Understanding Your Care

What’s an Advanced Practice Provider?

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

When it comes to advances in health care, an “APP” isn’t just something you can download onto your smartphone. An APP is also an Advanced Practice Provider, which includes physician assistants (P.A.-C), nurse practitioners (N.P.), certified nurse midwives (CNM) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA).

“APPs have master’s degrees or higher. They are an important part of the patient care team and work at hospitals, outpatient centers, doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and urgent care centers, and in many different specialties,” says Hassan Chaaban, CRNA, Ph.D., who leads the advanced practice provider group at Henry Ford Health System.

Because of their advanced training, APPs can do a lot of of the same things a physician does:

  • Take patient histories
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Order lab work, x-rays and other tests
  • Deliver babies and perform women’s health exams
  • Take pre-operative histories
  • Conduct post-operative exams
  • Help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease
  • Make referrals to specialists or other services
  • Act as first assistants during surgery

Nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives can also prescribe medications.

“Your physician might introduce you to an APP at an appointment, and ask if you would like to have future or follow-up appointments with him or her. Your APP and physician will consult with you and each other about your care,” explains Dr. Chaaban.

What Do Patients Say About Advanced Practice Providers?

Nationally, APPs receive high patient satisfaction survey scores. Patients often say their APP relates to them on a different level than their physician.

“Because many APPs come from nursing or patient care backgrounds, they tend to develop comfortable relationships with their patients quickly and easily. After seeing an APP, patients frequently request future appointments with the APP for routine care,” says Dr. Chaaban.

An appointment with an APP is often available quicker than with a physician.

Patients benefit from having both their physician and their APP working together on their care. As always, you are in charge of your care teams and can choose the kind of care that feels right to you.

APPs have six to eight years of education, depending on their specialty.  Board-certified by national organizations and licensed by the State of Michigan, all APPs complete continuing education requirements and regularly undergo a re-certification process.

Henry Ford patients can now search for APPs and make appointments directly with them by using the Find a Doctor/Provider directory at henryford.com/physician-directory or by calling 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Dr. Hassan Chaaban is a certified registered nurse anesthetist in the anesthesiology department at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He serves as the Director of Advanced Practice Providers at Henry Ford Health System.