Ask Mike Reinold Show

Building Relationships with Other Professionals

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

#AskMikeReinold Episode 220: Building Relationships with Other Professionals

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Show Notes



Transcript

Mike Reinold:
Allie asks, “What struggles have you faced or advice you can offer when it comes to building a relationship with other medical professionals. Especially doctors like surgeons who may refer to you and vice versa.” So why don’t we start with that? Let’s talk about some of how we build our professional relationships with doctors. I think we all have some experience with this, Lenny and I kind of grew up this way. I think Dave has done a really good job locally with trying to reach out to the other like niche doctors that kind of share his passion a little bit. So maybe you can kind of talk about that and then maybe after that, we’ll see. Maybe we talk a little bit about who else we should be building relationships with, but Len, you want to start maybe?

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
How do you start building relationships with physicians?

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah, I had it way easy when I worked in Birmingham, because the doctors were right upstairs and they wanted us to interact. They encouraged us to interact, so I could go upstairs multiple times a day and visit them. Either because, a patient downstairs was not doing well or give an update or somebody was seeing them upstairs. So I could go upstairs and just see them. Not the case in Boston now. So I am not in a hospital. I am in a remote area, 20 minutes outside of the city where most of the doctors are. So for me, it’s now a little bit more of a challenge. But I think once doctors begin to see that their patients are getting pretty good care and the patients speak highly of their therapist, I think it opens up this world, right? Where they want to send more to you and you got to take advantage of that. Either through going with the patient to their visit, sending an email to the doctor, specifically to the doctor, try to get the doctor’s email. I know they don’t always read these things.

Lenny Macrina:
But you get the doctors that do it and those are the doctors you want to interact with, because they’re the ones that are going to end up giving you their cell and going to communicate that way. So we have a bunch of doctors now. Me moving from Alabama to Boston, I didn’t know many doctors in the area, so I’ve had to work to get a relationship with them. So now I text many doctors at all the hospitals in the area we work with. Because they have like minded thoughts, they want to interact with PT and it’s just going to make the whole process better. Also, trying to speak at conferences or publish papers and if you’re not even speaking at a conference. Go up to the doctor at a conference and just chat with them, small talk. It leads to this world that you would not believe is an amazing world of patient care and sharing thoughts and sharing ideas. It just makes everything better for them. So I think speaking at meetings, interacting with the doctor, either at their facility. Inviting them out to your facility.

Lenny Macrina:
We’ve had doctors visit our facility and want to hang out and see what we had to offer and talk shop for a little. Again, it helps the whole process to go so much better for everybody when you have that relationship. So it’s not easy, the days of bringing donuts to doctors and hoping that, that is the way to get referrals. I just think it’s a bad idea. It’s more of a professional level than just feeding them bagels and donuts at this point. There’s so much competition, you got to really stick out with your services, your personality and I think that’s going to be number one.

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

Lenny Macrina:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
Where you’re an extension of them and that you’re there to help, right? So it’s not like kissing up to them or bribing them or anything like that. I mean, those tactics work don’t get me wrong. But it’s not like it used to be. I mean, you literally had people, back probably 80s and 90s, there’d be clinics that would make doctors the medical director. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m pretty sure that meant they got to kick back. Right? So it was all these like weird things that happen and now we’ve evolved from that, we’ve gotten away from that. In our local community, I think we can break down our physicians into three groups. We have the big mega organization, like the big hospital system doctor. They are super pressured by their organization to not refer out, okay? So keep that in mind, that’s one. Two, is then we have the pops. So the physician owned practices, it’s not a ton around here, but there’s some and they are incentivized to not refer out. Right? So that stinks, right?

Mike Reinold:
Then third, is probably just the guys that are the physicians that don’t have their own physical therapy, but are kind of on their own and we have a few of those practices out here. Those are the people that we get most of our referrals from, right? The other people from the pops and the mega organizations that are out there that refers patients, you know who they refer to us? The super specific niche that we’re really good at, the niches that we’re really good at. So Dave, why don’t you jump in from here? Because we even get referrals from the places, you can tell the doctors sometimes are hesitant, they’re like, “Ah, I’m supposed to send this downstairs to my PT department, but I really feel for this kid. He’s trying to get drafted or he’s trying to do this. So, I wanted to work with you guys.” So Dave, like how have you interacted with those barriers with your specific niche?

