Team-Based Care at Your Doctor’s Office


When you schedule a doctor’s appointment, you may see your physician — or you may see someone else in the office, like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. You may feel hesitant about seeing someone else, but your doctor’s office likely uses a team-based approach.

Advanced practice providers (APPs) are highly qualified medical professionals 

APPs — which include nurse practitioners and physician assistants — are qualified to diagnose and manage a wide scope of common medical conditions. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also able to write prescriptions and can answer questions about your medications.

Working closely with your doctor 

Your primary care team is just that: a team. APPs provide services under the supervision of a physician, so if your condition is complicated or requires additional review, your physician can be consulted.
Easier for your doctor to spend time with patients 
Some cases do require the expertise of a physician. By sharing cases with AAPs, physicians can spend more time on complex cases, applying their skills where they have the greatest impact.

Need to see a specialist? Talk to your team first 

Before making an appointment with a specialist (which can take weeks or even months as a new patient), talk to your primary care team about your concerns. There are conditions that your team can manage, including diabetes, heart disease, and other common chronic conditions. Your primary care team knows your health history and, if appropriate, can refer you to a specialist.