Often, a patient steps into a chiropractic center feeling at their worst, and wondering how a care plan can benefit their specific health issue.
They’ve exhausted all options and have yet to find relief in allopathic medicine. They’re downtrodden and defeated, and they have little faith that their issue can or will ever be resolved.
For chiropractors and their staff, watching patients make gradual strides to better overall health through chiropractic care is highly gratifying, and perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a career is following a patient through their journey from the initial consultation to making chiropractic a lifestyle choice.
Of course, this transformation doesn’t come overnight, and it involves far more than the practice of delivering care.
High-impact chiropractic care moves beyond the adjustment by creating a partnership with patients that prioritizes trust, transparency, and responsibility in making the difficult strides toward resolution.
Being patient with patients
Communicating the importance of chiropractic care to new patients is paramount in creating a long-term and lasting relationship, and that communication must help them realize those benefits on their own. Understandably, objections are nothing new for practicing chiropractors when they meet a first-time patient. They’ve heard everything from “Once I go, I have to go the rest of my life,” and “Chiropractic care can hurt me,” all the way to “Chiropractors aren’t real doctors.”
For DCs, the first step is to under- stand your patients’ point of view, appreciate that they have the courage to share their objections, and never take these objections personally. Once you’ve done so, you can then quell patient concerns by providing evidence- based care as it relates to their specific qualms. For example, reassure a patient that there is a specific beginning and end to their care program based on their goals. Interestingly, these patients may become your most loyal ones because their concerns were under- stood, addressed, and appreciated immediately.
There’s no silver bullet for chiropractic care, and each case must be handled individually based on a patient’s goals. Care is a multifaceted process, and by understanding a patient’s goals, such as improving pain, function, or overall wellbeing, you can provide options on what will work best to achieve the patient’s desired outcome.
For example, an office worker who consistently strains his or her neck while using a computer may have different needs than a construction worker whose daily tasks include heavy lifting. Your job is to communicate how these everyday scenarios can affect the spine, and then provide care and counseling. Getting patients excited about chiropractic care boils down to personalizing the discussion.
From your lobby to the exam room, creating true partnerships with patients must be an organizational mission that starts the moment they step through the front door. Chiropractic assistants are the first and last faces a patient sees when visiting your practice and, as such, they are responsible for setting the tone of the visit.
By demonstrating a keen ability to relay information, defining a doctor’s care recommendations, and answering questions a patient has during or post-care, your CAs and other staff are constantly ingraining a feeling of trust and correspondence with patients.
Your team must commit to learning about the industry, its history, and the benefits of chiropractic care to instill trust and to clearly and confidently communicate with patients.
Education and training
Care plans shouldn’t end when a patient leaves the office. Making them an active partner in their care by educating them on the strides they can take on their own is essential to nurturing the patient-practice relationship. This comes with increased awareness of a chiropractic approach and the impact of a healthy nervous system on their spinal health.
By introducing stages of healing through postural exercises, spinal hygiene tips, and proper ergonomics at home and work, you can help your patients safely keep themselves engaged and responsible for their own spinal health.
Creating partnerships with patients is best achieved by giving patients an active role. By helping them understand the benefits of chiropractic care, personalizing plans for their specific needs, understanding their care experi- ence, and establishing an organizational identity that prioritizes trust, a practice can do more than just serve patients— it can create lasting relationships.
Karlos Boghosian, DC, is the founder and CEO of SoVita Chiropractic Center, a Hartford, Connecticut-based chiropractic clinic with five locations that offer a franchise model to qualified chiropractors. He was nominated for Chiropractor of the Year in Connecticut in 2014, and was appointed to the Connecticut Chiropractic Board of Examiners in 2015. He can be contacted through sovitafranchise.com.