San Diego, CA – October 22nd, 2010 – ChiroTouch™, the nation's leader in chiropractic software, recently posted its latest article in its educational series entitled "How to Breathe New Life Into Your Practice."
How to Breathe New Life into Your Practice
They say that image is everything, and this is certainly true in the medical services market. If your chiropractic office is still operating the same way it did ten years ago, you are doing both yourself and your patients a major disservice. An office can have the best service in the world, but this doesn't mean a thing if your office is in desperate need of a makeover. Many failing chiropractic offices have the same things in common: their appearance, procedures, staff attitude, and aftercare are outdated. By renewing these four critical components of chiropractic care, you can not only rejuvenate your practice and provide better service to your patients, but can make your own life easier as well.
Let's consider an office that could use a renewal. The outside of the building may be a little shabby and unappealing. Maybe it's a little hard to find, and the sign is written in small lettering that can be difficult for people with impaired vision to read. When patients come into the waiting room, they are greeted by a harried, uninterested receptionist who thrusts a clipboard at them. As they sit down in slightly uncomfortable chairs to fill out the same paperwork they did last time they were there; they take in the older decorating scheme of the office (have those still lifes on the wall been changed out in the last decade?) and settle in for a long wait.
During the procedure, the chiropractor doesn't engage them much. Although they may make some small talk, there's no real connection. The patient doesn't know what exactly it is the chiropractor is doing, much less why it's important. After they leave, it's out of sight, out of mind, until the practitioner sees them again. They may leave patients with a few aftercare instructions, but there's no follow-up call, and the instructions are poorly explained.
If you were a patient, would you even bother to come back?
Luckily, most of these problems have an easy fix. To begin with, as you can see, the aesthetics of your office make a difference. The entrance is the very first impression your patients get, so make it a good one. Make sure that the sign is clearly written and easily visible, and that directions are clear if your office is inside an office suite.
The waiting room is your chance to impress patients and potential patients before they even meet you. You should try to give your practice an air of medical professionalism, with just a little bit of luxury and personality. When in doubt, simplicity is better, but feel free to tailor it towards your patients. If you have a lot of older clients, then try to create a relaxing atmosphere, with lots of plants and age-appropriate magazines. If a lot of your clientele is younger, then consider creating a more vibrant atmosphere, with a younger decorating scheme and interesting wall art. You can also consider installing a wireless router in your waiting room to provide free Wi-Fi to your clients. The younger ones will certainly appreciate it.
You should also make sure that your waiting room staff is engaging; in chiropractic practices, just as in regular life, first impressions are important.
The procedure rooms should have the same feel: professional, but relaxing. Your equipment should be as up to date as possible, and be sure to add some personal touches. If possible, consider adding some aromatherapy oils, or at least something to cut the "doctor's office" smell.
It's important to keep up-to-date in the way you go through your procedures too. There are so many technological advancements that you can use to keep your patients in the loop. Granted, chiropractic documentation is not the most fascinating reading in the world, but consider going over your chiropractic SOAP notes and charts with the patient. This helps keep them informed and gives them a better understanding of what you're doing.
Another great innovation is chiropractic software that can allow you to show on-screen exactly what each patient's issue is, how this affects their body, and the best way to address the issue. By using software like this to go over diagnoses and treatments with your patients visually, you not only keeps them informed, but can give them an idea about why what you're doing is important.
Your manner during procedures should be professional, but engaging. Try to make a personal connection with each patient, and if you can't remember things about each one, then feel free to make notes about patients that you review before their visits to keep your mind in the game. Many chiropractic EHR programs have areas for personal notations or alerts, which are ideal for this kind of thing.
While patients may be impressed by the quality of your subluxation adjustments, they are more likely to remember that you know their name and remember a little bit about what's going on in their life. This is what keeps patients engaged and excited about their visits to you, and what keeps them coming back.
Finally, having a good aftercare process is essential. You need to make your patients aware of how they can maximize the benefits of their adjustments, and how to not simply undo your work in between visits. The best way to do this is to sit down with your patients and explain to them, simply, though in detail, what they need to do between visits, and how what you do affects their body in the long run.
Another good aftercare practice is to have your staff call back about a week after visits to do a quick check-in on the patient. This not only allows the patient to voice any concerns, it lets you know how your treatment is working, and can give you more insight into the long-term effects of treatment in the patient's daily life. On top of all this, it gives the patient another sense of connection to your office, and gives your office a very caring appearance.
As you can see, little things can add up to making a great difference, even in the most seasoned of practices. By taking care of seemingly insignificant details like your practice's appearance and the "feel" of your waiting room, you ensure that clients feel welcomed and comfortable. By taking a few extra minutes to go over your notes with a patient, you not only make them feel valued and knowledgeable, you also help to ensure that they're not simply undoing your work in between each visit. Adding a personal touch to your practice and your procedures is not only a good thing to do as a caring health practitioner; it makes for good business.
So take advantage of all the new technology, chiropractic software, and your own knowledge to make your office professional, accessible, and welcoming to your old patients while and attractive to new ones. Just as with a cosmetic makeover, you and those around you will be astounded with the results.