Building an IR practice by walking the halls

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Building an IR practice by walking the halls

March 06, 2020
Cardiology Operating Room
From the March 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

IRs must go beyond their comfort zone to meet colleagues from other specialties. Learn more about their challenges, but also what they see as the strengths and potential of the hospital.

By walking the hospital floors, IRs can look to develop important relationships with other clinicians, as well as carve out time for patient consults to get a pulse on the needs of the hospital. These interactions can demonstrate how IRs can adapt their diverse skillset to fill the greatest need, and can also build trust between providers.

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2. Understand the patient population (to see where you can add value)
The needs of our colleagues can also be identified through the patients we treat. What are the common conditions they are presenting with? How are our colleagues addressing their conditions? Is there an unmet need?

Conversations with my colleagues showed a lack of bandwidth that was leaving quite a few patients with venous disease either untreated or receiving only medical management for their symptoms. Vascular surgery had helped a great number of patients, but there were a handful that were not benefiting from the standard treatment protocol.

For example, a problem with a patient’s IVC filter had caused phlegmasia. The team had exhausted the treatment options and were planning a transfer to another hospital to address the pain caused by the filter. Because I got to know the vascular surgery team when walking the halls, the team was open to collaborating with IR and learning more about innovative treatments IR offers to help patients with IVC filters. Through a series of venoplasties, together we were able to get the vein open and prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. Then, we removed the filter and eliminated the patient’s pain and swelling.

In this case in particular, it isn’t always about offering the flashiest, newest treatments to our patients. It’s about understanding what our colleagues and patients need and working together to build a better outcome for all.

3. Lead with data and evidence
Because there is a lack of awareness and understanding of clinical IR, having good data and outcomes on hand is a more effective introduction than any clinical anecdote I could offer. There may be a general understanding that IR treatments can be safer for patients, make patients more comfortable, and can be completed without anesthesia. But what our colleagues might not know is what IRs can do to specifically help them and their patients.

I make it a point to present literature to show the benefit of various IR interventions in areas specific to their practice, as well as take the time to learn from others. These conversations help strengthen our knowledge as clinicians, while recognizing ways that we can advance and improve the care we offer to our patients.

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