Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners—any of these mid-level providers can help improve your practice for the better. Whether you currently have a mid-level or are thinking about adding one, you want to ensure you utilize their skills and expertise in the way that best benefits your valued patients, referring providers and practice’s future.
Avoid the No. 1 Mistake Practices Make With Mid-Levels
When mid-level providers began growing in popularity about 20 years ago, filling up the mid-level’s schedule with overflow appointments that a doctor didn’t have time for was common. This meant that mid-levels handled both new patient appointments and appointments with patients who had previously seen a different provider.
However, utilizing mid-level providers in this way is the No. 1 mistake that a practice can make when trying to maximize their mid-level provider’s impact—and it can have serious consequences.
First, established patients are wary of receiving follow-up care from a mid-level provider with whom they have no previous relationship. Although the mid-level is more than qualified to assist them with their health concerns, these patients have already established trust with their regular ENT physician at your practice over time and naturally prefer to see them, not a random new provider.
Second, when a referring physician sends a patient to a provider at your office, they expect the patient will see that provider, not an unfamiliar mid-level, at their appointments. Referring physicians are the pipeline for bringing new patients into your practice; if they’re not pleased with how you’re handling their patients, they may choose to send them to another doctor.
You know that keeping patients and referring physicians happy is the key to your continued success. That’s why you should consider adopting a strategy that puts mid-levels front and center much earlier in the patient experience.
Collaborate With Your Mid-Level on Every Case
Maximizing your mid-level means utilizing them differently—not as a medical professional who handles overflow appointments with random patients individually, but as a true partner with the ENT physician in the ongoing care of patients throughout their health care journeys.
In practical terms, maximizing your mid-level means that the patient experience looks like this:
- Every new patient books a new patient appointment with an ENT physician.
- The mid-level meets the patient before the ENT sets foot in the exam room. The mid-level gathers initial information about the patient’s health history and completes any needed paperwork to build the patient’s chart.
- The mid-level leaves the exam room and presents the patient’s case to the ENT like a third- or fourth-year resident, providing all the pertinent factual information.
- Armed with this knowledge, the ENT enters the exam room ready to establish a personal connection to the patient and provide the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
- The mid-level then returns to wrap up the appointment and explain the next steps to the patient.
What you accomplish by allowing a mid-level to serve as your collaborator on patient cases from the get-go:
- You create a relationship between the patient and the mid-level so that the patient feels comfortable seeing the mid-level for any follow-up appointments.
- You’re ensuring that the patient and referring provider know that the ENT physician is a crucial part of their care from the very start, ensuring their satisfaction and continued support of your small business.
- You’re freeing up the ENT physician’s schedule by allowing them to designate portions of the new patient appointment and any resulting follow-up appointments to the mid-level. With more time available, ENTs can see more total patients, focus on complex cases and do additional high revenue–generating surgical procedures.
- You’re using your mid-level in the most cost-effective way possible, contributing to a better bottom line for your practice.
Need more assistance incorporating mid-level providers into your practice, looking at your clinic operations or diving into your key performance indicators? Ask your regional manager about how Fuel and USENT can help.