It's time to drop the lone wolf routine
John O'Connor, editorial director, McKnight's Long-Term Care News
Perhaps it's part of the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this field unusual. Perhaps it's paranoia. Perhaps it's hubris. Perhaps it's just being stubborn. Maybe it's an all-of-the-above combo platter. But spend any time mingling with operators, and it will hit you like the smell of fish near the sea.
For many, it appears that finding their own answers to long-term care's challenges and opportunities is the first and only default option.
It's an understandable mindset. For decades, many pros discovered that it was just about the only way to get things done in time to make hay or avoid disaster. But for those of you who didn't get the memo, there's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Collaboration.
I'm convinced that finding new partners and playing nicely with them will be the key to future success in this sector. And this extends far beyond budding hospital alliances. Like dandelions in spring, this growing opportunity to work in groups will seem to pop up everywhere.
Consider: we reported last week on a pharmaceutical webcast that pointed out how collaboration between nursing home administrators and consultant pharmacists is becoming more important. During the event, several experts described how facilities and consultant pharmacists are jointly working to make the flow of pharmaceuticals more cost-effective and efficient.
That's just one blip on long-term care's new radar. From relations with vendors, to dealing with residents and their families, to – dare I say it? — idea sharing with other providers, collaboration will be become the rule rather than the exception.
That's not to suggest that this is a completely new development. Visit any industry event or look at any association website, and sharable ideas abound. In fact, both of these venues have acted as cooperation catalysts.
But there are still quite a few operators out there with too much fear and/or hubris to let others tell them what to do. In a few years, there will be a word for these holdouts: extinct.