As a health professional, you are viewed as an expert and trusted source to your patients and clients.
This means you have the power to influence their belief systems and this means great responsibility.
Hi, I’m Dr. Andrew Arnold (Chiropractor) and today I want to talk about the importance of choosing what and how you deliver your message in the room.
A patient once presented to me and, just like any other consultation launched into their ‘story’.
Immediately it became apparent they may have been given the wrong information.
This is approximately how it went down. “I saw a Chiropractor 20 years ago who told me my back is so bad I would never be able to play golf again. He told me I had slipped discs that were herniated, and probably pressing on nerves and that I would eventually need surgery if I wasn’t super careful”.
Now there is a concept we call ‘Chinese Whispers’. You know, where our clients interpret something we say, jump on Dr. Google, talk to their ‘expert’ friends and over time the story twists and turns to the present day, quite different to the original message.
The point I need to emphasize in this article is quite simply, you cannot be too clear.
Now this particular patient as it turned out, had never had any investigations, i.e. x-ray, MRI, C.T. etc. however, did elect to never, ever play golf again…for the past 20 years!
Further on this, I then recommended various investigations only to discover this patient’s spine was in reasonable condition, no evidence of herniation’s or radiculopathy. In fact, they could have quite easily continued playing the game he loved and surgery certainly wasn’t on the horizon any time soon!
So please, make sure you are crystal clear with your patients. Choose your words very carefully around all aspects of the consult, e.g. the delivering your working diagnosis, the prognosis, treatment and schedule.
Patients will hear what they want to hear and this can change the second they leave your room and reach reception.
I use posters, models, pc graphics. I write it down, get an agreement from them and then re-iterate it to reception in front of them.
I also follow up sms, call and email them to further re-inforce the messages.
You cannot be too clear.
So please don’t ever let your patient walk out of the room without an absolute clear message about all aspects of the consultation. This is your duty of care and responsibility to your patients.
About the Author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold (Chiropractor) is the ‘Practice Leverage Expert’; Principal Chiropractor and owner, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre; Business Consultant; Founder, Million Dollar Wellness Practice. Andrew is married to Dr. Linda Wilson, the Stress Specialist and has two children, Isaac and Bella. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.