Perhaps one of the most frustrating comments heard from your consult, especially when you’ve tried to establish rapport with your consult, answered all of their concerns, performed your examination and established credibility (or so you think), when it comes time time to covert that consult to a new patient, they tell you “Well… I would like to talk to my family doctor first before starting care.”
So we brought this question to the round table and this is what they said…
“Encourage them to get approval from their M.D. If you tell them there is no need or you try to persuade them not to, you will simply get their guard up and make them feel that you have something to hide and they won’t come back.
I used to say to my consults “It’s an important decision to undergo my care and I want you to feel comfortable when you do start treatment. So please feel free to talk to your MD and when you’re ready to start care, just give my office a call.” I also used to follow this up by saying, “If you have an older doctor who has old school ways, anything short of prescribing medication they probably won’t support. However, if you have a younger doctor that’s knowledgeable about chiropractic, they won’t have any issues and of course, if you would like me to talk to your family doctor to discuss my findings, I will be more than happy to do so.”
At this point, I will get their MD’s phone number and call them a day or so later. This will not only allow me to discuss my consults issues, but it will give me the opportunity to establish rapport with the MD and convert them into a referral source.”
Dr. Anthony Mais, Retired
“I would accept the patients decision to speak with their MD, however I would explain to the patient what chiropractic is and how it will help. Leaving the ball in the patients court.”
Dr. Chris Boothe, Boothe Chiropractic
” I would calmly explain that unless an MD is a DC as well then they really don’t have the necessary qualifications to render a professional opinion; now the MD may render a personal opinion but I would emphasize that it is personal and not appropriate.
I would do this is in a thoroughly positive and professional manner so as to not imply negativity towards the MD yet make sure that the patient understands that these are two distinct healing professions.”
Dr. Randall Jones, Centro Quiropráctico Americano
“As I coach all of my clients, before responding to ANY questions, go through this quick communication strategy. Clarification then Points of Agreement then Solution. So often we jump in to answer without understanding the other person’s perspective. We, thus, shut off the possibility to teach, lead, and turn the potential objection into opportunity. So my response would sound something like this:
“First, if your new patient was referred, this happens rarely (in my clinic). It’s happened zero times in the last 3 yrs. I’m very comprehensive and efficient with my time.
Vital signs are required in CA and prudent tests of the autonomic nervous system general health status. I use a little automated cuff that also gives me the heart rate.
I note that our goals are systolic<120, diastolic,80, HR <60. Their stature/height is measured. The waiting room has a weight scale. Vitals and also I need a weight for an x-ray. Glance up at the clock’s second hand for respiratory rate, while the cuff is inflating/deflating. I have a forehead thermometer, that takes 5 seconds, the rest of vitals a few minutes.
Then a comprehensive ROF on everything right after the examination and during. The most common remark, is “no one ever examined me that thoroughly before”. I explain things as I examine. I mark my xrays while the patient watches me do it. I explain what I need to know later on I ask Q’s as I mark.
I watch their gait into the office, around the office, how they habituate to one side. Which foot would you kick me with? Stand on one, foot close eyes. They see for themselves, their lack of function, They see their BP, and heart rate values, their weight, where there are problems on on the films.
But you still have to fix them and that means not harping on things that can’t be done, no promises, a way forward is explained, how outcomes will be judged in a month. I generally don’t get disputes about my examination findings or diagnoses. Then I offer a month (29 days of follow up) at a very affordable price so they essentially pay for a comprehensive examination. rof, tx/xray and the follow up is no charge.
Since I’m the CA, there no call backs for missed appts, inefficiency. Open seven days, the more you come in the cheaper it is. I don’t sell much of anything. Then I hold myself/them accountable after a month and see if the recommended frequency can be reduced/the plan.
You have to be really on it with patients. There is no canned script, what to say. Everyone is unique. I encourage lots of vistis to make structural and lifestyle changes, make polypharmacy incompatible with their lifestyle changes. Also keep your prices low and affordable. How long does it take you to do a 98940? a minute? and remind them of eating more vegetables? One minute five seconds? Your placation incentive for three figure office visits goes up with the $. You want to go ask your MD first? Great!”
Dr. Gregory Plaugher
“In my experience, patients who seek my care or other fellow chiropractors, they are there because their primary care was unable to help them with pain killers and muscle relaxers, since that is their only tool. Subsequently they seek a chiropractor. I have never had to deal with that issue but if there would ever be a case where they would want a primary care opinion, I welcome the idea knowing that they will be back in my office again very shortly.”
“Often the reason why a consult says that is because you haven’t established trust with them and you haven’t satisfied their concerns. They are not necessarily skeptical, but they are just fence sitters that are wanting to undergo care so long as you properly address their concerns.
When ever dealing with a consult/potential new patient, it is important to address to main things (and these 2 points go hand in hand).
1. Determine if this person skeptical about chiropractic?
2. You MUST answer their concerns BEFORE they voice them to you.
If you’re consult is skeptical, your conversation has to be dealt with differently as there are specific “triggers” that have to be addressed with these people. If these triggers aren’t dealt with, saying that they want to get their M.D’s opinion first is just their way of saying… “Thanks, but I’m not interested in what you’re offering and I won’t be coming back.”
In regards to point #2, you need to know what the main concerns people have with chiropractic and incorporate the answers into your initial appointment discussion AND your ROF discussion. By talking about these concerns before they are raised it will….
1. Almost instantly take down their guard about you and chiropractic.
2. Demonstrate that you’re an experienced and knowledgeable chiropractor.
What are a few common concerns?… “Do I have to come several times a week to get better?”, “Will this cause a stroke?”, “Will this be expensive?”, “Will my M.D. approve?”, “Will I get better?/Will your treatments help?”, “Can it make me feel worse?”.
So think of a bunch of similar questions and write out convincing responses. Use terminology that a young TEENAGER would understand (I’ll write an upcoming blog article on how to effectively talk to influence your consults).
The dialogue between you and a skeptical patient is very different from that of dealing with a non-skeptic and because this is a dialogue that has to be learned, I will write a special blog article that is specifically dedicated to teaching you how to effectively talk to skeptical people and converting them into your best patients.”
Richard Avery, Elite Chiro Websites
If you ever have any questions or concerns that you’d like The Chiropractic Round Table to address or if you’re an experienced chiropractor and would like to join The Round Table and share your input, please do not hesitate to contact us at contactus@EliteChiroWebsites.com or leave a comment below.
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Wishing you great health and success,
The Elite Chiro Website Team.