly be ascribed such an awkward term) or whatever other term might obfuscate the facts of their rigorous training.
Robert Sterling, MD