Every organization in the country is looking for ways to improve the patient experience and increase access to care. Along with population health, those two areas define the current healthcare landscape.
So how do we make quantifiable improvements?
One possible area which, in some locations, is overlooked—wait times. Increased wait times for appointments diminishes both the patient experience and access. We can do more to reduce wait times and get more patients seen, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes.
Advanced Practice Professionals (APPs) can be the answer. As we’ve seen, there is a growing utilization of APPs, APPs can increase access to care and it is important to allow APPs to practice to the top of their license. Today, we’re looking at a new study from the American Urology Association that shines a light on wait times in urology offices.
Researchers analyzed how APPs affect patient wait times in urology practices. According to the report:
“Of the 86 offices with which we scheduled appointments, 55 (64%) employed at least 1 APP but only 18 (21%) allowed for new patient appointments with APPs. When requested for the earliest appointment regardless of provider type, offices with APPs could offer shorter wait times compared to physician-only offices.”
For earliest available appointments, patients received appointments in 10 days when APPs were utilized in the practice versus 18 days in physician-only offices. Additionally, first time visits with an APP were available significantly faster at 5 days versus 15 days for physicians.
The study found that urology offices are commonly employing APPs but giving them a limited role in new patient visits. By better utilizing APPs in the entire care continuum, medical practices can operate more efficiently and reduce wait times.
Locum tenens APPs specifically fill an important role in meeting the needs of patients and medical practices. For urology practices and beyond, locums providers a new level of flexibility, can increase access to care and provide an excellent patient experience. It is important to incorporate locums clinicians into your staffing strategy to meet the needs of the community. It’s a win for patients. A win for providers. A win for hospitals and medical practices.