Article

CLINICAL: INTERDISCIPLINARY CARE

BUILD YOUR TEAM

BOOST PATIENT NUMBERS VIA JOINING AN INTERPROFESSIONAL CARE TEAM

IN THIS competitive landscape, frequent evaluation of your organization’s strategy is paramount. For example, maybe you have been practicing for more than 10 years, but in the past couple years, you’ve noticed a decline in patient numbers, revenue and profit. This scenario could benefit from collaborative relationships with other healthcare professionals, otherwise known as an interprofessional care system. With nine completed columns, I thought it’d be a good idea to review the benefits of doing so.

WHY: OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND

Integrating interprofessional care into your practice can present a tremendous opportunity for growth of your practice. Specifically, deeper integration within the healthcare team further cements your credibility among practitioners and patients alike, by facilitating referrals.

However, each business is unique. Therefore, before developing and implementing any strategy, a S.W.O.T. analysis should be conducted. (See below.)

SWOT ANALYSIS
INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT
Strengths – determine your strengths, and concentrate your resources to enhance your strengths. How are you best utilizing your resources? Opportunities – scan the landscape of your industry looking for imminent opportunities, and determine whether any barriers may prevent you from embarking on those opportunities.
Weaknesses – determine your weaknesses, and strive to eliminate or mitigate them as much as possible. Threats – evaluate your external environment, and identify threats to your modality of practice, whether they be political or legislative changes.

FORGING RELATIONSHIPS

Once you’ve analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of this possibility, consider how, specifically, creating an interprofessional care team can work in your practice. For example, if your practice provides ancillary testing, creating a team can help you break-even, add more to your bottom line and increase referrals. Consider the following:

  • Rheumatologists and primary care physicians (PCPs). If your office routinely performs OCT and VF testing, consider forming a strategic alliance with rheumatologists and PCPs who prescribe hydroxycholoroquine sulfate (Plaquenil, Sanofi-Aventis), advising them of your ability to screen for retinal toxicity.
  • Neurologists. Similarly, inform local neurologists of your practice’s ability to evaluate the ganglion cell complex in patients who have cerebrovascular accidents or multiple sclerosis.
  • Pediatricians. If your practice offers services for visual perceptual testing and evaluation of strabismic cases, you may want to consider forming a strategic alliance with pediatricians.

GETTING STARTED

Collegial interactions, perhaps at a local chamber of commerce event, amongst various clinicians, fosters budding relationships that can generate referrals. Follow up with what you can offer them, and watch your network grow. OM