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Top 6 Ways to Begin Developing Strategic Partnerships

Developing strategic partnerships with other providers is not optional in the home health & hospice industry. Without them, you rely on “random” walk-ins and call-ups without any reliable source of new clients.

You might survive without strategic healthcare partnerships, but you will certainly not thrive. Partners help you improve care for patients, greatly boost referrals, and ultimately improve your community reputation and bottom line.

But how do you form these strategic partnerships, and what kind of partners are you looking to “team up with” anyway?

Selecting Partners (And Being Selected by Them!)

You first look for a wide variety of other providers as potential partners, from hospitals to doctor’s offices to assisted living facilities to outpatient clinics. Sometimes, which ones you seek partnerships with depends on your staff’s skill sets, as when you team up with wound care clinics when you have wound care nurses and a wound care program at your agency.

Other times, mere geographic proximity is a key factor in selecting a partner, depending on how many healthcare organizations (and of various types) are located in the area.

But otherwise, look for providers as a partner that are reputable, willing to work closely with you to improve care levels, and especially if you are accepted as a “preferred providers.”

In the past, for example, hospitals would just hand people a list of post-acute care options; but today, more and more hospitals choose a smaller number of preferred partners to work with. You need partners whose services you can complement, not duplicate. And remember, partners will affect each other’s reputation and bottom line, so choose wisely.

And don’t neglect to join an ACO, which might lead to referrals and partnerships!

Tips on Making the Partnership Work Well for All Involved

To gain new partnerships, as well as to manage them well and thus maintain them, you will want to follow these six strategic partnership development tips:

  1. Assign a “designated relationship coordinator” to be your official contact person for all your partners, and prospective new partners.
  2. Set up data exchange protocols with partners to facilitate efficient and accurate communication/billing.
  3. Ensure partners are aware of your capacity and capabilities, and can quickly get updated on the current situation.
  4. Establish transition-of-care milestones, and work to eliminate any glitches in inter-agency work flow issues.
  5. Have issue escalation procedures already in place to deal with emergencies. Know how/where/when to get help with critical conditions that go beyond your on-staff expertise.
  6. Make specific service level commitments with partners so they can count on you for such and such number/types of services.

Finally, let your managers and coordinators focus on their specific tasks and not get bogged down in other duties. And consider outsourcing your ICD coding rather than to tie down managers/clinicians with coding assignments.

To learn more about forming/managing key strategic partnerships for your home health organization, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting by calling us at 206-721-5091 or by filling out our online contact form.

 

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Strategic partnerships are key to home health growth. Find out how to form and develop optimal partnerships.

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