Everyone wants their mobile integrated health program to grow into a stable ecosystem. Today, we’ll discuss seven helpful tips to strengthen any mobile integrated healthcare program.
Sometimes, just veering off the road slightly can take you in a completely wrong direction. The tips we share in this article may seem small, but they can help get your MIH-CP program out of the woods and back on paved roads.
MIH-CP programs have immense potential, and many of them are doing well. You just need to know the right steps to make everything work.
Seven Tips to Improve Your Mobile Integrated Healthcare Community Paramedic Program
There are many ways to improve and grow a mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedic program (MIH-CP), and most of them relate to strengthening the foundation of the program.
Here are the seven tips to better a mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedic program:
- Go back to the start: Needs Assessment
- Focus on quality at first
- Keep a broad scope and a narrow focus
- Seek funding under every rock
- Reach out to partners early and often
- Don’t overlook staff and morale
- Make data collection a priority
Below, we’ll unpack these tips in more depth.
Go Back to the Start: MIH-CP Needs Assessment
If you feel like something isn’t working with your program, you should first look at the foundation. Is your program focusing on the right needs? Is it placing value in the right areas?
Imagine a fisherman who can’t figure out why the fish aren’t biting. He’s tried everything, and nothing is working. It might be easy for him to become discouraged, thinking he doesn’t know how to fish. However, the real problem is likely that he isn’t fishing in the right area. If he had just moved to a different spot on the lake, all his problems would have been solved.
The same thing can happen in community paramedicine. If you’re trying to throw your resources at a need that is less prominent than you thought. The solution? Step back and look in unlikely places. Contact the hospital and ask them about community needs.
Read this guide on principles to establishing an MIH-CP program to ensure you have the foundation secure.
Focus on Quality over Quantity
Some ambulance companies can become eager to expand. This is a strong ambition, but it can be a tripping hazard in the beginning phases of an MIH-CP program. If you try to expand before the infrastructure is built, you’ll likely encounter more resistance.
Think about it like a collegiate baseball player trying to skip the minors and jump straight to the major leagues. In most cases, the player should take some time to develop and hone their craft.
The same is true with a mobile integrated healthcare community. If you can show future partners that you can do something exceptionally well, even in a small area, they will be excited to partner with you and help grow your program.
Keep Your Wide and Narrow Lenses Ready
The mobile integrated healthcare program has many similarities to a hawk. The hawk flies high in the sky, looking over a large field for any prey; however, once the hawk finds the mouse, they lock into attack mode and focus on its target.
MIH-CP is much the same. But, instead of catching mice, MIH-CP helps patients. Think of MIH-CP as a task force ready to respond to the community’s needs. Keep a wide lens in this regard.
Community paramedicine is versatile; you might need to help the homeless, address substance abuse, manage chronic illness, transport to alternative destinations, reach out to mental health patients, and more. However, once you identify the need, you must give it your everything. That’s when it’s time to focus.
So, an effective mobile integrated health program will be able to zoom out and in as needed, ensuring they don’t miss anything and give their programs the attention they deserve.
Seek Funding Under Every Rock
These are some hard times for EMS organizations and public health in general. There’s not unlimited cash to be thrown around (at least, not that we’ve located yet). The truth is, this can all be very depressing, disheartening, and unmotivating.
However, sticking to principles will keep the astute program afloat. For example, “ask, and you shall receive” is real. Just asking around can improve the possibility of more significant funding, and persistently asking around can lead to outcomes you didn’t initially think were possible.
For more specifics on funding, please read our guide on funding a community paramedic program. Remember, during hard times, many people will fizzle out and become discouraged – this allows the ambitious and the unwavering to continue fighting on, even when it seems hard.
Keep asking around for funding. It could be a state grant, a partnership with a local health clinic, a contract, and sponsorships from local businesses that want to contribute to the overall public health. Stay creative, keep fighting, and keep asking – that’s one of the primary keys to sustaining a community paramedic program.
As you’ll see, there are more practical ways to make your requests for funding and partnerships more compelling.
Seek Partnerships Early and Often
The whole point of mobile integrated healthcare is to create an integrated ecosystem, not just for an ambulance or fire service to start a new program. The essence of mobile integrated healthcare is partnerships.
Not only is partnership essential to the effectiveness of the program, but it’s also essential to sustainability. Many areas may start their mobile integrated healthcare program with a grant; however, they will begin looking for more partners, ensuring that they haven’t placed all their weight on the grant.
To learn more on this topic, read our article on creating partnerships and collaboration. There’s strength in numbers. The more dedicated people you can get on your team, the more likely your program will succeed.
Focus on Staffing and Employee Morale
Any talk of an EMS/paramedic-based program is empty without discussing the staffing crisis in emergency medical services. Unfortunately, staffing problems have been an issue even before the pandemic. However, the last two years have seemingly sprinkled salt on an already painful wound.
There’s no easy fix to the staffing shortage. Pay, recognition, job conditions, and barrier to entry play a role in the paramedic staffing crisis. However, the answer certainly isn’t to throw up our hands. This is a systemic problem that will require systemic change. Continue to advocate for better working conditions and more pay for your EMTs and paramedics. Ensure staff knows you’re fighting for them.
Just like with funding new programs, if we continue making some noise, people will eventually take more notice, and there may be some change. To learn more about correcting staffing problems, read our article on how to recruit paramedics to your MIH-CP program.
Don’t Overlook Data Collection and Synthesis
Let’s circle back to increasing funding. Data collection may seem rather dull and distant, but it’s essential to establish a strong community paramedic program.
To bring this down to the simplest level, imagine you’re collecting soda cans – thousands of them. Instead of taking them back for cash, you just throw them away, losing out on real money.
In the same way, collecting data and presenting it clearly will be your reward for community paramedicine programs. To see an example of common data points, see how Colorado Springs Fire handles data collection in their annual reports. Data collection is how you prove that the work you’re doing is making a difference.
By tracking things like reduced hospital readmissions or the amount of time you’ve cut from officers responding to mental health patients, you give yourself a currency that really speaks. When people and partners see that your program works, they’ll be excited to get on board. If you’re curious, check out our article on common data collection mistakes.
Finally, data collection is also how you map your course. Imagine making all the same wrong turns year after year? By broadly collecting your data and then breaking it down into working chunks, you give yourself the ability to self-correct. The more controlled a grip you have on the program, the better you’ll be able to make adjustments.
Bonus: Use Tools Designed for MIH-CP
If you’re looking for a good data collection platform, you should give Julota a close look. Julota gives you services in several vital categories. First, Julota will help you document and share patient encounters with other healthcare providers. This is essential, as it helps coordinate the healthcare response, leading to greater efficiency and better service for the patient.
Julota is also compliant with health privacy laws and regulations, so you can know that you’re safe to share information with certified healthcare professionals.
On top of providing a platform for patient documentation, Julota helps you synthesize and organize your data so that you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your program to potential partners or correct any mistakes.
For a demonstration, contact Julota and chat with their team. You’ll see how they can help you build a mobile integrated healthcare program that withstands the storms to come.