Why is patient education important? Increased education = increased income
Make patients understand the effectiveness of your work and this will answer the question of why patient education is important
I look back with emotion on my 13 semesters of chiropractic university. I studied a lot and gained a lot of academic knowledge along the way. Ironically, I was so focused on getting A good’s that I didn’t think enough about how I was going to make a living as a chiropractor someday. I figured that graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA at the top of my class would be enough. I was wrong. My methods of patient care and marketing have evolved over 25 years of practice. The most effective business strategy I have for you as a chiropractor arose out of our heartfelt desire to help our patients and answer the question of why pateint education is important. I am simply suggesting that you become a competent and effective patient educator.
In the grand scheme of things, using patient education in your practice through a variety of means offers the potential to offer complementary and ancillary products in your practice that will help you broaden the scope of your care. As chiropractors, we all have many flavors and differences in the way we manage our daily practices. Let me give you an overview of mine.
I have spent years developing and refining my educational approach which focuses on the feet as the foundation of our human home. After all, 99% of my patients have their three arches slightly, moderately or severely flattened. My patient’s education begins with the first visit. I highlight how deficiencies in the arches can affect the rest of the body and lead to multiple ailments of the lower limbs, upper limbs and axial spine. I make sure the patient understands that the effectiveness of the work I do as a chiropractor for their body also depends on the activities and demands placed on them outside of my office. A holistic approach to the body opens the way to other aspects of their life for which we can provide solutions.
For all of my interactions with patients, when I make service or product recommendations, I withdraw the sale. Keeping the focus on patient education allows the patient to come to certain understandings and accomplishments, and that does the selling for you.
Be a competent extremity adjuster
The feet, ankles, knees and hips have an important role to play in pelvic / spinal stability throughout the kinetic chain to the head.
The shoulders and ribs affect the stability of the cervical / thoracic regions. ATM affects the skull and the middle / upper neck. Chiropractors are more than back and neck physicians, and being able to identify patterns of extremity and spine involvement sets you apart from others in your geographic area.
Your extremity adjustment skills will take you to another level to help stabilize a patient’s condition. You can integrate this service as an add-on or supplement to your patients or bill promptly, if applicable and authorized by insurance companies (consult a billing / coding expert).
Cold laser as a physiotherapy modality in cash or at the expense of the patients
The cold laser is my prime example of an extremely effective physiotherapy modality that has stood the test of time in chiropractic.
Cold lasers have come a long way in 15 years and many more chiropractors are using them now than just a few years ago. There are Class 4 and Class 3 lasers on the market that work very well for patient care. Lasers are generally affordable for chiropractors these days, and patients will pay out of pocket for a single treatment or a series of treatments. This has been my primary form of cash flow for many years.
The laser works on just about all parts of the body and on many health issues / ailments; Additionally, treatment times have been drastically reduced with advancements in technology over the years, which is why patient education is important in terms of the effectiveness of this protocol.
Orthotics and shoes
Since 99% of our patients who come for treatment have light, moderate or severely pronator feet, this is why patient education is important to teach patients to understand that this is one the best ways to improve patient outcomes.
The three arches forming the arch of the foot support the body from the toes to the nose. So when these arches start to fall out after 6-7 years, we can start to watch this for our patients. We have a large age group whose feet need to be analyzed and would benefit from orthopedic support.
Orthotics sales are a boon to my practice’s income as I prescribe 3 to 4 pairs per week.
I also discuss shoes at length with patients to make sure they are wearing shoes that are well made and provide as much support for the foot as possible. The orthotics company I work with also offers various models of athletic, casual and dress shoes that the patient can purchase, which are already supplied with the custom tri-arch orthotics. Thus, they also benefit from a superior quality orthosis and a support shoe, offering added value.
Patients sleep on horrible pillows and they shouldn’t buy pillows in retail stores. They should buy them from you.
For some of you inventory can be a problem, but for your own good, find the space and choose your business (ies). The pillow market offers tons of choice, but usually has one critical flaw: the patient has to conform their body to the pillow. rather of the pillow adapting to the patient.
You can find effective styles of neck pillows and then have a sample of them in your office for the patient to touch and lie down. Watch them lie on it and see what their body position is. This helps reduce problems and minimize returns.
Other ancillary products
The patient education you provide will naturally allow you to offer other products. You will switch from patient care of a single entry to accommodate for support in several ways once the patient leaves your office.
Topical pain relieving creams, CBD, nutritional supplements, and home rehabilitation equipment like rubber bands are just a few examples. You have a lot of influence on the purchasing habits of patients. I would like to point out that the products and services you offer are clinically indicated from your professional assessment of each individual.
Why is patient education important? The patient sees you as an expert and an authority. We take that responsibility to the next step by offering them choices that will continue to help them outside of the office. These choices will also help expand your practice while promoting optimal treatment results. It is right that chiropractors are paid for our time, expertise, and the skills we bring to patients.
KEVIN M. WONG, DC, graduated from the University of California, Davis and graduated in 1996 from the Palmer College of Chiropractic West. He has practiced for over 25 years and is the owner of the Orinda Chiropractic & Laser Center in Orinda, California. As a member of the Foot Levelers Speakers Bureau since 2004, he travels the country talking about extremity and spine adjustment. See upcoming continuing education seminars with him and other Foot Levelers speakers at footlevelers.com/continuing-education-seminars.