Patient Education Is The Key To Success

Written by: Sharon Freese-Pettibon

This is a tough economic time, which is irrefutable. There is no spin to soften the blow. The good times of easy money, credit, and purchasing power are gone for a great deal of Americans. It has affected Chiropractors because it has affected their patients. The question that begs to be asked is whether it has affected the product we refer to as a clinical outcome?

The logical answer is absolutely NOT. The power to diagnose, fix, alter and heal is present and apparently works independently of financial status.

The single most important tool to jump-start a practice lies in the ability to sell what you own. If any member of your staff has never been evaluated by you then how can they tell someone to keep their appointment for their health? If there is no quantitative methodology of showing before and after to a patient, how can staff feel like they have a product to sell? Good, bad, right or wrong, everyone has a product to sell. No, you are not a vacuum cleaner salesman/woman but be assured that if you don’t know what your actual product is then how can your customer?  One can only spin facts for so long before they have to produce them. Patient attrition? Look to the delivery of the product and the education of the patient.

The patient that chooses your office does so for a variety of reasons: near their home, referred by a friend, only office open that day, cheap prices or they liked the way the phone was answered, etc. The patient that stays the course of care does so for only one reason: they are getting a result that was anticipated and they understand the process.

Being an active practice is such a great challenge. Every single day one has the opportunity to change someone’s entire life. How many people get to do that? Enthusiasm for clinical outcomes is contagious. When a Doctor educates their staff to instruct and reinforce the patient EACH and EVERY day in some way, they absolutely guarantee the ongoing success of their objectives. Every single person who contributes in a clinical setting has to be aware of the process and the goal. Even the process of having NO process is a process.

The small things always seem to count when dealing with patients; always knowing who they are and treating them as unique. Be aware of their lives and their focus and desires and design your education to their needs. If your patient is a golfer, explain the importance of using the Portable Wobble Chair™ right before they tee off for the first time. Have some fun with it and tell them to put it in their golf cart and see what a change it makes in the mobility of their game! Imagine the golf buddies who will want one of “those chairs” after they use it. Seniors that are unable to move will love the education about restored function and the byproduct being enhanced mobility!

The Pettibon Weighting System™ is changing lives through the simple use each day as directed. Educate your patient by using pre and post-x-rays with the weighting diagnostic kit and once they see how their curves can be restored and improved function, they will understand why they need to follow your protocols and keep their appointments.

It is such a joy to work in a practice where there are tools to educate the patient that have them totally involved and participating. Posters are nice but actively working on rehabilitation one step at a time gives people a reason. Inexpensive whiteboards have always been my personal key to educating a patient. At any moment, in any place, a question can be answered with biomechanical drawings to explain what is happening as the body changes and adapts.

From the front desk to the back office, to out the door, a patient should be able to anticipate educated, logical and specific answers to their questions. Their lifestyle should be discussed and their goals outlined. Such seemingly insignificant things such as putting purses on the wrong side of the shoulder, wearing shoes with little support, or asking them to bring in their pillow, are to assist them in getting their full value for care.

If the process involves signing in, sitting down, being called back, same questions and same answers, and the same manipulation then it would follow that after a while the patient may be left wondering about objectives and changes and goals. Once they have a sit down with their finances in hand, they may weigh it all and decide to cease care. When people quit they usually claim it is financial. If your financial office works with the patient on care plans then the answer is not that. When the value is received, people will find a way to get it.

The request of this article is for each clinician to ask themselves:

  1. Am I educating the patient in such a manner that meets their needs and goals?
  2. Is the staff strong in their enthusiasm for the product produced and have they experienced it for themselves?

The thought for this article is simple:

  • Own what you sell.
  • Educate and sell it.
  • Teach the patient how to educate those who ask about their results.
  • Simple business.
  • Simple success.