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November 2009 Archives
Do you try to motivate patients?
Motivate, as in “an incentive for action; to move.” It’s a classic outside-in technique for managing others. Motivation is like a drug that only temporarily changes a patient’s physiology. Discontinue the drug, and the symptoms return. Same with patient motivation. Not only do many patients resent your overtures, your unrewarded effort leads to anger that later manifests as burnout.
It would be healthier (for both you and the patient) if your objective were to inspire patients. Inspire, as in “to communicate with the spirit; to breathe into.”
Motivate is something you do. Inspire is something you are. It begins by being the change you want to see in the world; to show up in such a way that patients think, “I would like to be like him/her.”
Be that, and not only will you have the opportunity to change their spine, you’ll change the world.
I’ve mentioned my Dad and his cancer in previous postings, notably his diagnosis in The Symptom Sleight of Hand in June of 2008 and his cancer-free scan in Answered Prayers back in February. He passed away this past Wednesday evening with a vengeful return of the lymphoma that took down my Mom back in 1991.
Based on my previous postings it would easy to throw in an “I-told-you-so” and extol the virtues of proper diet and lifestyle, but when it’s your own flesh and blood, such an off-handed approach is inappropriate. And while I’m quick to attribute his additional 18 years to the chiropractic care I was able to convince him to avail himself of after Mom’s passing, who can be sure? Without a parallel universe (which Microsoft may be working on), I’m not sure you can automatically attribute his longer life to the two chiropractors who attended to him.
But I will.
I’m thankful that I was able to say my goodbyes and let my Dad know how much I loved and appreciated him for being the Dad he was. After meeting so many people who were not complete with a loved one when they died, especially a parent, if you find yourself in such a situation today, I hope you’ll attend to this matter immediately. If my plea causes you to take action, It would at least help me make more sense of Dad’s needless passing at such an early age.
If there’s someone in your life that needs forgiveness or an apology, will you forgive and apologize? Today? If some of your “I-love-yous” aren’t up to date, will you bring them current? You don’t want to miss out on this, I promise.
Imagine 100% perfect patient compliance. Sound interesting?
If you’re inclined to hijack a patient’s free will so they make the choices you think would be in their best interests, perfect patient follow-through probably sounds attractive.
But not so fast. You’d probably tire of this god-like omniscience after a week or two. Practice would quickly become tedious as patients show up as mindless automatons obeying your every wish. Dig deeper and you’ll discover that once you enjoy high levels of clinical certainty, it’s actually the creativity and resourcefulness needed to communicate with patients and lead them to higher levels of health and understanding that makes practice interesting and rewarding.
Allowing practice to degenerate into getting patients to do your bidding crosses a boundary that becomes parental, emotionally draining and ultimately, unsustainable. Following your orders is hardly as fulfilling as inspiring patients to assume greater responsibility, acting volitionally to enhance their health and well-being.
You've probably heard, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got." To that add: until you don't. That's where many chiropractors find themselves. What used to work doesn't.
Show up curious. You need the truth. Ask your current patients more questions.
"Why did you choose chiropractic to address this issue?" (Clue: it wasn't to restore a lordotic curve!)
"What do you hope to do better or enjoy more when you regain your health?" (Clue: it isn't so they can rave about their chiropractor!)
"If this were your practice how would introduce more people to chiropractic?" (Clue: Ignore every suggestion involving advertising.)
When times change, you must also change. For the moment, forget about making the right choice. Just choose! The danger is in freezing and not taking action. (Which is most certainly the wrong choice!) Choose, and then make it the right choice.
As the spirit of fear continues to be promoted by the mainstream media, more and more patients are making choices that reveal that attending to their health isn’t among their higher priorities. This is serving to empty some practices who have had the habit of attracting patients who consulted a chiropractor only if the bill was assumed by a third party.
