When most Columbus chiropractors hear the term “patient education” they imagine a detailed report of findings or some form of “table talk.”
Sure, it’s helpful when patients have a rudimentary understanding of nervous system function, spinal joint function and the deleterious effects of vertebral subluxation. While most of these efforts are “outside-in,” using words as drugs in an attempt to change a patient’s behavior, they are less effective than they could be because a critical preliminary step is usually overlooked.
What New Patients Expect
Whether you call them patients, practice members, clients, participants or just plain folks, they bring something with them that often goes unseen and ignored. They bring a social contract and set of expectations that they have previously acquired from a lifetime of seeing medical doctors. In other words, the relationship, responsibilities and expectations they’ve come to expect from their medical doctor experiences are projected onto you.
I assert that this huge oversight costs you. Dearly.
Most patients assume…
- They’re weak- Chiropractor is strong. Far too many patients are willing to relinquish their responsibilities to a doctor, especially if that doctor communicates a high level of certainty and confidence.
- Chiropractor will make their problem, his problem. When I call an electrician to make repairs, I want him to take my problem off my hands. But you can’t delegate healing, weight loss or other matters of health to someone else.
- Chiropractor be doing most of the work. Expecting a drug or doctor, or in your case, the adjustment to do the heavy lifting, many patients show up about as engaged as when they get their haircut or car’s oil changed. This is related to…
- Chiropractor control how quickly they recover. Many patients assume that since you control the “dosage” of three visits a week (or whatever you recommend), many are inclined to attribute slow (or unusually quick) results to you and your adjustments. This may feed your ego when things exceed a patient’s expectations, but can have the reverse effect when their healing capacity impedes their recovery.
- They’re buying chiropractor time, not chiropractor talent. Far too many patients imagine that they’re buying a certain amount of time with you. This is another manifestation of their incorrect belief that you’re doing the healing. Ignore this and you put a huge limitation on the number of people you’ll be able to help.
- This will be a superficial relationship. Many patients see their medical doctor as simply the gatekeeper to the drug they expect to be prescribed. Thus, there is little if any expectation that there will be any level of intimacy beyond that required to qualify for the prescription. But you’re going to actually touch them!
- Insurance will cover everything. Financial education is your new responsibility. Unfortunately, you’re put in the unenviable position of having to explain the severe limitations of their policy.
There are other commonly-held beliefs, but this covers the most common. If you have any hope of communicating the impact of vertebral subluxation, you must address these issues and install a more appropriate Chiropractic Covenant.
The Chiropractic Covenant
Call it the “Rules of Engagement” or “How We Work” or something else, you might want to explore these topics at your consultation or pre-care interview before formally accepting them as a new patient:
- Chiropractic Columbus is different from medicine
- We don’t prescribe drugs
- Our focus is the nervous system
- We locate and reduce Vertebral Subluxation
- Vertebral subluxation is the result of stress
- A thorough examination will be necessary
- Our primary form of care is a chiropractic adjustment
- Many adjustments are usually necessary
- Keep your visits
- You’re the doctor
- There are many ways to use chiropractic in Columbus, Ohio
If you suspect that this will lengthen the amount of time you spend up front with a new patient, you’re correct. Most chiropractors can easily afford to shorten their report of findings to compensate. In fact, most reports have degenerated into a manipulative sales session and could be significantly abbreviated with little change in outcome.
The real patient education Columbus Chiropractor need to conduct is how chiropractic differs from medical treatment.