The role of the advanced practice provider (APP) is rapidly expanding in healthcare, whereas infrastructure to support it is not keeping pace. A large academic healthcare organization implemented the role of a director of APPs; supported by the C-suite, one who understands scope of practice, revenue models, and compliance and addresses engagement and retention to meet this challenge. This article chronicles the implementation of innovative success strategies, supporting APPs across a large academic health system, employing more than 1000 APPs, which has led to improvements in APP-generated revenue, patient access, engagement, and alignment.
Emory Healthcare rapidly expanded the number of APPs (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) over the past 10 years. APPs reported to administration or nursing leadership leading to APP dissatisfaction, questions on return on investment (ROI) and productivity, and poor utilization due to lack of role clarity. An APP leadership structure was created so that every APP reported to an APP leader. In alignment with the goals and plan for Emory Healthcare, standardized service line productivity and accountability expectations were developed and implemented, as well as a vision and strategic plan to support APPs.
Improvement in productivity was seen across service lines, supported by the increase in full-time equivalent numbers, while improving the ROI for the organization. A roadmap to aligning an APP and organizational strategic plan has been created and implemented. Improvement in APP engagement was realized.
An APP director and leadership structure are vital to the creation of infrastructure to support APPs in this healthcare. Optimization and standardization of APP practice resulted in role clarity and allowed for support of practice development.