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Tool Shows Promise for Measuring Productivity of Mid-Level Oncology Providers
Date:5/29/2009

t differences between NP and PA productivity within a variety of oncologic specialties including Medical Oncology/Solid Tumor, Hematologic Malignancies/Bone Marrow Transplant, and Surgical Oncology.

"We found that the tool was a useful instrument in gauging the impact of mid-levels, and that NPs and PAs do seem to have a measurable effect on the number of patients seen in the participating academic outpatient oncology clinics," says lead author Jennifer Hinkel, MSc, Manager, Business Insights at NCCN.

The authors noted that, as expected, NPs and PAs in the surgical oncology specialty saw more patients than mid-levels in other specialties. Brief pre- and post-operative visits may account for a large percentage of these mid-levels' clinic time allowing for a larger volume of patients to be seen.

In the majority of the data collected, there was no significant difference between the number of patients NPs and PAs saw within each specialty except in the medical oncology specialty, where NPs reported seeing significantly more follow-up patients than PAs.

"This variation may be due to different practice patterns or the use of PAs for more procedure-oriented tasks rather than for outpatient clinic visits," says Hinkel.

The authors plan to repeat the survey using a broader sample and in conjunction with an existing oncology physician productivity tool developed by NCCN to better determine the direct impact of mid-level providers on overall clinical productivity.

Recent data from the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Workforce Study published in 2007 has shown that by the year 2020 there will be a shortage of between 2,350 and 3,800 oncologists, a problem that will be magnified by a 48 percent increase in the overall demand for oncology visits.

Additional authors include Jonathan L. Vandergrift, MS, National Comprehensive Cancer Network; Sara J. Per
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SOURCE National Comprehensive Cancer Network
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