Every practice has it's old-timers; the patients who have been coming for so long that it's more of a habit than something they actually look forward to or appreciate. It's only natural for people to get bored with doing the same thing over and over again, and this is one of the reasons long-time patients tend to get lackadaisical about their treatments.
They may even start to forget what they felt like before getting chiropractic treatments, and even consider stopping treatment all together. This is why it is so important to keep patients engaged in their treatment, and make them aware of how much of a difference chiropractic treatment actually does make in their lives, and how much it contributes to their long-term wellness. Here are some good strategies for keeping those long-time patients engaged and excited about their chiropractic work.
There are two main tools for keeping patients engaged: personality and technology. By using these two tools in conjunction, you can keep those patients engaged and excited about coming to your practice.
Everyone has their own personality, and there's no need to change that for your practice. Not everyone is going to be overly enthusiastic, just as not everyone is quiet and focused. The type of personality is not important, as long as it's pleasant and accessible; what is important is how you imbue that into your practice.
You need to be able to make a personal connection with your patients, and show them that you are genuinely interested in their chiropractic issues and treatment needs. This doesn't mean you have to try to be their best friend every time they walk in the office; rather, it means that you need to show them that you do have an authentic interest in their well-being. It is simply absurd to expect a patient to be engaged and excited about improving their lifetime wellness if you aren't, so take a few minutes to show a little interest, whether that shows up as enthusiasm or quiet confidence.
Another aspect of personality is education. Take the time to connect with your patients and educate them about what you are doing, why your are doing it, and how they can take care not to undo it. This is an area which overlaps heavily with technology, but the technology is useless if you don't take the time to sit down and use it with your patients.
The changes in chiropractic software these days are simply astounding. Besides the improvements in chiropractic documentation that have come with technology, new chiropractic software make it even easier to re-engage your long-term clients.
One great advantage of technology is better patient education. Though also part of the personality tool, using technology to your advantage for patient education is not only smart, it makes life easier on both you and the patient.
Many chiropractic softwares offer onscreen X-ray viewing, access to videos of procedure techniques, and images of the effects of common chiropractic conditions. By giving your patients a chance to visually interact with software during their treatment, you can make it more "real" to them, and give them a better understanding of the procedures that you use on them, and why those procedures work. Keeping patients educated is crucial for keeping them engaged, since education gives them a sense of personal involvement and investment with their treatment.
Additionally, technology is fantastic for keeping track of patient progress. One of the best ways to keep patients interested is by showing them quantifiable results as often as you can. A great way to do this is to perform an outcome assessment at the end of each visit. Look for a chiropractic software that incorporates outcome assessments into its treatment plan functionality. This allows the patient to view their results over time, and get an objective view of how they feel their treatment went, their overall satisfaction, and the difference in how they felt before the treatment and after the treatment.
You can simultaneously fill out a physical outcome assessment based on your observations before and after treatment. Both of these should be kept as part of a patient's chiropractic SOAP notes, and you can store them either physically or in your chiropractic EHR system.
You should go over these assessments with patients before the beginning of each session to show them how far they've come, or how much more treatment they may need to accomplish their health goals. By seeing long-term, quantifiable change and progress, patients are much more likely to remain engaged and excited about their treatment.
As you can see, a large part of keeping long-time patients engaged involves keeping yourself engaged. You can make the best personality connection in the world and offer superb technological insights to your patients, but if you yourself are not actively engaged in finding the best treatment for a patient, then it's difficult to get true interest out of a patient.
Another important aspect of keeping yourself, and consequently, your patients engaged is keeping up to date with the latest treatment options. You should be continuously educating yourself on the new procedures and techniques in your field; this is especially important if you have a specialty, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
By being up to date on the latest technology and procedures, you can offer your patients new and alternative treatments, which is another way to keep them engaged. No one likes doing the same thing over and over again, so by changing up their treatment regimen, you automatically make chiropractic treatment more interesting and engaging. Of course, this should be done within reason, but an appropriate change in treatment or new procedure method can do wonders for a patient's attitude and engagement.
Keeping long-time patients engaged can be a challenge, and there is no one sure-fire method for keeping patients excited about treatment. However, by using the two tools of personality and technology, and keeping yourself up to date on the latest in your field, you can not only keep your patients engaged and excited about their well-being and health, but keep yourself engaged with your patients as well.
Dr. Michael Failla is the CEO and Co-owner of Integrated Practice Solutions, the makers of ChiroTouch. Dr. Failla graduated from Life University College of Chiropractic in Atlanta, GA and went on to run a highly successful chiropractic office in Seattle, WA, for 25 years. He sold his practice in 2007 and continues to promote health and wellness by helping chiropractors run streamlined and successful practices with more time for their patients and less time with their paperwork. Go to www.chirotouch.com for more information.