There are many reasons DCs decide to provide nutritional counseling and supplements in their practices, from providing more well-rounded and effective care to adding an income stream. However, there are good ways to sell supplements and less than optimal strategies to avoid.
Do educate yourself thoroughly.
DCs need to have a firm grasp of what various supplements are for, whether or not there are any contraindications accompanying each one, and who will most benefit from taking them. Even if you are only selling multi-vitamins, you need to understand the benefits of them for patients.
Do research the various brands on the market.
Make sure whatever products you sell to your patients meet your own requirements—the quality of the products you sell is directly related to the quality of care you provide. Many DCs prefer selling products that are only available through chiropractic offices. If the products you suggest are not sold at the local drugstore, patients are more likely to purchase them from you, which is important from a financial standpoint. In addition, if you sell one line of products, you can delve deeper into the manufacturing process and gain a stronger understanding of the quality of the product.
Do note what patients are taking and how much.
Electronic health records (EHR) can be useful for keeping track of what you suggest and on what date. Knowing why you suggested a particular supplement and how much the patient should take will help you track progress. Even if you don’t use an EHR, make notes in a paper record.
Do follow up.
Are the supplements working? Is the patient taking the supplement in the manner you suggested? Is the patient experiencing side effects? If you don’t follow up, you don’t know. Supplements should be part of a larger treatment plan, and it’s critical to track the progress of any given treatment plan.
Don’t ignore other medications your patients may be taking.
Even if you are only suggesting that a patient begin taking a daily multi-vitamin, it is important to know what else they are taking. If you suggest herbal supplements in addition to vitamins and minerals, this is even more critical.
Don’t neglect nutrition.
Nutritional counseling is a powerful tool, and supplements are only one small part of providing counseling. Suggesting specific dietary changes in conjunction with supplements can be helpful, especially in certain situations. For example, if a patient is dealing with inflammation, dietary changes along with supplements can be a critical part of your overall treatment plan.