Dave Tilley:
Yeah, I mean it’s definitely challenging. I think there’s two layers to me that I think are most important and which is one, just be a good human first, right? Just be a good person and be willing to communicate. Realizing it’s about the athlete’s wellbeing and it’s not about you and you making money or you being famous as a good PT. 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. Two is, after that you have to be a good therapist. You have to really know your stuff and you have to be willing to go the extra mile and I think for me, learning from you guys, again. One of the best ways I started to really kind of get that foot in the door was, really spending time reading surgical protocols and textbooks and understanding the surgery that happens, so I could deliver better care. I think when the surgeons see that you really understand the difference in surgical technique.

Dave Tilley:
Not that I’m going to say what type they should use for a surgery, but like understanding the nuances of surgeries is important to give better care. From there it’s just about, you have to accept that some doctors don’t want to give you the time of day. They’re maybe not open to emails and communication and it’s unfortunate because it’s a struggle with rehab. But at the same time, you have to kind of get over that and as a new grad, I was a little bit turned off by that. I was like, “Oh man, why are these doctors so uptight?” But then there’s other doctors that we know locally who are amazing and they want to go the extra mile and they really want to help. So you’ve got to kind of take your punches on the chin sometimes at meetings when doctors don’t want to give the time of day. But the more you work at it, the more you just keep doing a good job and communicating well. I mean, a lot of this is word of mouth, obviously it’s doing a good job.

Dave Tilley:
But, you get one patient who does really well in that special niche of something that nobody else could really understand because they didn’t know the sport. Then, two of their teammates come and the doctor’s like, “Wow, you’re doing really well.” Like Lenny said, “Let’s try to get this going.” Now we all have people. You guys have your elbow people for Tom and John, I have a pediatric elbow specialist who I love and is a great guy. I have a girl who’s a little farther away and she’s great with low backs and spine de fractures and stuff. So it just kind of rolls. The more you do good care, the more it kind of feeds back on itself.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah. I think it’s helpful with the physicians. You can’t get upset if you’re trying to get a relationship with a certain physician and it’s not working, right? It always cracks me up, right? I mean, it’s like what could be the reasons why physician doesn’t want to give you the time of day? It’s usually either ego or they just don’t really care. They really don’t care about their outcomes as much as they want or they just don’t want to talk about it. But I will say this, I have seen this happen and I think we’re vulnerable to this right now. Because PTs want to walk in with their lab coats and call themselves doctors, no offense Trey. They want to fluff it up a little bit and they go into the doctors and they try to impress the doctors with how much they know and that they deserve to be there. It is their right to be part of that process and stuff like that. You got to back down completely here and you got to put this in. I am here to help the person, that is it.

Mike Reinold:
I’m here to help the person. Let’s talk about this perfect person specifically. We give physicians too much credit sometimes, that they have this master plan in their head. They have very vague guidelines in their head. We can fill in the specifics of those guidelines and if you could do that in person or call them or email them or talk the PA like Lenny, some of those strategies. You can fill in those gaps and by asking questions and saying like, “Okay. All right. So when can we get the full weight bearing? All right, great. But when can I start this?” Right? You’re asking questions. The physicians love that, they like that way better versus you going in and be like, “Hey, here’s a study that shows I can weight bear at week six.” Right? The doctor’s like… You know what I mean? You go in, “When can I weight bear?” Then we just know some doctors don’t want to weight bear until week 12 and some don’t want to weight bear until week six. I made that up.

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

Mike Scaduto:
I would just add maybe from the patient’s perspective, going back to your last point. The better that we know the surgeon and we know their expectations, especially postoperatively, the better experience that is for the patient. So it’s kind of mutually a good thing for us to work with a surgeon. But anyway, I think if you guys in Alabama, if Lenny and Mike. You guys have the doctors right upstairs, we at Champion, we have the strength coaches right outside. So those are people that we’re kind of working with every day and kind of building that team of strength coach, sport coach, physical therapist and doctor. So we’re really able to collaborate with the strength side of things and we can fine tune a training program to fit for that person’s stage of their rehab or after rehab. Then, we can really try and maximize their performance. So I think that’s a huge relationship that you should be focused on kind of building as a physical therapist.

Mike Scaduto:
Is working with the strength coaches in the area and finding a couple that you really trust and that you have the same philosophy on getting an athlete back to a sport and then improving performance.

