Over the past decade, the number of non-physician providers (NPPs) practicing within hospitals has increased dramatically, especially in hospitalist programs. This is largely due to the increased demand for streamlined inpatient medical care and an inadequate supply of physicians. Additionally, the fact that the cost of hiring NPPs is just a fraction of the cost of hiring physicians certainly adds incentive for programs nationwide to embrace the practice.
The lack of consensus regarding the proper use of NPPs, however, is widespread and concerning. Hospitals—and hospitalist programs in particular— must strive toward a more structured collaboration between physicians and NPPs.
While each hospital is unique and therefore requires specific staffing and scheduling solutions, there are some common characteristics of programs that have successfully integrated NPPs.
Here are the “Top 10 Keys to Success”:
- Avoid assigning NPPs to clerical tasks that absolutely do not match their skill sets
- Focus on great patient care and involve the NPPs as partners in the process
- Insist on CME maintenance and participation in didactics
- Recognize the NPP as a provider and, as such, insist on a mutually respectful work environment
- Provide a thorough orientation process to build strong relationships and trust among all providers
- Limit the daily availability of each NPP to just one or, at most, two physicians
- Avoid the temptation to task the NPPs with scut work
- Make it a priority to educate physicians about the work and role NPPs contribute to the team
- Clearly define the duties and responsibilities of NPPs
- Consider identifying a “Lead NPP,” especially in larger programs
For more information on how Medicus Consulting Services can help you incorporate NPPs into your program, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a consultation from one of our consulting physicians.
– O’Neil J. Pyke, MD, SFHM