As nutritious soil will produce a substantial harvest, a strong community health program will yield happy employees and healthy patients. In this article, you’ll find several elements of a successful mobile integrated health-community paramedic program (MIH-CP).
Funding, partnership, data collection, and organization all play a role in MIH’s success. The sections below will discuss concrete principles that apply to all aspects of MIH-CP, including law enforcement, mental health services, community paramedics, and hospitals.
How to Build a Successful MIH-CP Program
Ideas and good intentions are nothing without actions that take thoughts and turn them into reality. To have a successful MIH-Program, you need the right pieces in place. There are no guarantees that an idea, even a good idea, will succeed unless someone works to make it materialize.
When a manager looks to hire someone, they assess two main things: soft and hard skills. To build a successful MIH program, organizations take a similar approach. The secrets to success include a blend of interpersonal ability and technical structure.
Below are two lists explaining the characteristics of a strong program. Perhaps, as you look through this list, you’ll find something that could strengthen your program.
Soft skills for mobile-integrated health:
- Good leadership
- A strong team
- Effective partnerships
Hard skills for mobile-integrated health:
- Data collection and tracking
- Interoperable software
We’ll break down these elements in more depth in the following sections.
Leadership for Mobile Integrated Health-Community Paramedic Programs
People often complain about “too many leaders talking at once.” For sure, there’s nothing efficient about multiple people sharing conflicting ideas. However, there might be something even worse: No leader at all.
It isn’t easy to gain traction if a program doesn’t have any assigned leadership. At least with “too many” leaders, multiple people are focused on getting work done. But, when you have no leader, a program will likely rot into nothing, or limp along, never reaching full potential.
For a police program – a partnership between PD and community mental health – one or two captains at the department (who understand the issue) should establish partnerships and spearhead any new ventures within the project.
For an EMS-based program – for example, a community paramedic program that diverts to new destinations – the medical director should take an active, leading role. However, a member from the EMS side should also provide guidance.
Keeping medical directors involved will lend credibility to the program as it seeks to establish partnerships. Medical directors also help develop new protocols for practitioners and ensure providers meet the standard of care.
While leadership is essential, the boat won’t float on its own. From the trunk of the tree, strong branches must grow. In the next section, we’ll discuss the importance of fostering a passionate team.
Building a Team for a Successful MIH-CP Program
The paramedics, mental health workers, crisis responders, and police officers in the field must be on-board with the program. Employees are often excited about these programs, as the new protocols are designed to address public health’s daily frustrations and shortcomings.
To build a strong team, start by getting the employees involved in the beginning stages. As you’re preparing to start an MIH-CP program, listen to their thoughts and ask what they believe would work. Then, consider building a “focus group” that might develop ideas to overcome future problems.
Here are a few ideas to improve the commitment of team members in the field:
- Training. Professionals want to feel confident as they venture into a new area. Throwing someone to the sharks is a fast way to ruin employee morale. However, increased training doesn’t just improve worker engagement; it also enhances the credibility of your program as you seek more sustainable funding.
- Pilot. In the first months of the program, make sure professionals know this is a pilot program. With this knowledge, people will be ready for mistakes and blunders while also having the confidence to point out potential areas for improvement.
- Pay. Many EMS companies offer increased payment for MIH-program participation. These jobs require new skills, and employees will appreciate recognition through increased compensation. Often, an initial grant will make this possible.
While good leadership and a strong team are the beginning, the very nature of mobile-integrated healthcare requires strong partnerships with outside institutions.
We’ll discuss partnerships in the next section.
Building Partnerships for a Strong MIH-CP Program
Once you have your internal team on board, it’s time to build allies in the community. Again, partnerships will be the make-or-break component as you develop your program. Why?
Here are several reasons partnerships are so crucial to mobile integrated health:
- Partnerships will direct new programs. If you want to transport patients to alternative destinations, it’s essential to develop a relationship with these institutions. For example, if you wish to transport low-acuity patients to a primary care clinic, the physician and nurses will appreciate a heads up before an ambulance arrives at their door.
- Partnerships to build public trust. If you’re trying to improve the public support of your institution, one of the best ways of doing this is to go to these places and ask, “how can we help?” For example, a local rehab center sees you’re ready to help them with post-overdose patients; this bond will have a trickle-down effect on the community. Suddenly, the homeless shelter is aware of your public support and the local salvation army.
- Partnerships to improve funding. One of the best ways to strengthen regular funding is through establishing alliances that offer a symbiotic relationship. For example, hospitals will be more likely to extend funding when they see that your program will lower their readmissions rates.
How do you establish strong partnerships? By reaching out to potential contacts early and often. Also, you establish partners by showing your work. Just like a company looking to hire a professional will ask for a portfolio, potential partners want to see the proof that your idea will work.
In the next section, we’ll talk about the tools you need to build a program that makes partners excited.
Data Tracking and Analysis for Strong MIH-CP Programs
Tracking your MIH-CP program’s data and metrics is essential to long-term success. When a patient or a partner asks, “Why should we join you?” instead of saying, because we think it will help, you can say because we know it will help. That’s the power of good data.
What do we mean by data? At the end of an MIH-CP report from the state of Iowa, they include several metrics – we’ll discuss them below.
Good metrics and data include numbers that show:
- A decrease in frequent 911 callers
- Reductions in hospital readmissions rates
- Reductions in ER visits
- Improved patient health
- Money saved
If you can collect this information, you are on the way to tracking your program’s performance – increasing the chances for suitable partners and sustainable funding.
Julota offers a platform for effective reporting and data capture. In addition, Julota’s software gives you the tools to track your performance.
However, long-term data capture isn’t the only thing you need for a robust system. You also need a platform to share the day-to-day information required for good patient care.
How to Build a Successful Integrated MIH-CP Program
Healthcare is chasing better coordination. To illustrate the importance of coordination, think of healthcare like the military. The Airforce, Army, and Navy are all fighting the same battle; however, imagine if they couldn’t read the same reports or speak the same language? This discord would create huge problems during a critical operation.
To have a strong mobile-integrated healthcare program, each service (the hospitals, EMS, primary care, etc.) needs to speak the same language and read the same reports. Otherwise, there will be miscommunication, duplication of services, and waste.
To build strong communication, you need a robust platform that’s easy to implement and doesn’t require any significant shift in daily work.
Julota offers a software solution:
- Documentation. Julota provides a platform that documents patient care and lets you safely share information with other providers. That means a cardiologist can see the same information as a primary care physician.
- Security. Julota provides easy information sharing while complying with HIPPA and other major privacy regulations. Only authorized health professionals can access patient information.
- Cloud-based. Julota’s platform is cloud-based. That means you don’t need to replace servers or change your current platform. You can easily access information anywhere with an internet connection. Julota gives you the hub for integrated care.
To have a successful MIH program, you need good communication across health and public safety services. For more information, access this guide to building a community paramedic program
Key Takeaway on the Elements of a Successful MIH-CP Program
Combining solid interpersonal skills with cutting-edge technical ability will yield an efficient MIH program. If you’re looking for a more technical guide, read our article on steps to starting a community paramedic program. Also, If you’re wondering how to increase cash flow, you can read our article on funding your MIH-CP program.
Contact Julota for a demonstration of how our software can make your MIH-CP program more successful.