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Are you selling yourself short?

Does the idea of selling yourself to a patient leave you feeling cold?

I’m not surprised. With horror stories that circulate in professional circles about patients who were sold pre-payment treatment plans to the tune of several thousand pounds, the concept of “sales” in healthcare might make you baulk. So what you really need to consider is the ethics of what you’re recommending to your patient. The people I work with are patient-centred, ethical practitioners who more-often-than-not fail to recommend enough treatment to get their patients better as they’re a bit nervous about the costs involved, or shuffle a bit uncomfortably in their seat when a patient asks the dreaded question, “How long, and how much?”

Does this sound familiar? Even if it doesn’t, I’d keep reading as there’s plenty of juicy nuggets of advice coming your way.

Practice what you preach.

Let’s look hypothetically- if you went to your GP with an infection, and they told you that you’d need 3 weeks of antibiotics at a cost of £250, what would you say? You’d do it, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t even blink. It’s what you need to get better. So why is it that when chiropractors do the same, (If this isn’t you, and you’re more confident in your ROF pitch than your average, keep reading as there’s some juicy information for you later on.)

An oft-quoted study looked at patients who initially saw their GP for a course of back pain. They went in, got some pills, and were told that those would fix the problem. Fast forward three months, and X percent were still in pain, but hadn’t been back to the GP. It’s proposed that this is because the treatment the GP provided didn’t work, so they didn’t bother going back. On the other side, the GP is no doubt thinking “Brilliant, they didn’t come back, they must have got better.” This disconnect in what we think is happening during care and what’s actually happening can cause real problems down the line.

Reconnecting the disconnect.

Now, apply this to your clinic. Patient gets treatment once and doesn’t come back- what do you think they’ll be saying about you? “Chiro told me the treatment would help and it didn’t, I’m not going to waste my money there again.” Patients trust you to tell them what they need to do and when they need to come in and see you.  It’s therefore vital that we manage expectations and help the patient understand their condition and how long it could affect them for. We are not only treating the pain but also the underlying issue which will take longer.

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