Clinical Development for Rehab Providers: Effective Methods & Diversity in Approach
- By Jay Brislin
- Mar 01, 2011
It’s a difficult task for rehab providers to keep their businesses
running efficiently and effectively in our everchanging
industry. Medicare changes and funding cuts
certainly present a challenge to keeping businesses thriving
while providing clients with the most appropriate equipment
based on their needs.
Effective clinical development is an essential ingredient to
achieving these goals.
It is critical to develop and enact a clear clinical development
strategy. This includes:
- Cultivating new clinical relationships.
- Maximizing resources at your disposal.
- Proactively creating diversity.
- Developing an infrastructure to support and maintain your
Thirty percent of full-service, complex rehab business is
generated from rehab facilities, and your clinical development
strategy must target gaining business in this area.
However, gaining referrals from facilities on a regular basis is
not something that happens overnight. Becoming a regular
supplier within a facility requires strong product and clinical
knowledge; the ability to develop relationships with the
decision-makers and rehab team at the facility; and most
importantly, sharing the ultimate goal of meeting the needs
of each client.
So, how do we maximize the development of clinical
referral sources and create strong business partnerships to
serve the rehab client population?
The key to gaining referrals through facilities is to establish
mindshare. You want to be at the forefront of the minds of
clinicians when they need to provide their clients with rehab
seating & mobility equipment.
Research Builds the Groundwork
The first step in clinical development and establishing a
strong relationship with a rehab facility is to know the facility
background, the clients it services, the facility’s goals, and all
of the people involved in the client rehabilitation process.
Become familiar with the facility’s client base, and be sure
to have knowledge of the clients’ diagnoses and rehabilitation
needs for those diagnoses. It is important that clinicians are
able to discuss, in detail, a client’s needs with you. This will
continue to build the clinician’s trust in you for future referrals.
Communication Is Key
In order to build and maintain
strong clinical relationships,
it is important to determine
what that particular facility’s
clinicians focus most on and
provide the services tailored
for that. Every facility can be
different based on specific
client population, specialized
units, main products they
spec, inpatient, outpatient, etc.
Many facilities have multiple
units within the same location
that have different specialties
and focuses. For example,
it is important to focus the
majority of your in-services
and communication on topics that your audience wants to
hear and that are prevalent to their daily interaction with
their specific client population. Discuss updates on products
that the clinicians are already familiar with, and provide
training on products that the clinicians would use more
frequently. Having vast knowledge of rehab product offerings
will continue to increase your value within a facility.
Deliver Service & Demos
Top-notch service is another key to creating a strong presence
within a facility. Prompt follow-through, consistent
exposure, high responsiveness, excellent listening skills,
and regularly scheduled in-services will continue to help
gain and maintain clinician trust and comfort level with you.
Another piece of this equation is to ensure that each facility you service has access to demo products. You must ensure
that the demo products being used for each facility fits with
their needs and is also the product that the clinicians have
requested. This is where it is very important to communicate
demo product needs to your manufacturer representatives.
But it doesn’t stop at just having demo product available.
The demos being used for the facility must be in good
working condition and have the options and accessories
that the facility requires. Demo products should be evaluated
on a regular basis to ensure they are still relevant to
the facility’s needs.
Knowing & Valuing the Needs of Clients
The final piece to establishing long-term and successful
partnerships with rehab facilities is having excellent interaction
skills with not only the clinicians and rehab team
within the facility, but with the clients themselves.
Clients in a rehab facility who are in need of rehab mobility
equipment usually have a large number of unanswered questions,
in addition to stress, uncertainty, and concern about the
state of their future function and mobility. It is imperative that
when applicable, clients are fully engaged with the clinical
team in the decisions being made about their mobility.
We must remember that the client is part of the clinical
team and must have direct input in the products they receive.
The client needs to have clinical trials and training on any of
the products they may be receiving to ensure an adequate
level of comfort.
A client’s independence and quality of life with their
mobility products is always maximized when they have
played a role in the decision-making and goal settings
throughout the entire process. Successful outcomes are
always increased when clients understand the goals and feel
their personal needs are being addressed.
This article originally appeared in the Seating & Positioning March 2011 issue of Mobility Management.
Jay Brislin, MSPT, is the director of Quantum Product and Clinical Development for the Quantum Rehab division of Pride Mobility Products (Exeter, Pa.). He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-800-8586.