Is an Advanced Practice Provider Right for You?

By: Mitchell Hollander, MD and Sarah Arnkoff, MSN, NP-C

They’re medically trained, certified, and help millions of patients each year get the primary care they need. No, they’re not doctors – they’re advanced practice providers, and their numbers are predicted to grow in the double digits by 2025.

Have you met one yet?

An Advanced practice provider (APPs) is a healthcare provider who is not a physician but who performs medical activities typically performed by a physician. It is most commonly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, and they provide crucial support to doctors and patients through their own specialized knowledge and experience.

Most APPs undergo post-graduate medical education and clinical training, so they are well trained. They also require national certification to practice. If you visited an APP today, he or she would have the authority to diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions, and prescribe medications to treat those conditions.

To help you understand the important role that APPs play at Michigan Institute of Urology, here are some things to know:

Question: How do I know if I should see a doctor or an APP?

Answer: APPs work closely with doctors. Their goal is the same, to ensure that you receive quality care based on your individual needs and priorities. When you make your appointment, ask if an APP may be right for you.

Q: Can I ask to see an APP directly?

A: Yes. Your doctor would not be offended by the request for an APP. We work as a team and rely strongly on each other to make sure our patients receive timely treatment. In fact, the doctor typically establishes the APP plan for the patient. Then the APP, a physician’s assistant for example, will work in partnership with the doctor to manage and treat your condition.

Q: What are some of the specific conditions an APP can treat?

A: Conditions can range from the mild to the acute and chronic. At MIU, our APPs can treat: overactive bladder (OAB), erectile dysfunction (ED), Peyronie’s disease (painful scar tissue in the penis), pelvic organ prolapse, enlarged prostates (or BPH), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and kidney stones.

Q: What are the key advantages of seeing an APP?

A: Chief among the benefits is faster availability. America is facing a physician shortage – the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates the shortage can reach 139,000 by 2033. As a result, doctors have very busy schedules. You can typically get an appointment with an APP quicker and they can usually spend more time with you during your visit.

Q: Speaking of availability … how many APPs are on the MIU staff?

A: The good news is it’s a growing number. We now have six APPs and two more are joining the team soon. Most of them travel to more than one of our Metro Detroit offices, so your location shouldn’t matter.

The medical team at Michigan Institute of Urology is available at 18 Detroit-area offices and affiliated hospitals. To find a MIU office near you, visit our website’s locations and contacts page, here.

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