This month’s blog is the third in a series that deals with the development and marketing of wound care within a practice.
The last two blogs focused on determining if you are truly interested in wound care and how to more effectively manage the patients you see in your practice.
If you are reading this, you have hopefully reflected on how important your role is not only to your patients but also to the other providers in your community.
Assuming you recognize the positive impact your efforts in wound care make for your patients and colleagues, how do you formalize the community wound care team?
You may work part-time in a wound center. However, that does not guarantee that all the providers at the center are on the same page. The dynamics of a wound center can be unique and challenging. Every provider may not embrace current technology or evidence–based methods.
We know that some providers are dedicated to the specialty of wound care and limb preservation. Others are in wound centers because they perceive it may be to easy gain financially with minimum exertion. Going through the motions is no way to practice wound care. There must be a sense of urgency on the part of the provider to always do better for the patient. We must never rest on our laurels and bask in our successes while there are many more challenging cases awaiting us.
My analogy is that wound care providers are like field goal kickers in football. I always remind myself that I am only as good as my last attempt.
We know that the team approach to wound care is not only the most effective way to practice but also the most efficient. The team approach also spreads and shares potential liability.
So how do we develop the wound care team within a community, especially if you may not be part of a wound care center or other formal group? Here are a couple of suggestions.
Become active in local diabetes and peripheral artery disease (PAD) screenings. Giving your time as a volunteer is not only satisfying, it shows a level of sincerity on your part. Participating in local screenings is a great way to meet other like-minded providers and further enhance your reputation. Consider volunteering in the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association or during local church health fairs.
Refer to other providers. Vascular interventionalists, infectious disease specialists and others who show an interest in wound care may not realize their role within a community wound care team. They typically focus on their tasks at hand. Making referrals encourages interaction with these specialists. Over time they may see you as the de facto leader of the team or at least someone who is engaged in wound care beyond wet to dry dressings.
Attend local dinner programs. Industry plays an important role in wound care on multiple levels. Product development and marketing are obviously the lifeblood of companies. However, they recognize the importance of education both as a way to increase sales and raise the bar within the medical community. Attending dinner programs that present scientific information regarding wound care is a great way to not only gain insight but to network further with other providers. Industry representatives know who the dedicated providers are and can serve as a conduit to bring the wound care team together as well.
Join or create a local chapter of the Save A Leg, Save A Life Foundation (SALSAL). Okay, I know this may seem like a shameless plug but the fact is that one of the purposes of SALSAL is to bring providers together in a collegial forum that will facilitate better care and outcomes. One of the common positive happenings in communities where SALSAL chapters have been organized is that podiatrists and vascular surgeons who never interacted previously now collaborate in treating patients, regardless of whether or not they work in the same wound center. The team approach SALSAL expedites is not limited to physicians. Anyone who is interested in wound care and limb preservation can join. With all the chatter regarding the team approach, SALSAL is a call to action to convert the theory of the team into reality.
You can learn more by visiting www.SaveALegSaveALIfe.org  .