A vital aspect of community paramedicine is nurturing relationships. How do you foster these partnerships? How do you effectively explain community paramedicine to your community partners?
Mobile integrated healthcare-community paramedicine is a relatively new healthcare model. Due to the novelty of these programs, it’s often necessary to communicate the mission and vision of community paramedicine with those who are less familiar. When you’re at the table with potential partners, they’re curious about the program and wonder how it will benefit their mission.
Not everyone will view community paramedicine with an open mind. Some may believe it presents competition or that the program cannot deliver on its promises. MIH-CP leadership should dispel these myths as soon as possible. Below, we’ll discuss how to clearly and winsomely explain community paramedicine.
How to Present Mobile Integrated Community Paramedicine to Potential Partners
Before we talk about the mechanics of the presentation, we should answer the questions: who are the potential partners of community paramedicine?
The most common and natural partners of community paramedicine are other members of healthcare within the community – for example, hospitals, physicians’ clinics, and other EMS organizations.
However, sometimes the obvious partners can shroud other viable options. Other good partners who may want to be directly involved in community paramedicine are homeless outreach organizations, substance rehab professional organizations, mental health institutions, police officers, and even churches or other community outreach programs.
Even these organizations do not need to be the limit. Some non-health organizations may choose to partner financially when they see the excellent things community paramedicine can do for their community.
So, you’ve narrowed down several potential partners in your community. How do you approach them? How do you get them to see the value of a community paramedic program?
Let’s talk about how to get people excited about community paramedicine.
How to Get Partners Excited About Community Paramedicine
People get excited when they see needs met and good things coming to the people and places they love. Community paramedicine provides all these things. However, when communicating with community partners (or potential partners), the key is to remember to keep the information specific and practical.
It’s also important to know what type of community paramedic program you’ll be instituting. Let’s go over several steps to explaining community paramedicine to partners.
Steps to explain community paramedicine:
- Know your program
- Know your partner
- Address competition questions
- Keep things specific (outcome-based)
- Show how the system can work (large scope)
Below, we’ll unpack each of these steps in more depth. By the end of this article, you’ll have ideas to explain community paramedicine to partners effectively.
Explaining Community Paramedicine: Know Your Program
Before adequately explaining community paramedicine to a partner, you must know your program inside and out. Community paramedicine and mobile integrated healthcare represent a large genus, with many smaller, more specific species. Once you know which space your community paramedic program will fill, you’ll be in the best position to communicate with partners.
If you’d like to learn more about these specific programs and gauge where your program is at, you can read more about mobile integrated healthcare, where we discuss the nitty-gritty definitions.
Here are several common MIH-CP models:
- Chronic disease management
- Substance abuse treatment
- Mental health treatment
- Super utilizer outreach and alternative destinations
- Reduction in hospital readmission rates
After you’ve narrowed down what your program is about, you’ll be in the best situation to reach out to community partners.
Let’s talk about knowing your partners.
Communicating MIH-CP: Know Your Partner
After you know what your program is all about, it’s essential to study your potential partners. Ideally, you perform some research before reaching out to them. What does this partner need? What are their strengths? Where are they looking for help? What is the mission statement of the organization?
These questions will help you frame a community paramedic program in the most precise and most meaningful light. Let’s go over several examples.
Imagine you’re reaching out to the local substance rehab facility. These are great potential partners. However, as you explain the purpose of your community paramedic program, all you talk about is how the program will reduce hospital readmission rates. While this is a noble goal, hospital readmissions are not the primary concern of most rehab facilities.
Most rehab facilities want to know how your community paramedic program will help them achieve their mission. So, it would be more appropriate to explain the possibilities of PORT teams and co-responder programs (sub-categories of community paramedicine) – naming in specific terms how these MIH-CP programs will help the rehab facility thrive and achieve its goals.
Let’s take another example: Police departments. Some areas might not think police departments and community paramedicine have much in common. However, many police officers spend hours and hours responding to patients having a mental health crisis.
If community paramedic programs explain that their program can reduce the number of hours police officers are tied up on mental health calls, they are taking a major step toward securing a partnership. Why? Instead of focusing on the overarching goal of making the community safer and healthier (though, no doubt, this is a great thing), explain how the program will help your prospective partner reach their goals.
Address Questions about Competition
Before we move on, let’s talk about potential competition.
As an example, some areas will have well-established home health nursing programs. There have been cases where these established programs will view the growth of community paramedicine as a threat to their jobs.
It’s important to reassure these programs that community paramedicine has a mission of support and enhancement. They are not there to gobble up anyone’s jobs; they are there to offer a helping hand when needed. If an area already has a strong home health nursing program that handles patients with chronic diseases, perhaps the community paramedic program can focus on mental health patients or super-utilizers.
Explaining mobile integrated healthcare in specific ways to the partner will make the interaction more fruitful. It’s always important to emphasize that community paramedics work to enhance, not to replace or compete.
If you’re curious, read out article on the difference between community paramedics and home health nurses.
Let’s talk specifics.
Communicating MIH-CP: Keep Things Specific
Certainly, it’s wise to communicate the broader goals of a community paramedic program. The simple definition of community paramedicine is that it serves as a coordinated, integrated, mobile force to serve the communities health needs.
While this is a noble goal, it’s important to explain how the specifics of the programs can help individual partners. Different partners will have different healthcare needs, as we said in the sections above. It is key to explain the specifics of why you need support and how they benefit from the partnership.
One of the other keys when explaining community paramedicine to partners is to show a clear blueprint. Nobody likes to wade into unknown water. They need to see that someone knows the course and will be leading the ship.
Let’s discuss coordination.
Show How the Mobile Integrated Healthcare System Can Work
The final step is to show the mechanics of how mobile integrated healthcare works. Explaining the benefits and showing the numbers is great to get people excited, but it’s also important to show the practical aspects of day-to-day operation.
One of the fundamental components is outlining the relationship between the partner and the community paramedic program.
Here are several areas that need to be coordinated:
- Outlining the goals. It’s important to place the goals upfront. This will give both parties a metric to aim for and a good starting point for collecting useful data.
- Partner priorities. What will be the expectations of the partner? Will they be supporting with personnel, finances, or logistics? Outlining how the partnership will operate will give both sides good foundations.
- Highlight communications and coordination. How will the partners interact? If there are multiple partners, how will they all stay connected? Healthcare coordination is a major theme of community paramedicine and shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in the beginning stages.
Finding a way to stay connected is the fuel that will keep community paramedicine going. Julota offers tools that help partners stay on track. Julota also offers a cloud-based and interoperable platform – meaning it will work for any provider, regardless of their preexisting software or documentation platform.
Last Take: Communication with MIH-CP Partners
When explaining community paramedicine to partners, it’s essential to know four main things. First, know your program’s focus. Once you know the direction of your program, you’ll be able to find the best partners.
Second, know your partner. What are their needs? Explain community paramedicine in a way that’s relevant to their missions.
Third, you need to be specific. Explain how your program will help people and how it will help the partner achieve their goals.
Finally, ensure you’re all staying connected and coordinated. This is foundational. Contact Julota to learn how they will help your MIH-CP program foster lasting relationships with community partners.