If you are in any profession within the wide umbrella of the healthcare field, you are probably already working in partnership with other professionals within the industry. Sometimes it is referred to as ‘collaboration,’ and other times it is simply thought of as partnering.
However, what exactly does this mean and how can these interprofessional partnerships benefit healthcare as a whole? Let’s take a closer look at this to discover some of the benefits you can expect when working closely with other professionals within healthcare.
How Exactly Are Interprofessional Partnerships Defined?
As mentioned above, an interprofessional partnership is, in its most basic definition, two different professions within healthcare working together, but to what end?
According to WHO, the World Health Organization, the goal is for better patient outcomes. However, it isn’t always limited to healthcare professionals working together with patients. There are often other parties within this partnership who must be included. This would be:
- Families of patients
The goal is obviously to offer improved outcomes to patients, but quite often other people or organizations need to be included in the partnership. Families and caregivers also need to be kept in the loop because of how closely they work with patients.
Then there are communities that offer services to patients when other avenues have resulted in dead ends. This partnering within healthcare that is as inclusive as it is, can offer better outcomes in everything from care to medications to treatments of all kinds.
The Benefit of Interprofessional Partnerships
Let’s look at one particular partnership so that you can get an idea of just how beneficial these relationships can be for the patient in question. For the sake of example, we’ll look at a home healthcare service that sends nurses and aids out to homes to care for homebound patients.
Hypothetically, they specialize in geriatrics patients. Among that age group, many are losing their ability to see and hear as they once did.
In this instance, a home healthcare agency that partnered with a hearing aid distributor could put patients in touch with hearing aid providers quickly and efficiently. To see what it takes to collaborate with one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of hearing aids around the globe, you can check phonak.com/en-us/professionals/become-a-partner
This would make the process of putting an aging patient in touch with a hearing specialist much simpler. Bear in mind that the patient’s primary care physician and perhaps the family would also need to be involved, but the time and effort saved in the process is the major benefit primarily to that patient. Once fitted with the proper hearing aid, it would be like giving that patient a new lease on life.
Getting Fast and Easy Answers
Bear in mind that if there is one thing that can be said of healthcare, it would be the fact that getting answers can be as slow as dealing with governments.
There are so many hoops to jump through and red tape to be managed that it could take months to find a simple solution for a relatively small issue a patient may be facing. Once the concerned professional has answers, cutting through all that red tape is made so much easier. They know what the solution is, now it’s about how to make that happen.
In other words, you can get an answer to a direct question such as “Does Medicare cover the cost of Phonak hearing aids?” as opposed to, “What kinds of hearing aids can my patient qualify for?” Do you see the difference? One requires a simple yes or no answer and the other could take months to answer definitively.
Professional Growth Through Networking
There is something else that should be seen as beneficial to everyone involved. Networking is always said to be a factor that can lead to major growth within a company but look at it from the vantage point of healthcare professionals.
Once they build a strong enough network within other healthcare professions, it will be so much easier (and faster!) to find the information or services required by patients being served. Not only will patients benefit but the partnering professionals will be well-served as well.
Imagine a framework in which interprofessional partnerships can lead to referrals based on firsthand knowledge of having worked closely with other professionals.
This is something that can lead to major growth for healthcare professionals seeking to grow their respective practices or services. Patients always have greater trust in other doctors or healthcare services recommended by their own providers.
Trust is always going to be an issue and even more so in healthcare where one little mistake can have huge ramifications for the patient involved. Interprofessional partnerships, then, can elevate trust in other professionals being recommended. It’s just another benefit of working closely with other professionals throughout the healthcare industry.
Where Everyone Is a Winner
In summing up all of the above, interprofessional partnerships can lead to major benefits that go beyond patients being cared for. When forming a stronger network, it is easier to find solutions to issues a patient may be facing but it is also about forming a community bond among healthcare professionals who may often need to be in contact with professionals on another end of the industry.
As with that example above, a geriatrics doctor may have been impressed with how quickly the home healthcare agency was able to put a patient in contact with a distributor of one of the globe’s most respected names in hearing aids. Now the doctor can approve that partnership, leading to faster services provided to a wider number of patients.
Yes, it’s always all about the care provided to patients, but by helping healthcare professionals widen their reach, they too are able to better serve their patients.
In short, interprofessional partnerships help patients get the best outcomes and put healthcare professionals in a vantage point where they can quickly make the referrals necessary to bring about these improvements. It is, in the end, a way to benefit literally everyone involved and that’s the bottom line.