Today, with $1000 deductibles or higher, many patients are deciding that attending to their neuromuscular-skeletal complaint can wait. Or should clear up in considerably fewer visits than when their insurance company picked up the tab.
This puts many veteran chiropractors in a situation they’ve never experienced before. Besides discovering how significant the influence of insurance companies has been in determining a patient’s decision to begin and continue care, they are discovering how powerless they are to enforce their usual treatment plans. The rote, almost mindless “three times a week for the first four weeks, followed by two times a week for the next four weeks, blah, blah, blah" is increasingly ignored by patients.
A solution is contained within an observation that many chiropractors may have overlooked.
Continue reading "Patients Without Bodies" »
M st patients think chir pract rs are back d ct rs. Certainly, the spine is the p int f access. Yet, few think f medical d ct rs as m uth d ct rs because the prescripti n enters the b dy thr ugh the m uth!
C rrecting this c mm n misc ncepti n ab ut chir practic is crucial if y u have any h pe f patients embracing a larger r le in their lives f r chir practic than a rudimentary and natural f rm f pain relief.
Making chir practic ab ut the integrity f their nerv us system is a nice start. And while the
sp ken w rd is c nvenient, even free, y u generally get what y u pay f r. Y u may find that putting y ur chir practic st ry in writing, maybe even as a hand ut can have greater impact.
Write up y ur explanati n (that's the m st imp rtant part) and then use y ur w rd pr cess r t do a find and replace nd substitute spaces f r a vowel r two like this. It c uld help c mmunicate the c ncept f nerve interference nicely.
Part of true health (optimum mental, physical and social well-being and not mere the absence of disease or infirmities) is our ability to interact with others. Even chiropractors who purport to have, or want, a wellness practice often overlook social health. However, the social health to be explored here isn’t that of patients, but the social health of chiropractors.
Many chiropractors are not healthy. Socially.
This manifests itself in many ways. One of the most glaring is a lack of referrals and reactivations, which is often due to the way their patient relationships end as patients attempt to extricate themselves from the practice.
These aren’t the “find-it-fix-it-and-leave-it-alone” chiropractors whose vision is often linear and mechanistic. Ironically, these chiropractors often enjoy high levels of referrals because they are often seen by patients as spine mechanics or natural relief specialists and there is little pressure (salesmanship) exerted on patients to continue care beyond the relief of their most obvious symptoms.
No, it is often the more vitalistic chiropractors who are more likely to imagine (and try to enforce) a social contract with patients that frankly doesn’t exist.
Continue reading "Unenforceable Contracts" »
If you crave admiration, the fastest way to go from zero to hero is to let chiropractic results speak for themselves. Results may win over skeptics, but is it a wise strategy?
Countless chiropractors who let results validate and affirm them as the hero, find themselves today surrounded by thousands of inactive patient folders and doubt-producing gaps in their appointment schedules.
Make the patient the hero. Advocate, promote, teach and revere chiropractic principles, letting the subsequent results validate them, not you or your ministrations. It’s their inborn ability to heal that’s the hero, not you or your artfully delivered intervention!
When you show up as a facilitator, rather than a fixer, you increase the likelihood that patients will see chiropractic as a lifestyle decision and not merely a short-term diet for pain relief. Similarly, promoting chiropractic principles instead of you or your practice makes your public outreaches more powerful, persuasive and attractive.
"I just get them well too fast," complained a chiropractor recently.
His struggling practice, or so he believed, was due to his considerable adjusting prowess that produced symptom-free patients so quickly that he didn’t have time to educate them about the value of nonsymptomatic chiropractic care.
I wasn’t convinced. Instead, I’m guessing he was taking the path of least resistance, showing up as a heroic doctor, fixing spines, reducing headaches, basking in the patient admiration and sabotaging any hope of communicating the benefits of periodic chiropractic checkups.
In other words, he was practicing chiropractic medicine.
Continue reading "Chiropractic vs. Chiropractic Medicine" »
This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in November 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.
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