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Around the River Bend: Purposeful Communication for Upstream/ Downstream Partners

Question: What keeps you up at night?

For many of our partners the answers would surround census. Growing the census. Maintaining the census. Diversifying the census. All things census!

The next immediate question that pops into their heads is…how? How can I achieve our goals of growing our short term rehab population? How can I get into (or back into) that preferred provider network?

Then the why? Why isn’t that hospital sending me referrals when our metrics look so good? Why do I seem to be pigeon holed into a certain patient population?

What we find most is that post-acute providers have a great story to tell, but aren’t the most skilled storytellers. The data that the upstream and downstream referral partners want is usually at the PAC providers fingertips but unfortunately it isn’t making it into the right hands.

So the questions most commonly asked to us are, ‘how do I get into the room?’, ‘what do I share?’, ‘what do these numbers mean?’ All valid questions!

Here is what your partners want to know:

  • Specialty Programs and Clinical Care Capabilities: What do you have to offer them that neighboring facilities can’t? Know your upstream and downstream partners’ pain points. Where are they getting ‘dinged’? What is keeping them up at night?
  • Benchmark Metrics: The data that CMS collects that helps benchmark you in regards to your peers. What is your LOS? Do you have an exceptional readmission rate you can boast about? How does your episodic cost measure up to those in your area? What is your star rating? If it is 4 or 5, how long have you maintained that status? This is your chance to tout your successes!
  • Outcomes: It’s one thing to say you have great systems in place that result in good “numbers”, but what about your patient successes? Hospitals, Home Health Partners, and Senior Living Communities that you are working along the continuum with want to know this info. Drill down to individual patients. Share their percentage of improvement from start to finish while in your care. Look at overall diagnostic groups- how impaired were they when they came to you and how far did they come as they walk out the door? Show them in data that you can put your money where your mouth is.
  • Less is more. Our partners in the continuum are as busy as we are. They don’t necessarily have the availability to meet for extended periods of time, but they can find 5 minutes to review a scorecard or report card. Get creative with the formatting. Make it easy on the eyes. Highlight all of the above areas in a concise, organized fashion. Graphs always translate well, particularly when you are discussing outcomes.

It’s important that this isn’t a “one and done”. It’s imperative you show your commitment to quality assurance and communication with your partners. Determine with them how often they would like to receive this info. Monthly? Quarterly? In what platform? Hand-delivered? Via E-mail? Have fun with it and remember, quality > quantity.

Written by: Kristi Smith, MSPT, RAC-CT, Regional Vice President of New England
Kristi's #HigherCalling: "I support those who constantly put others' needs first. Watching the pride on our staffs' faces as they achieve optimal outcomes and goals with our residents is priceless."

Tags: Care Continuum