The prerequisites for success

An optimal strategy should include the patient AND the physician - this is the foundation of the team and the partnership:

  • Identify the needs in terms of a pulmonary rehabilitation program in the region (competition in the community?)
  • Evaluate the opportunities and challenges of the existing infrastructure (e.g.: parking, accessibility).
  • Define the rehabilitation services and estimate the cost.
  • Identify a cohort of referring physicians and front line professionals.
  • Promote the program (e.g.: patient testimonials, transmission of results to physicians).
  • Do some advertising (e.g.: newspapers, television, media interviews, wellness campaigns, Web sites, etc.).
  • Promote pulmonary rehabilitation during national/international weeks devoted to it.
  • Plan for a mechanism that will encourage the very first patients to re-register in the program after a certain lapse of time.

To sum up, success is based upon many different factors:

  • Effective management practices and a well-organized program structure
  • A motivated and proactive medical director
  • A motivating, inspiring and inclusive medical coordinator, with proven leadership skills
  • Support from the organization's decision-makers
  • A dedicated, enthusiastic and well-informed interdisciplinary team
  • Access to relevant documentation and reliable data

Without forgetting communications and interaction!

The effectiveness of the interdisciplinary team depends upon a satisfactory communications system. Team meetings will foster interaction. These meetings should be held at the beginning and at the end of a program. Their purpose is to enable the practitioners to discuss the following elements:

  • Data from the patient's medical history and medical exam
  • Results of medical tests
  • Evaluations made by members of the team
  • Specific targets or problems identified
  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Progress made by the patients
  • Review of the treatment plans, when necessary
  • Post-program needs

Stable long-term funding

The question of funding is an unavoidable dimension that can make or break the establishment and/or survival of the program. When funding comes from private sources, it is strongly recommended to make medium-term agreements (3 to 5 years).