resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
January, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 01
Practice Building: Getting Inside Your Patient's Head
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
What makes your outcall, chair, spa or clinical practice different from the others in your area? Implementing systems that make your practice standout from your competition are fundamental to insuring success.When a client experiences an appointment, there are many things that leave unique lasting impressions. However, what triggers a client to reschedule, return and refer? Let's look at a few subconscious triggers our culture and society has taught our clients to expect when visiting a health care provider. Then we will outline ways to integrate these systems into your massage therapy practice so your clients reschedule and refer new business.
Throughout life when we have pain or other symptoms we go to the appropriate health care provider. For example, we go to a dentist for a toothache, a family-care physician for the flu, and a chiropractor for a vertebral subluxation.
Patterns: Over the years, various doctor visits have taught us recognizable patterns that we now expect when we go to a health care provider. Typically, we arrive at their office and check-in, payment is confirmed, and then complete intake forms that include: health history, current symptoms, height, weight, blood pressure and so on.
Physiology: If the function or physiology of an organ system is in question, the health care provider will test and measure levels in the blood and urine. These levels are compared against established normal ranges for variations sending up "red flags".
Anatomy: Likewise when the form or anatomy of the body is suspect, they evaluate the structures utilizing an array of techniques from a palpation exam, orthopedic and neurological assessments, range-of-motion and muscle testing, to name a few.
Imaging: Some imaging such as X-ray, MRI, and ultrasound provides an internal view of the anatomy allowing us to see: a broken bone, a tumor and other abnormalities in the body. (Image 1) "Before" and "after" photos are commonly used by many medical specialties, from reconstructive to cosmetic surgery, because they document measurable change from start to finish.
Findings: The health care provider proceeds to explain the origin of your symptoms while referencing the tests, imaging and photos as supporting evidence. They often highlight or circle the high and low markers on the reports that indicate abnormalities. They often point out specific areas on the X-rays, MRIs or photos of the structures involved. (Image 2) Finally, they present the solution in the form of a treatment plan. Read "The Initial Treatment: Generating Thousands to Your Practice" (MT, July 2010).
Integrating Patient Expectations
Besides experiencing the above scenarios themselves, how many times have our clients also watched it repeatedly on TV and in the movies? The bottom line, our clients expect their health care provider to gather information with intake forms, listen to their history and evaluate their current condition (subjective component), followed by palpation, assessments, tests and imaging (objective component). All findings and tests are reviewed (assessment). Finally, we are told the treatment options (plan). Being aware of these patterns allows you to implement similar systems into your massage therapy practice. Let's look at each component and understand how it applies to you.
Subjective Component: Regardless of where you work, the acronym, OPQRST is a helpful system to efficiently guide the documentation of our client's subjective complaints. The following is a breakdown of that system:
Onset: When did the symptoms (pain, tension, restricted range-of-motion) start? What were they doing immediately before or leading up to the time the symptoms began?
Provokes: What activities or movements cause the pain and/or symptoms to start or get worse? What makes it better?
Quality: Describe (using the patient's words) the phenomena they are experiencing. Terms might include but are not limited to: pain, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing, pressure and tingling.
Radiates: Where is the pain? Does the pain radiate? If yes, where?
Severity: Have the client rate their current level of pain on a scale of 0-10, with 0 = no pain and 10 = severe pain.
Time: When did the current pain start? How long has the condition existed?
Completion of an intake form, questionnaire and pain scale is followed by the therapist reviewing OPQRST, providing a professional initial impression that is effective, thorough and customary to the client.
Objective Component: Now that we understand the client's symptoms, we can start the investigative process of determining other contributing factors. The first step is to identify what parts of the body are functioning abnormally. Orthopedic assessments are quick, easy and effective ways to test for musculoskeletal abnormalities or impairments. (Image 3)
Postural analysis photos are excellent for documenting posture, educating clients and customizing treatment plans. Keep the process simple, the camera and screen built into many cell phones can be both a powerful assessment and education tool. (Image 4) They allow you to instantly take, review and zoom-in on a picture. Showing a client their posture adds a whole new meaning to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words". The visual impact for the client to see their high shoulder, forward head or collapsed abdominal posture is a powerful educational tool that makes a lasting impression of your ability to identify, understand and address their problems.
Assessment: Looking at the anatomical facts allows you to establish a clinical impression or assessment, so you can create a logical treatment plan.
Plan: Just like other health care providers, you must proceed to explain the origin of your client's symptoms and a solution while referencing the tests (orthopedic, range-of-motion) and postural analysis photos as supporting evidence. Read "Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists" (MT, May 2009). It is important to "connect the dots" on a level the client can easily understand. The client must feel you understand the origin of their pain and can implement a successful, goal oriented, treatment plan. Here are a few tips:
Highlight: Highlight or circle items on the intake forms, questionnaires and pain scale of significance. Review each item with the client and take notes as appropriate.
Focus: Like doctors and other health care providers utilize X-rays, MRIs or CAT scans to educate patients, draw conclusions and design treatment plans. Make it easy for your clients to understand the stresses their musculoskeletal system is enduring by zooming-in on different postural analysis views and explain how your treatments can help. (Image 5)
Explain that muscles help to determine the location and position of bones in space, so by looking at the client's posture along with various assessments, we know which structures (muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves, etc.) are being stressed or compromised.
A lateral view photo makes it easy to show a forward head, rounded (protracted) shoulders or a collapsed abdominal posture. An anterior view photo will quickly identify the presents of a fallen arch, high shoulder, and much more. Use the photos to create measurable treatment goals. Read "Getting Comfortable With Postural Analysis" (MT, July 2008).
Correlate: Myofascial Trigger Points (TrPs) can form and be perpetuated for numerous reasons. Poor posture is one contributing factor. The formation of trigger points in the trapezius muscle is easy to understand when we cross-reference the posture photos.
Use visual aids like trigger point wall or flip charts to educate clients of referral patterns. Reviewing trigger point patterns with the client builds trust and confidence. Clients find it comforting to see their pain pattern on your charts. (Image 6) Explain how your treatments can help to address trigger points.
Reinforce: When a client asks during or after a treatment why a muscle is tight or tender, take this opportunity to briefly reinforce the connection between their posture, limited range-of-motion, trigger points and pain. Teach clients stretches, movements and offer tips that support their therapy.
Sample: A dental hygienist gives you a new toothbrush and floss at the end of a cleaning. Similarly, a medical doctor often gives patients drug samples. In similar fashion you can provide samples of topical analgesics. One company will supply to you, free of charge, brochures with a sample packet attached with you name and phone number printed on it. This is an easy and inexpensive way to promote you business. Selling topical analgesics can provide addition income.
Thank: It only takes a moment to say "thank you" or a few minutes to send a note. It is always nice to be acknowledged and feel appreciated. Read "Building Raving Fans" (MT, April 2008).
Society has taught your clients what to expect when visiting a doctor or health care provider. With this knowledge you can integrate the above systems into your practice to standout from the competition while triggering your clients to reschedule, return and refer. Ultimately, you must present the solution in the form of a treatment plan.
Click here for previous articles by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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