Mike Reinold:
Yeah, huge. A lot of times too, as physical therapists, we try to like step on toes too much with strength and conditioning. I’d much rather collaborate with a professional strength and conditioning coach. So that way it takes a lot of stress off me, right? That’s not my wheelhouse so to say. So can we program well? Yeah, sure. But I’d much rather collaborate with somebody else. So keep that in mind. So there’s other people, the strength coaches, the sport coaches, so many other people. But Lisa, have you found any doctors for like rowing by the way? I don’t know if I know the answer to this question.

Lisa Russell:
I mean, one of the like top U.S rowing docs, Kate Ackerman is in Boston.

Mike Reinold:
That helps. That’s pretty sweet.

Lisa Russell:
But I mean, she definitely has a little bit of that conflict that we were talking about before, where she works for Boston Children’s. So, her immediate referral is in network.

Mike Reinold:
Right.

Lisa Russell:
I know the PTs that she refers to and they’re great. So that’s, that kind of shorter term insurance-based timeframe. Right? Then, that’s where I feel like I’m the resource for the, “You ran out of your insurance and let’s keep you getting better and healthy.” But-

Mike Reinold:
That’s a good niche though. That’s a really good point to address some of those things is-

Lisa Russell:
Yeah.

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

Lisa Russell:
No.

Mike Reinold:
What can you do better or not better? That’s the wrong word. It’s what can you do in addition to that?

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

Mike Reinold:
Right.

Lisa Russell:
I’m lucky to be a member of two boat houses on the Charles, so two boat houses in Boston. So to be able to for one, just like be around when I’m going and rowing and people have seen me previously. I volunteer treating with the para national team. So they’ve seen me, know my face, know that I at least massage people or whatever they think I’m doing. Right? So people just like naturally come up and they’re like, “Oh, I have this problem and can you help me?” Then I’m like, “Yeah, here’s my card.” Then otherwise, I’m just part of the network that people know I’m there and I have teammates that if anyone’s like, “Ah, man, I’ve got this going on there.” They know I’m here to help. So being part of the community, I think is my bigger research rather than doctors. Because rowers also don’t need surgery that often, we don’t bust things so much that we have to get a surgical intervention as frequently as like other sports. Right? So doctors aren’t as big of a referral source, no matter what.

Mike Reinold:
That makes sense.

Lisa Russell:
Yeah.

Mike Reinold:
But that’s really cool. Yeah, so we have to focus on our physician referrals and sometimes PTs think that’s all we have. But as Mike said, the fitness crowd, the sport coaches, the communities in there, like Lisa mentioned. All those things are all very valuable too. I guess I’d just leave you with this. If you’re a physical therapist and you have a passion about one thing. So let’s say rowing and gymnastics, right? Trust me, there’s probably an ex gymnast that loves working with gymnastics people that is now a physician. You find them and man, that’s a match made in heaven. Because you guys exactly share the same interest level and they know that, “Oh, you get this right?” So yes, maybe even if they get pressure to send people in house for some things, they know that and we get this all the time. Like, “All right, we’ll do the basic rehab in house.” But then you come for the recheck for the physician 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 gets gymnastics like nobody else.”

Mike Reinold:
Right? So find those people, they’re out there, trust me. If you love baseball, there’s an ex baseball player that is now a surgeon. There is an ex rower that is now a surgeon. Right? They probably love working with those types of people. The more we can start that relationship, the more that they’re going to also get referrals from us, that’s their ideal client. Right? So now all of a sudden we have this good dynamic and we’re all working with the people that we like working with. So just keep that in mind, I think that’s good and it’s worth saying again. Like Dave said, “If you’re not a good human, it’s probably not going to work anyway.” Be humble, go in there asking questions for the best interest of the patient. Not showing your intelligence and your worth and then I think you’re going to have a much better chance at clicking with that physician. Right? Try to start a team versus trying to say, “This is how I think the rehab should go.” It makes sense? So, awesome. Great question Allie, appreciate it.

Mike Reinold:
As always head to mikereinold.com click on the podcast link and fill out the form to ask us more questions. Please continue to help support the show by heading to iTunes, heading to Spotify, rate and review so we can get the word out and share this. Man, we’d really appreciate that. The more you can share it the better. So thanks for everything as always and we will see you on the next episode.