Table 2.

Suggestions for Developing a Partnership with Schools

PrinciplesPhysician-Directed Application
1. The solution to improving physician-teacher communication is community-specific and practice-specific.To determine the feasibility of implementing different collaboration procedures in your community, consider holding discussions with local school administrators, teachers, physicians, parents, and other stakeholders. Additionally, interested physicians might request conduct of focus groups that involve key stakeholders.
2. Improved physician-teacher communication is best worked out by joint and voluntary efforts of all stakeholders.Efforts should be made to create a community consensus. It is important that the collaboration between teachers and physicians is voluntary for both.
3. Clarification of roles can facilitate development of physician-teacher collaborationJoint physician-teacher training workshops can help set expectations that physicians and teachers will collaborate in setting up treatment goals and monitoring of classroom behavior.
4. Several options may be considered before the procedure for setting-up physician-teacher linkage is selectedThe procedures for connecting physicians and teachers include the following:
    1. Direct linkage via mail, fax, phone, or e-mail (may involve physician office staff)
    2. Linkage via a parent or a primary caretaker
    3. Direct linkage via Web (involving physician office staff only)
    4. Linkage via Internet involving a care manager and a child psychiatrist (who convert raw data into a meaningful feedback report for the treating physician)
    5. Linkage via school nurse or school psychologist
    6. Physician participation in parent-teacher school conferences
    7. Other formalized arrangements between groups of physicians and school systems (eg, via a child evaluation team consisting of volunteer professionals)
5. The linkage procedure should be structured but allow flexibilityTo accommodate physicians and teachers who are not comfortable with a highly centralized procedure, alternative methods of linkage may be necessary. Above all, find the method that works for your community and allow time for communication maturation.