Good and on-going relationship with medical community will be critical in RETAIN

Jennifer Christian MD

In listening to the medical society representative on a RETAIN planning group today, I remembered how important it will be for the COHE-equivalent organizations set up by each RETAIN project to develop and maintain a lively communication channel with the whole medical society/community.  The COHE first needs make the medical community aware of the program, and then on an on-going basis keep their ear to the ground and stay alert to how the physicians in the community view the program and the perceived value of its services to their patients.  If the medical community is unaware, doesn’t see COHE as patient friendly or useful so stops participating, backs off, or actively resists the COHE,  the program WILL FAIL.


In addition to COHE, we based our original proposal on an analogous program in the UK called the Fit for Work Service.   Prior to its national roll-out there were several local pilot programs.  One of the most successful ones was in the Leicester area, led by a doc who realized that medical community relationships – as well as relationships with the social services sector -- were absolutely key.    Here are three key slides from his presentation.   Notice the HIGH level of physician participation, especially the fraction of doctors who made more than one referral.  That means the doc probably got positive feedback from the patient he/she referred – otherwise he/she would never have referred another one!   Also notice what services were perceived as most frequent/most important by case managers vs. the worker-patients.   And I hope you enjoy the cartoon – which has a lot of truth to it.   Changing how workers, doctors, and employers see the worker’s situation is the key to the matter!