Lost A Sale, But Initial Phone Consultations — A Big Part Of Brilliant Customer Service
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The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
More Chiropractors Required
An intriguing study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine examines how "chiropractic care affects use of primary care physician (PCP) services."
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
July, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 07
The Initial Treatment: Generating Thousands to Your Practice
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
After nearly two decades of owning a clinic, managing therapists and treating patients to this day, I have learned to never underestimate the potential income of a new client, when their initial treatment includes the appropriate education.A client who is well-educated on the tremendous benefits of consistent massage will more than likely become a regular client. And potentially, after an initial treatment, one client can generate tens of thousands of dollars to your practice.
In the early 1990s, a client was referred to my clinic with symptoms of pain and restricted range-of-motion (ROM) in their neck and low back. During that initial treatment, I provided pain relief along with education to help the client understand why he was in pain and how continued treatments would help improve his quality of life. To this day, that same patient spends hundreds of dollars in monthly self-care treatments when he visits Florida. This adds up to thousands of dollars annually, and tens of thousands of dollars since his initial visit.
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, the initial treatment often determines the number of future appointments scheduled, the purchases of other products or services, future referrals and possibly the amount of your gratuity or bonus. This article will cover various ways to educate patients during their initial treatment to build your practice and attract patients who will spend tens of thousands of dollars.
During the initial treatment the patient is evaluating whether they should invest future time and money on more treatments. Since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, make it count. Start by being thorough and have clients complete health intake and pain intensity scale forms to document their past and current conditions. On a diagram of the body have the patient shade the areas that hurt, indicate the pain type (e.g. aching, dull) and intensity (0 = no pain / 10 = excruciating pain) they are experiencing. (Fig. 1)
These essential forms will help the patient to clarify and the therapist to quickly understand: When the pain started and what may have caused it? What has been tried in the past for relief and the results? Do they believe the condition is temporary or permanent? What movements aggravate the pain? If there has been a medical diagnosis: when, by whom, and what tests or imaging were performed? What activities of daily living (ADL) is this pain effecting and how has the pain modified those activities? What are their goals for today's treatment? (Read "Questions with Direction" MT, September 2008.)
Clients should feel confident that you understand the origin of their pain and have the information needed to implement an effective treatment. It only takes a few minutes to ask clarifying questions regarding information on their intake forms, check range-of-motion, perform prudent orthopedic assessments and take postural analysis photos.
Postural analysis grid charts make it easy for clients to see asymmetries of the body. While large charts are appropriate to hang on a wall, digital versions of charts are perfect for when wall space is limited or when you perform outcalls. And along with the digital age we live comes various digital applications to choose from. I show patients the correlation between their posture and their pain by using the screen on my cell phone. (Fig. 2) (Read "Getting Comfortable With Posture Analysis" MT, July 2008.)
A muscle movement chart allows you to immediately identify the muscles causing their postural distortions, limited range-of-motion and pain. This chart lists the muscles that shorten and contract producing movement in every joint of the body so you can breakdown any postural pattern. It also allows you to confirm the normal degrees of range-of-motion for each joint.
Review the trigger point (TrP) referral patterns that mimic their symptoms. If a client reports they have headaches that start in the temple or behind the eye, which then radiates behind the ear and into the neck, they are describing the referral pain pattern for TrP #1 in the trapezius muscle. This is one of the most common TrPs found in the body. Showing clients their pattern on a trigger point chart lets them know you understand the pain and have a plan to help. (Fig. 3)
Portable trigger point flip charts provide a professional presentation in any environment and are easily moved from one location and/or treatment room to another. The best flip charts on the market have laminated pages to prevent oils and lotions from damaging them. Note: Look for chart systems that are logically designed, easy to use and includes a muscle movement chart. (Fig. 4) (Read "Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists" MT, May 2009.)
Training and Treatment
A solid knowledge of anatomy is key to delivering effective hands-on treatment techniques. Dissection seminars are the ultimate learning experience allowing you to see, touch and understand every tissue of the body. Attending this level of education sets you apart from other therapists. Physicians and other health care providers in your area will respect this level of study and be more willing to refer. Your therapist bio should be updated to reflect your advanced trainings. Certificates should be placed in your reception area, treatment room and/or your Web site.
Homestudy DVD programs are excellent support tools. The best dollar valued programs cost more; however, they come with accompanying photo manuals. This allows you to watch the DVD while reviewing your manual. Some systems include cross-referencing to trigger point, muscle movement and other charts.
Review and Recommend
Upon completion of the treatment, explain that it makes sense to you that they felt the aches, pains and symptoms that caused them to seek your services. Share that during the treatment you palpated the muscles, assessing and confirming your other objective findings. Review very briefly their postural analysis photos, correlating the photos to their pain intensity scale and trigger points that were identified during the treatment. Conclude your treatment with a few tips and recommendations to help them avoid this pain from returning. Show them stretches, the proper use of ice, and the ergonomic modification to be integrated into their daily routine. Now that they feel the relief of one treatment, explain that a series of four, six or more would provide much greater benefit. This is the time to explain the specials or packages that would be best for them.
Clients also realize we have extensive experience using various creams, lotions and topical analgesics. They respect our judgment and purchase the same products we use during their treatment as gifts for themselves, family or friends. Most products have a 50 percent markup and can add significantly to your annual bottom line without requiring you to perform any additional hours of therapy.
Never underestimate the future potential income a new client can generate. Be proactive and prepared by investing today for the tools and knowledge you need to educate yourself and your clients. Before you can expect clients to make a large long-term financial investment in your treatments, you must show and tell them all the reasons this is a wise and worthwhile investment. Integrating the proper patient education into your initial treatment can reap patients that spend tens of thousands of dollars with you over the years.
Good luck and please let me know about your experiences in the treatment room.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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