PHYSICAL THERAPY

Build relationships with other professionals


In this episode of #AskMikeReinold, we talk about building relationships with other professionals. To see more episodes, subscribe and ask questions, go to mikereinold.com/askmikereinold.

#AskMikeReinold Episode 220: Building Relationships with Other Professionals

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Show Notes



Transcription

Mike Reinold:
Allie asks, “What challenges have you encountered or what advice can you offer in building a relationship with other healthcare professionals. Especially doctors like surgeons who can refer to you and vice versa. So why not start with that? Let’s talk about how we build our professional relationships with physicians. I think we’ve all had some experience with it, Lenny and I kind of grew up that way. I think Dave has done a really good job locally trying to reach out to other niche physicians who share his passion a bit. So maybe you can talk about it and maybe after that we’ll see. Maybe we talk a little bit about who else we should be dating, but Len, maybe you want to start?

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
How do you start to build relationships with doctors?

Lenny Macrina:
Yes, I had it easy when I was working in Birmingham, because the doctors were right upstairs and they wanted us to interact. They encouraged us to interact so that I could go up several times a day and visit them. Either because a patient downstairs was not doing well or was giving an update or someone was seeing them upstairs. So I could come up and see them. Not in Boston now. So I’m not in the hospital. I am in a remote area, 20 minutes from town where most of the doctors are. So for me it is now a bit more of a challenge. But I think once doctors start to see their patients getting really good care and patients praising their therapist, I think that opens up that world, right? Where they want to send you over and you have to take advantage of it. Either accompanying the patient to their visit, sending an email to the doctor, especially the doctor, try to get the doctor’s email. I know they don’t always read these things.

Lenny Macrina:
But you have the doctors doing it and those are the doctors that you want to interact with because they are the ones who will end up giving you their cell and who will communicate that way. So now we have a group of doctors. I moved from Alabama to Boston, didn’t know a lot of doctors in the area, so I had to work to build a relationship with them. So now I text many doctors in every hospital in the area we work with. Because they have similar thoughts, they want to interact with PT and it will just improve the whole process. Also, try speaking at conferences or posting articles and if you don’t even speak at a conference. Go to the doctor at a conference and chat with them, chat. It leads to a world that you don’t believe is an amazing world of patient care and sharing of thoughts and ideas. It just makes everything better for them. So I think I speak at meetings, interact with the doctor, or in their establishment. Invite them to your establishment.

Lenny Macrina:
We have been showing doctors around our facility and want to hang out and see what we have to offer and chat a bit about buying. Again, it helps the whole process to be so much better for everyone when you have this relationship. So it’s not easy time to take donuts to the doctors and hope that’s the way to get referrals. I just think it’s a bad idea. It’s more of a professional level than just giving them bagels and donuts at this point. There is so much competition that you really have to stand out with your services, your personality and I think this will be number one.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. I think you almost focus more on their care team, right?

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
Where are you at an extension and are you there to help, right? So it’s not like kissing or bribing them or anything like that. I mean, these tactics work don’t fool me. But it’s not like it used to be. I mean, you literally had people, probably in the ’80s and’ 90s there would be clinics that would make doctors the medical director. I don’t even know what it means, but I’m pretty sure it meant they needed to relax. Right? So it’s all of these weird things happening and now we’ve evolved from that, we’ve moved away from that. In our local community, I think we can divide our doctors into three groups. We have the big mega organization, like the big doctor in the hospital system. They’re under undue pressure from their organization not to refer, okay? So keep that in mind, this is the one. Second, we have the pops. So the doctors belonged to practices, it’s not a ton here, but there are some and they are encouraged not to refer. Right? So it stinks, right?

Mike Reinold:
Then third, there are probably just the guys who are the doctors who don’t have their own physical therapy but are kinda lonely and we have a few of those practices here. These are the people we get most of our referrals from, aren’t they? The other pop people and mega-organizations that refer patients, you know who they refer us to? The very specific niche we’re really good at, the niche we’re really good at. So Dave, why don’t you jump out of here? Because we even get referrals from places, you can tell doctors are hesitant sometimes, they’re like, “Ah, I’m supposed to send this down to my physiotherapy department, but I’m really feeling for this kid. He tries to get spotted or he tries to do it. So, I wanted to work with you guys. So Dave, how did you interact with these barriers with your specific niche?

