You’re just given an Oscar-winning Report of Findings. Your schedule plan is crystal clear. The patients hears you, agrees with you and is ready to move forwards.
They get to your reception and say, I’ll call to make my next appointment. And they’re gone!
What just happened?
From your rooms to reception something must have changed in the patients mind?
Or maybe they weren’t telling you the truth in the first place.
In my 30 years + clinical practice experience you cannot be clear enough. Health is generally low on the priority list even for our patients who have booked to see us. People sabotage themselves all the time, and we do too. Think about the exercise plan, the dietary change or other health initiative we find ourselves sneaking out of.
It’s not necessarily conscious but essentially as far as our health management is concerned, we are slippery.
So in our practice we are a stand for our patient’s health even when they are not, and this oftentimes means compassionate, firm confront.
So practitioners, get comfortably uncomfortable with confrontation because this is what it takes to help our patients reach their optimal potential health outcomes.
Here’s what we do.
I explain the schedule and the reasons behind it. I use all forms of communications from kinesthetic to auditory, i.e. graphics, posters, models, touch, sound etc.
I get an agreement and deal with perceived roadblocks (usually time and money) upfront.
Then I write down their schedule and walk with them to reception.
I hand the schedule to reception and verbalize it in front of the patient.
I hand them over to reception who are trained to manage this.
I note in my clinical notes exactly what I have recommended.
I follow up on the same day with an SMS and email reinforcing the schedule.
I always recommend their immediate follow is within 2-4 days of their initial and I make sure I do not over or under schedule.
Finally, I avoid at all costs righteousness around the patient returning after not following my recommendations. I gently, but clearly show them why they have not reached their health goals and help them to re-commit to the original plan.
And finally, finally, be consistent. Don’t change your message. Stick to your core plan. Patients understand this may then change but you must have a core directive.
Be clear, then be clearer!
About the Author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold (Chiropractor) is the ‘Practice Leverage Expert’; Principle Chiropractor and owner, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre; Accredited Business Coach; Founder, Million Dollar Wellness Practice and Partner, Wellness Leadership Academy. Andrew is married to Dr. Linda Wilson, the Stress Specialist and has two children, Isaac and Bella. He lives in Melbourne, Australia