Creating a chiropractic care partnership with your new patients is a subtle but powerful thing. I don’t know of anything that I enjoy more as a Chiropractor than sitting down with new patients for the first time. It is like revealing a secret that could dramatically change and save someone’s future. It is a fine line though because if we screw up the Day 1, we often will lose a patient to Chiropractic forever. When it comes to how people see the brand of Chiropractic, people’s views run the range from a “true believer” to a “downright skeptic” and everything in between. So, a new patient’s experience with you, your staff and your practice will determine if that patient becomes a “lifer” or that new patient “runs for the hills” and never returns to Chiropractic.
4 Critical Things to Consider
1. The key to long-term patient relationships, great consultations, and an effective chiropractic care partnership, is listening. There is a big difference between hearing and listening. The secret to listening well is empathy, suspending your own agenda to understand the issues, concerns, and problems of the person that is sitting in front of you. Reflecting on what patients are telling you and repeating back to patients what they just told you are good ways to make sure that patients feel as though you truly care.
2. Lead patients to good conclusions by asking quality questions. The key to great questions in your Day 1 is “pre-framing” these questions properly. There is difference between asking “have you had any trauma that may have contributed to your problem?” and “I find that most problems such as yours start with a significant trauma. Can you tell me about the most significant trauma that you’ve experienced such as a concussion, broken bone, fall or an auto accident?” The first question is a yes or no question, the worst kind because it limit’s a patient’s response. The second question LEADS the patient to a better answer. Think about it. Which one will elicit a better answer? The key to great consults is asking better questions.
3. Give patients what they want, but talk to them about what they could have. You must connect with WHY the patient came into your office. Their chief complaint or hot button must be addressed. But why not SHOW them what Chiropractic can do beyond their hot button? We know that Chiropractic can help patients with so many different problems that they might not recognize right away. I love asking patients, “I see that you have been diagnosed with hypertension and put on medication for it. If I could help you in a more natural way, to reduce your symptoms and possibly eliminate the medication, would you be interested? I don’t know for certain if I can but I have helped many people deal with hypertension naturally and spared them from taking medication for the rest of their life. If this is something I could help you with, would you be interested in that as well as helping you with your [hot button condition]?” Who wouldn’t want that? Most people enthusiastically say, “Yes!” or they say, “I don’t like taking medication.” Neither do I!
4. Connect the life effect of a patient’s hot button to their healthcare goals. Something to realize when cultivating a successful chiropractic care partnership is that it’s not the patient’s problems or their healthcare challenges that are the real issue. It’s how those problems are preventing them from being the person they want to be or doing the things they want to do! “Mary, you told me that this lower back pain is preventing you from exercising. How has this impacted the quality of your life in terms of what you can’t do or what you would like to do again?” This is such an important question. You are essentially asking the patient, “How would your life get better if you didn’t have [hot button condition] or could regain [their health goal] such as losing weight, improving their energy, reducing stress, sleeping better, etc.” I will never forget the man who told me “that if I could lose weight, I could go see my daughter in Colorado again because right now, I can’t fit into an airplane seat comfortably for any length of time.” Wow, now that’s a powerful life effect!
One of the 11 core competencies of great Chiropractic wellness practices is the Day 1 procedure, both the consultation and the examination. If you connect and your new patient feels heard and understood, you are laying the foundation to a life-long chiropractic care partnership. If you mess it up, you risk that person never coming back to a healthcare delivery system that could change and save their life.
Create a connection with your patients today!