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Reigniting private practice networks

Emma Breheny and Carolyn Coleman

After a two-year absence, a South Australian chapter committee of the APA’s Physiotherapy Business group has re-formed. The committee, comprising Rachel Combe, APAM, Ben Corso, APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, Bill Gonis, APAM, and Peter Tziavrangos, APAM, aims to reignite collaboration, sharing of ideas and discussion of private practice issues among group members.

‘There was a core group of private practitioners in Adelaide who were really active in the group but once they reached retirement age, it naturally disbanded,’ committee member Rachel Combe says of the recent history of the group in SA.

Rachel and her fellow committee members wanted to address the shortage of face-to-face professional development and networking that had resulted from the absence of a committee to coordinate events.

‘There hasn’t been much face-to-face professional development for South Australian physios in the past few years that touches on growing your business, innovation or exciting business developments,’ Rachel says.

There are many burning issues in the business world, with lone practice owners pondering many of the same questions as their counterparts.
Plans for future lecture evenings include supervision of new graduates, social media and marketing, and employee remuneration.
‘I catch up regularly with four or five private practice owners to “talk shop” and I find that really helpful. The more we adopt that collaborative approach as a whole group, the more physiotherapy’s profile will be raised in South Australia,’ Rachel says.

To renew interest in a collaborative approach, each of the committee members have put their hand up to share their own ‘heartaches and headaches’ at a members forum for the Business group on 28 June.

Aptly titled ‘A long overdue conversation about physio business’, the event will see panellists work through a range of scenarios they have dealt with in their own practices. On the agenda is working with health insurers, preferred provider schemes and staff.

Speakers from Williams deKort Consulting and RH Advisory, two boutique management consulting firms, will also appear.

Plans for future lecture evenings include supervision of new graduates, social media and marketing, and employee remuneration.

‘After 14 years of running my own business, I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer younger private practice owners. I also feel really passionate about employees. You get to the point in your career where you want to look beyond your microcosm of private practice to the broader issues that pertain to the profession as a whole,’ Rachel explains.
The committee hopes to provide a supportive network to ponder these bigger issues and raise the profile of physiotherapy in the increasingly competitive healthcare environment. And they are always looking for new and like-minded people to join the committee.

‘There would be so much more power in numbers if we talk as a whole unit, rather than being frightened of giving away “trading secrets”. We’re all very unique in how we run our practices but there are a lot of issues that are very similar,’ Rachel says.


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