by Dava Stewart
Have you ever purchased a new phone or computer, taken it home, and set it up only to realize that you have no clue how to operate it? We’ve all been there, and it’s frustrating.
It’s one thing to have that experience at home, but when it comes to equipment for your practice, it’s a much bigger deal. Low level laser therapy (LLLT), also called cold laser therapy, is one of the newest, most cutting-edge treatments that DCs can offer patients. However, before rushing out to buy the latest and greatest laser system, there are some important points to consider.
Do you know how it works?
Understanding how LLLT can best be used to help patients is the first step. It does not have any known side effects and improves patient outcomes when certain conditions are met. Knowing what those conditions are and what is required for effective treatment is critical for DCs considering investing in laser systems.
Power, intensity, and pulse, which are referred to as protocols when combined, are all critical when it comes to LLLT. Treating musculoskeletal conditions requires a different set of protocols than providing trigger point therapy with a laser. Some lasers have the protocols preset, while others provide digital reference manuals, and manufacturers handle protocols in different ways.
DCs who know how LLLT can benefit patients and know the importance of protocols will have an easier time shopping. If at all possible, observe several laser systems being used, either by attending seminars, visiting other practices, or inviting manufacturers’ representatives to the practice to provide several different types of treatments to patients with various conditions. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends offering those treatments at no cost to the patient, as well as obtaining signed consent.
Do you know where to get training and support?
Another very important consideration is the level of training and support that is provided with the purchase of a laser system. Is in-person training, phone support, or seminars included? Is there an additional cost for additional training or phone support? Is there a specific contact person assigned to answer questions? The newest, fanciest laser on the market will not improve a practice without adequate support.
Will you be able to efficiently maintain the equipment?
Cleaning, repairs, upgrades, and integration with existing systems are also areas of concern. All tools and equipment require cleaning and maintenance, and lasers are no exception. Knowing what to expect before making a purchase is helpful.
Know before you buy
A laser system can be a sizable investment, can improve patients’ lives, and can bring new patients to a practice. Taking the time to thoroughly research how the technology works, what is available at what price, and what will best fit into the existing workflow is worth the effort.