ADVANCED PRACTICE PROVIDERS (APPs) have increasingly become integral members of the oncology care delivery team, according to the first large-scale study of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) in oncology published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. The study, “Understanding the Role of Advanced Practice Providers in the U.S.,” was conducted as a collaboration of ASCO, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology (APAO), the Advanced Practitioner Society for Hematology and Oncology (APSHO), and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).
According to data from ASCO’s annual Practice Census, the number of oncology practices in the U.S. that have reported employing APPs has grown dramatically—from 52% in 2014 to 81% in 2017. Despite this rapid growth, very little systematic research has been done on the total number of APPs in oncology and their specific roles and responsibilities on the care team.
To address the lack of data, ASCO, AAPA, APAO, APSHO, and ONS undertook a collaborative effort to identify the number of APPs currently working in oncology. The analysis identified 5,350 oncology APPs—and there could be as many as 7,000—practicing in the U.S.. The organizations also conducted a survey of APPs in oncology, which asked questions about the demographics of the APP workforce in oncology. The results of those efforts were published in “Understanding the Role of Advanced Practice Providers in the U.S.,” which provides the first detailed examination of APPs in oncology. The study results suggest that oncology practices with APPs routinely rely on them for direct patient care, with APPs spending an average of 85% of their time providing patient counseling, prescribing and managing treatments, and handling follow-up patient visits. Read the full study at ascopubs.org, and visit asco.org/asco-in-action for the latest in cancer policy and practice news. ■
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