Dave Tilley:
Yeah, I mean it’s really hard. I think there are two levels to me that I think are the most important and which one is, just being a good human first and foremost, right? Just be a good person and be ready to communicate. Realize that it is about athlete well-being and not that you are making money or being famous as a good physiotherapist. It’s not about that, right? It’s about trying to give the best care because you care about the person in front of you. Second, after that, you must be a good therapist. You have to really know your stuff and you have to be willing to go the extra mile and think for me to learn from you, again. One of the best ways I started to really get my foot in the door was to really spend time reading surgical protocols and manuals and understanding the surgery that is happening, so that I can provide better care. . I think when surgeons see you really understand the difference in surgical technique.

Dave Tilley:
Not that I’m going to say which type they should use for surgery, but understanding the nuances of surgeries is important in providing better care. From there, it’s pretty much you have to accept that some doctors don’t want to give you the time of day. They may not be open to email and communication, and that’s a shame because it’s a rehabilitation issue. But at the same time you kind of have to get over that and as a new grad I was a bit put off by that. I was like, “Oh man, why are these doctors so tense?” But there are other doctors that we know locally who are amazing and want to go the extra mile and they really want to help. So sometimes you have to punch your chin in meetings when the doctors don’t want to tell the time of day. But the more you work on it, the more you continue to do a good job and communicate well. I mean, a lot of it is word of mouth, obviously it does a good job.

Dave Tilley:
But you have a patient who is doing really well in that special niche of something that no one else could really understand because they didn’t know the sport. Then two of their teammates came over and the doctor said, “Wow, you’re doing really well.” As Lenny said, “Let’s try to get things done.” Now we all have people. You have your elbows for Tom and John, I have a pediatric elbow specialist who I love and who is a great guy. I have a daughter that’s a little further away and she’s great with low back, spine fractures and everything. So it kind of rolls. The more you do good care, the more it feeds on itself.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. I think this is useful with doctors. You can’t get mad if you try to build a relationship with a certain doctor and it doesn’t work, right? It always makes me crack, doesn’t it? I mean, that’s like what could be the reasons the doctor doesn’t want to give you the time of day? It’s usually either the ego or they don’t really care. They really don’t care about their results as much as they want or they just don’t want to talk about it. But I’ll say this, I’ve seen it happen and I think we’re vulnerable to it right now. Because physiotherapists want to come in with their lab coats on and call themselves doctors, don’t offend Trey. They want to make some noise and they go to the doctors and they try to impress the doctors with what they know and deserve to be there. It’s their right to be a part of this process and things like that. You have to go back all the way here and you have to put that. I’m here to help the person, that’s all.

Mike Reinold:
I am here to help the person. Let’s talk about that particular perfect person. Sometimes we give too much credit to doctors because they have this blueprint in mind. They have very vague guidelines in their heads. We can fill out the details of these guidelines and if you could do it in person or call them or email them or talk to the AP like Lenny some of these strategies. You can fill those gaps and by asking questions and saying, “Okay. Okay. So when can we get the full charge? Very good, great. But when can I start this? Right? You ask questions. Doctors love it, they prefer it that way over you and you say, “Hey, here’s a study that shows I can weigh a bear in week six.” Right? The doctor is like … You know what I mean? You come in, “When can I weigh a bear?” Then we just know that some doctors don’t want to weigh a bear until week 12 and some don’t want to weigh a bear until week six. I made it up.

Mike Reinold:
But who do you think we’re going to refer people to in the future? Those with which we agree a little more. So keep that in mind. It seems frustrating at first that some doctors don’t want to collaborate with you, but remember that you don’t want to collaborate with them either. Right? When you find it, man, it’s fun. Right? You only need one or two and man, that’s fun. Because you talk to them about people, you are both in their best interest, that’s really neat. Look, I think that was pretty cool for the pros. Mike, Lisa, I mean, do you want to comment briefly on something else? Mike, you came as a new grad as well, so maybe you have some advice from that perspective. But the other thing, too, is that I don’t know if doctors are the only people we should be trying to network with these days. But Mike, what do you think?

Mike Scaduto:
I just want to add maybe from a patient perspective, to get back to your last point. The better we know the surgeon and his expectations, especially after the operation, the better the patient experience will be. So it’s a good thing for us to work with a surgeon. But anyway, I think if you’re in Alabama, so Lenny and Mike. You have the doctors right upstairs, at Champion we have the strength trainers right outside. So these are the people we work with every day and who build this team of strength trainer, athletic trainer, physiotherapist and doctor. So we are really able to work with the force side of things and we can fine tune a training program to suit that person’s stage of rehabilitation or after rehabilitation. Then we can really try to maximize their performance. So I think this is a huge relationship that you should focus on as a physiotherapist.

