If you want your chiropractic practice to last long-term, your patients need to feel like the products and services you offer are worth the investment. If they don’t, not only will you struggle to get new people in your door, but you’ll also be hard-pressed to convince current patients to continue their treatment regimen.
Increasing your value doesn’t mean that you cut your rates or do more for less either. There are several ways to deliver a higher level of value to those you serve that have nothing to do with money at all. Here are five to consider.
#5: Maximize Doctor Patient Time
People today are busy trying to juggle work, home, school, kids, family, and every other obligation thrown their way. Today’s lifestyle often means that taking care of their health is lower on their list—with only 35% of Americans calling it “extremely important”—unless you can maximize the time in which they interact with your office.
Show patients that you respect their packed schedules by offering efficient healthcare. Streamline office procedures to get them in and out as quickly as possible. Remove any unnecessary steps to speed up the process and look for ways to make their appointments flow more seamlessly from the moment they arrive in their vehicles.
Also, consider updating your technology. Use a system that allows patients to complete their paperwork before their appointment or sign in at a kiosk versus waiting for staff. Using the right electronic health record (EHR) software can increase efficiency too, especially if it enables you to obtain, record, and recall patient information in a way that is intuitive and simple to understand.
#4: Improve Exam Procedures
As a chiropractic professional, the central place you will spend your time with patients is in exam rooms. But the value you offer doesn’t have to stop with the techniques or methods you use. You can increase your value to patients by improving your exam procedures.
One way to do this is to stay focused on the problem. This type of approach is less confusing for patients because they will have a general sense the tests performed are related to their problem. For example, a patient with low back pain will wonder why you’re looking at their eyes, ears or throat. Providing too much data can muddy the waters and leave patients feeling overwhelmed.
You can also increase value by offering patients visual reports. This helps them increase their understanding (as long as they are simple and not flashy) and it allows you to explain why a particular treatment is recommended. It also adds credibility to your diagnosis, similar to how an x-ray proves a broken bone. Examples of excellent patient reports are posture assessments, x-ray images, and digital thermography results.
Efficiency is essential in the exam room as well. Keep the most used items close and minimize clutter. Not only will you have more time discussing the report of findings, but you’ll have more time treating and documenting.
#3: Professionally Advertise
Getting potential patients to understand the value you offer fully is part of a successful advertising campaign. That’s also why it can be advantageous to hire out this service. Professional marketers understand how to convey your value more effectively.
For instance, your marketing should help patients get to know you and your brand or image. It’s the message that counts. But its equally important to know that short-term gimmicks send the wrong message. Even if they get someone in the door, a gimmick will mostly fail to keep them long-term.
A solid marketing campaign begins with developing a simple logo and slogan for your chiropractic business. The easier it is to remember the icon you choose or your catchphrase, the easier it is to remember you. Consistently using the same images and messages offers the same effect. In the words of Zig Ziggler, “Repetition is the mother of learning”.
Your office layout and design can also impact what patients think of you. Your waiting areas and exam rooms become an extension of your advertising efforts. A clean, modern design portrays professionalism and confidence. Conversely, an unkept or badly organized office suggests that you don’t offer much value at all.
#2: Improve Communication
It’s challenging to relay the value you can provide if your communication skills are lacking. It’s like talking to others in a foreign language. They won’t have any idea what you’re saying. This problem means they are less likely to follow through with your treatment plan, which will lower your value versus raising it.
The best communication is simple and clear. This reduces the risk that what you’re saying will be misunderstood. It’s also better for memory because it’s easier to recall a pointed and straightforward statement than a fast long-winded string of words.
Also, avoid using the same type of jargon you’d use when speaking with other healthcare professionals. Instead, use everyday terms that your patients are more likely to understand. Don’t tell them they are having cervicogenic headaches, for instance. Tell them that the issues in their neck are making their head hurt.
Analogies help too. If you can relate what you’re saying to something that they are familiar with—like a pinched nerve being similar to creating a break in their home’s electrical system, preventing the light from turning on when you flip the switch because the signal can’t get through—it can increase their understanding.
#1: Use Evidence-Based Chiropractic
Finally, the absolute best way to deliver more value to your patients is to use chiropractic methods and techniques that science has shown to work. Take time to stay updated on the latest research so you know how to provide the best care to your patients.
Sometimes this care requires going outside of the chiropractic realm. In cases such as this, have a network of healthcare professionals you can refer your patients to for additional or other treatment types. This level of service, increasing the likelihood they’ll come back because they trust that if you can’t help them, you’ll know who can.
Above all, aim to create results for patients that are consistent and predictable. Your confidence will increase and patients will see it. When they trust that you can help them, that’s the greatest value of all.