The majority of integrated partnership failures occur due to irreconcilable differences. This step focuses on the sensitive issue of the compromise on expectations.
This fifth installment of vital steps for creating a successful behavioral health – primary care partnership, has been adapted from “Strategies to Preserve Public-Private Partnership ‘Best Practices’: Keys to Genuine Collaboration” by Greg Schmieg and Bob Climko, MD, Behavioral Health Management May/June1998. Vol. 18 . No. 3.
This step addresses the issue of the expected outcomes for the partnership, building upon the shared mission:
What results do you expect from the partnership?
Do your expectations coalesce with those of your partner?
Compromise is in order at this juncture. Chances are good that each partner will agree on some things, but not on all things. The most successful of partnerships will devote adequate time and energy at this point to identify mutually agreed upon expectations and how results will be measured. The partnership creates enhanced outcome opportunities. Open communication on an ongoing basis helps to keep everyone on track. Internal conflicts are inevitable and should be discussed openly. The partners must address differences of opinions on an ongoing basis to prevent resentments from building.
Partnerships create an opportunity for enhanced outcomes through blending of resources to maximize the capacity of each organization. The result is a synergy far greater than the individual components. The integrated behavioral health – primary care partnership is far more effective and powerful than the single behavioral health or primary care clinic. Addressing all healthcare needs of the individual yields benefits that far exceed treatment focused only on behavioral health or primary care concerns.
Once the data elements are identified, collect a baseline before starting. The project should first be piloted to allow for evaluation and for adjusting expectations to further clarify the outcomes to be measured. Re-evaluate and respond. Time devoted to this process at the beginning will save considerable time, energy, and frustration further along in the project. With a solid framework of data elements, baseline, and data collection processes in place, outcome measurement will be easy to accomplish. Outcomes that are meaningful to the mission of the partnership will provide the guidance necessary for ongoing success.