Lessons Learned with Darryl Yardley

Welcome to the “Lessons Learned” edition of PT Business Corner where we provide the most important points we learned in discussion with our guests. Today’s guest is the renowned Darryl Yardley. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 2006 and has practiced as an orthopaedic physiotherapist since, also completing his Fellowship in Canadian Manipulative Therapy in 2009. Currently, Darryl is the Director of Therapy Services at the Brant Community Healthcare System and he continues to work clinically as a consultant with orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. He is also the Chair of CPA Private Practice Division and represents Canada at an international level as a member of the International Private Practice Physical Therapist Association (IPPTA). Darryl is the founder of Mentorship Bootcamp and course manager and professor for the Business and Entrepreneurship courses in Physical Therapy at Western University and provides guest lectures to students at the University of Toronto and McMaster University.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to chat with Darryl and discuss his role as a trailblazer in the physiotherapy profession.

With many years of valuable experience working with healthcare and business, Darryl

had plenty of information about his journey and shared some valuable lessons with us. You can listen to the full entertaining podcast HERE while we provide you with a summary of the top 5 lessons.

Lesson 1: Transitioning from the Private Sector to the Public Sector

Darryl finds that in private healthcare, consumerism and customer service is ingrained as an integral part of the culture. If you are a physiotherapist in a private practice, your goal is to treat as many patients as you can and build a strong caseload in order to prove your value to your clinic. When he transitioned into public healthcare, Darryl realized that the environment was one that promoted collaboration above all. Whereas in private practice, Darryl could use years of experience as his guide, he lacked that same familiarity in an acute care setting. As a result, he had to take a step back and carefully craft his approach in order to revamp operations in the public sector. Darryl also had to work on building trust with the hospital staff, a process which took almost 6 months. After all, if you are unable to develop trust within the environment, then you won’t be able to change the culture surrounding it.

Lesson 2: Challenges in the Public Sector

In a private practice setting, Darryl highlights that it is easy to provide recognition and reward. Whether the recognition takes place in an email or if it’s a fiscal investment to allow a physiotherapist to take additional courses, the rewards can be instantaneous. Performance management also occurs quickly if clinicians aren’t executing to the desired levels. However, in a hospital setting, Darryl mentions that it is difficult to reward individuals as easily, which is currently his biggest challenge. A lack of recognition for these individuals who are going above and beyond can result in burnout. Darryl emphasizes that if your key performers are burning out, then your whole team will struggle to achieve success. Thus, it is important to be able to recognize individuals who put forth a great effort, a task which Darryl is still working on in the public sector.

Lesson 3: More For Less

Darryl stresses that individuals in public healthcare tend to get caught in the notion of doing more for less. As a physio, one may think that they have to see more patients in less time, while also getting paid the same amount. However, Darryl highlights that it is important to take a step back and analyze the scenario. In his opinion, “More for less” means that if more funding is allocated for physiotherapists to provide earlier care for patients, this can result in patients being discharged earlier and overall, a lesser strain on the healthcare system as a whole. Instead of viewing the mantra from a workload perspective, individuals should be looking at how they can prevent patients from coming into the hospital. Therefore, while “More for less” is a phrase often heard in the public sector, the key is to look at it with a systems perspective rather than an individualized viewpoint.

Lesson 4: Key Metrics in the Public Sector

Similar to the private sector, a key performance indicator in a hospital setting is utilization of workload. Darryl mentions that it is often tricky to obtain the same streamlined statistics in a hospital in comparison to a private clinic, where you are able to manipulate and tailor data relative to your needs. Darryl observes that in a hospital, there are multiple levels that you must go through in order to obtain the distilled data. Additionally, the data gathered may not be meaningful as Darryl finds that staff may be uninformed regarding the importance of certain metrics and they would much rather be seeing patients than stuck inputting data. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the gathered data and ensure that systems are implemented in order to obtain meaningful information. Another key metric is length of stay (LOS), which helps to analyze the program of care set in place for patients. Reducing LOS by increasing physiotherapy services can require more spending upfront, but ultimately result in a hospital saving millions of dollars through decreased strain on the system.

Lesson 5: Giving Back to the Community

For Darryl, the Mentorship Bootcamp began due his outlook on being able to give back to the physiotherapy profession. As a lone clinician, Darryl quickly realized that the more physiotherapists he mentored, the greater his outreach would be. As he highlights, if he can mentor 10 other physiotherapists, who each further mentor 10 others, then his passion and skills can reach a population of 100 individuals, far greater than what he could achieve alone. In addition, Darryl observed through his position as a director that there are many opportunities and gaps that physiotherapists can fill, however there is a surprising lack of physiotherapists actually doing so. As a result, Darryl provides mentorship in order to elevate the physiotherapy profession and increase business acumen in physiotherapists, which helps clinic directors and managers, but also increases clinical skills in physiotherapists as well.

These were a glimpse of some of the great lessons that we took away from Darryl! For a full interview, you can access it HERE.

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