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Athletic Trainers in Physician Practices

EKU Represented at Athletic Trainers in the Physician Practice Inaugral Meeting

Athletic trainers continue to push the boundaries of healthcare by exploring new settings and new opportunities utilize our training to serve patients. Though work within the physician practice setting is often thought to be an emerging setting, athletic trainers have been working closely with physicians in this setting since the 1980s. However, this past weekend was the first annual meeting of the Athletic Trainers in Physician Practice Society (ATPPS). This is a newly formed society of specialists working within this setting that share a goal to provide other providers support through research, information, educational opportunities, updates and networking.

This weekend, I had the privilege to learn more about the setting, opportunities for our students interested in this setting and the challenges facing this subspecialty of the profession. All in all, the meeting exceeded all of my expectations, providing me with a desire to share some of the relevant points of the conference.

1) ATs in this setting often share similar responsibilities but each setting seems to be unique to the practice and individuals involved. Some are involved with surgery, evaluation (many different specialties), care coordination for patients, education, and ...the list goes on. No setting is the same, however, all seem to share a common theme...they work to improve healthcare by improving the efficiency of the practice!

2) Each clinicians "path" leading to their current employment is varied. Many were innovative in building relationships and creating positions while others were able to find positions where athletic trainers were previously employed. The courage and determination to work in some of these settings is impressive.

3) Each clinician has faced barriers of some sort in their setting. To face these barries, they strive to build relationships with other healthcare providers, educate about AT skill sets, and improve their own skills. They boldly face the unknown and succeed through continual education and learning.

4) The route to working in this setting seems to be a 50/50 split between individuals educated through residencies and those that are non-residency trained. Residencies provide an efficient path to build a content specialist prepared for this setting but immersion and focused professional development can accomplish the same outcome.

5) Value within this setting is heavily outcome based. Athletic trainers need to continue to improve outcome measurement that may include (but definitely goes beyond) improved revenue for a practice. They need to focus on patient satisfaction, methods of assessing efficiency that compliments the healthcare team, and better patient care. (*Good advise for all settings!)

There were many other take-aways from the conference that I would love to discuss if you are interested in the physician practice, responsibilities of this work setting or the ATPPS.

More information about the setting and group can be found at

Contact Information

Matthew J Sabin

Published on February 17, 2018

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