Mike Scaduto:
Work with the strength coaches in the area and find a couple that you really trust and have the same philosophy to bring an athlete back to a sport and then improve their performance.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah, huge. Often, too, as physiotherapists, we try to enjoy walking too much on our toes with strength and conditioning. I much prefer working with a professional strength and conditioning coach. So like that it relieves me a lot of stress, doesn’t it? This is not my wheelhouse, so to speak. So can we program well? Yes of course. But I much prefer to collaborate with someone else. So keep that in mind. So there are other people, strength coaches, athletic coaches, so many other people. But Lisa, have you found any doctors to rowing by the way? I don’t know if I know the answer to this question.

Lisa Russell:
I mean, one of America’s best rowing docs, Kate Ackerman is in Boston.

Mike Reinold:
Who helps. It’s pretty sweet.

Lisa Russell:
But I mean, she definitely has a bit of that conflict we were talking about before, where she works for Boston Children. Thus, its immediate reference is networked.

Mike Reinold:
Right.

Lisa Russell:
I know the PTs she refers to and they are awesome. So that’s that kind of short-term insurance delay. Right? Then this is where I feel like I am the resource for the, “You ran out of your confidence and let yourself get better and healthy.” But-

Mike Reinold:
It is, however, a good niche. This is a very good point to address some of these things.

Lisa Russell:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
You have to position yourself not to be competitive then with their internal PT.

Lisa Russell:
No.

Mike Reinold:
What can you do better or not better? This is the wrong word. What can you do on top of that?

Lisa Russell:
Yeah. I mean, for me, the network that I think is the most meaningful is more of a community rowing network.

Mike Reinold:
Right.

Lisa Russell:
I am fortunate to be a member of two houseboats on the Charles, so two houseboats in Boston. So to be able to do that, just like being around when I go rowing and people have seen me before. I work voluntarily with the para national team. So they’ve seen me, know my face, know I’m at least massaging people or whatever they think I’m doing. Right? So people like naturally come and they say, “Oh, I have this problem and can you help me?” Then I’m like, “Yes, here’s my card.” Otherwise, I’m just part of the network where people know I’m there and I have teammates who say if someone says, “Ah, man, this is where it’s going.” They know that I am here to help you. So being part of the community, I think that’s my biggest research rather than doctors. Because rowers don’t need surgery as often, we don’t hurt so much that we have to have surgery as often as with other sports. Right? So doctors aren’t as important a referral source no matter what.

Mike Reinold:
It makes sense.

Lisa Russell:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
But it’s really cool. Yes, so we have to focus on our medical referrals and sometimes PTs think that’s all we have. But like Mike said, the fitness crowd, the athletic trainers, the communities out there, like Lisa mentioned. All of these things are also very valuable. I guess I’ll leave you with that. If you are a physiotherapist and have a passion for something. So let’s say rowing and gymnastics, right? Believe me, there is probably a former gymnast who enjoys working with gymnasts who is now a doctor. You find them and man, this is a match made in heaven. Because you share the exact same level of interest and they know “Oh, did you get that right?” So yeah, maybe even if they’re under pressure to send people in-house for certain things, they know it and we get it all the time. Like, “Alright, we’re going to do basic rehab at home.” But then you come in for the doctor’s recheck, they say like, “You know what? You need to go see Dave now, because he’s going to help you get back to gymnastics. He does gymnastics like no one else.

Mike Reinold:
Right? So find these people, they’re out there, trust me. If you love baseball, there is a former baseball player who is now a surgeon. There is a former rower who is now a surgeon. Right? They probably love working with these types of people. The more we can start this relationship the more they will get referrals from us as well, this is their ideal client. Right? So now all of a sudden we have this good dynamic and we all work with the people that we love to work with. So keep that in mind, I think this is good and it is worth repeating. Like Dave said, “If you’re not a good human, it probably won’t work anyway.” Be humble, go ahead by asking questions in the best interests of the patient. Don’t show your intelligence and your worth and think you will have a much better chance of clicking with this doctor. Right? Try to build a team rather than saying, “This is how I think rehab should go.” Does that make sense? Awesome. Excellent question Allie, I appreciate it.

Mike Reinold:
As always, head over to mikereinold.com, click on the podcast link, and fill out the form to ask us more questions. Continue to help support the show by going to iTunes, heading to Spotify, rating and reviewing so we can get the word out and share that. Dude, we would really appreciate that. The more you can share, the better. So thanks for everything as always and we’ll see you in the next episode.



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