In the second segment of this two part series, the panelists discuss how physician extenders should be utilized in both large and small urology practices.
At his large group practice, Neal D. Shore, MD, notes that the biggest drawback to using physician extenders is that they’re limited in the types of procedures they can perform. This becomes an issue when dealing with specialized clinics within the urology practice, such as bone health, prostate cancer, men’s health, and other subspecialist clinics.
Not only does the role of the physician extender vary depending on the size of the practice but it also varies by geographic location. Panelist Mark S. Austenfeld, MD, describes his practice near rural Kansas, where he may be the only urologist for several miles. In these rural settings, extenders may provide a valid role in the absence of an urologist, but supervision and training are needed.
Despite the variation in size and location of urology practices, the panel agreed that the greatest challenge in maximizing the utility of physician extenders is in training and education.