As US Care Team Dynamics Evolve, 89% of Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) Believe They Should Be Granted Full Independent Prescribing Authority 

Sermo Barometer 33 Examines Care Team Prescribing Habits, Patient Journey Dynamics, Pharma Support & Cross-Team Collaboration

New York, NY – The 33rd Barometer from Sermo, an online physician and provider community and leader in healthcare insights, surveyed 430+ Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) including physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) finding that the majority (97%) believe they are key to addressing the nationwide physician shortage. Care dynamics in the U.S. are rapidly changing with the Association of American Medical Colleges reporting that the United States will face a physician shortage of up to 86,000 physicians by 2036. To fill gaps in care, 89% of surveyed APPs believe they should be granted full independent prescribing authority.

APPs Are a Critical Piece of the Care Team Puzzle

APPs play an important role across various stages of patient journeys. 34% of APPs reported being most involved in the ongoing condition management of the patient journey, 32% reported being most involved in the treatment decision-making stage, and 23% reported being most involved in the diagnosis stage of the patient journey.

“For the past 20+ years, Sermo has been dedicated to supporting and amplifying the voice of global physicians,” said Peter Kirk, Sermo CEO. “However, given the evolution of care delivery and provider shortages, especially in the United States, fostering connections between the healthcare industry and entire care teams is critical for improving patient outcomes.”

APPs also see themselves as embracing new treatment options. 74% of those surveyed consider themselves “early adopters – early majority” when the opportunity to prescribe a new-to-market pharmaceutical product arises.  The majority of APPs (56%) responded that at least half the prescriptions they write each month are for chronic conditions (such as diabetes or high blood pressure).

“As a physician assistant, I’ve witnessed firsthand the invaluable contributions that APPs make in filling critical gaps in care delivery,” says Adam Hetz, PA-C and Sermo member. “Our adaptability combined with our advanced training positions us to address emerging healthcare challenges and provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of our patients.”

How APPs View Care Team Dynamics 

The most common words APPs use to describe their working relationship with physicians are collaborative, supportive, and professional. When APPs were asked how physicians could best support them in their day-to-day, 22% said fostering a collaborative approach to patient management, 19% said sharing knowledge/expertise in their specialty area, and 18% said providing regular feedback on patient care provided. 

When asked how to address patient concerns about their role in the patient’s care, 75% of APPs say they approach the subject by clarifying their role and qualifications, followed by reassuring patients of the collaborative nature of the care team (67%).  

Care models are also evolving to address the dual challenges of burnout and the increasing number of patients in the US residing in medical deserts—areas where access to healthcare is severely limited or nonexistent.  APPs are crucial in these new models, particularly in urgent care settings and med spas. The number of med spas has grown exponentially in recent years, turning into a $15 billion wellness industry offering services ranging from IV therapy to weight loss prescriptions to skincare and cosmetic procedures.  However, these models introduce new challenges: 81% of APPs believe medical spas should have enhanced regulation and oversight to ensure patient safety and quality care.

How the Industry Can Best Support APPs

APPs value their relationships with pharma company reps/medical science liaisons. 83% of those surveyed found educational outreach from these professionals valuable. When asked about their preferred information sources to stay up-to-date on the latest treatment options, respondents’ first choice was guidelines (25%), followed by continuing education (19%), medical journals (15%), and trusted websites (14%). APPs are keenly aware of the challenges patients face with medication affordability and access. 65% of APPs would like more insurance coverage and pharmacy benefit information from pharma companies. Other support APPs value from pharma include:

  • 68% of APPs want more information about cost management programs such as manufacturer coupons and prescription discount cards.
  • 55% of APPs want more information on newly approved medications.
  • 49% of APPs would like more treatment administration training.
  • 43% of APPs want more clinical trial information.
  • 49% want more drug interaction information, 49% want more drug effectiveness information, and 53% want more safety information.

This survey was fielded April 17th-23rd, 2024 as the 33rd edition of Sermo’s ongoing Barometer study. The survey included 436 Advanced Practice Providers including physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the U.S. 

To explore more findings, visit: 

About Sermo:
Sermo is the largest global healthcare research company and the most trusted physician and provider engagement platform. Sermo engages with more than 1.5 million HCPs across 150 countries and has reach into the U.S. Payer market that now exceeds 230M commercial lives covered.

For over 20 years, Sermo has been turning physician experience, expertise, and observations into actionable business insights that benefit pharmaceutical companies, healthcare partners, and the medical community at large. Sermo offers on-demand access to HCPs via a proprietary health-tech ecosystem to gain targeted HCP insights that inform strategic decisioning in real-time. To learn more, visit

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