Understanding is key to Retention
Practice Management
Written by Maurice A. Pisciottano, D.C.   
Friday, 30 May 2003 00:00 Read : 800 times

Patient Retention in a chiropractic practice is defined as the number of times a patient visits your office for chiropractic care.  In order to increase your Patient Retention, you need to increase your patient’s level of understanding.  Patients will follow your recommendations for care if they have a high level of understanding about how your care is helping them.  Retention is equal to understanding.

The entire chiropractic profession needs to work together to improve our patients’ levels of understanding of chiropractic.  The best place to begin this educational process is with a new patient.  When a new patient walks into your office, their level of understanding, on a scale of zero to ten, is at zero.  As a chiropractor, it is your job to change their “Medical Model of Thinking,” and move them up the “Chiropractic Ladder of Understanding.”  As you increase your new patient level of understanding, you will also increase your patient retention level.

Patient understanding is built through patient management.  The ideal time to conduct patient management is during the patient consultation.  Some very critical decisions are made during this interaction between the doctor and the patient.  The manner in which you ask the consultation questions, how the patient answers, and the correct way you respond to their answers, builds the foundation for advancing their level of understanding.  It is important to take advantage of every opportunity to educate and teach your patient about the benefits of chiropractic care.

You continue your patient management during the “Report of Findings.”  You and your staff must remain consistent and precise with all communication during the first several patient visits.  This increases the patient’s level of comfort and confidence in your care.  This is the time that you must “reset the decision criteria.”  When you reset the decision criteria, you move your patient up a level of consciousness, so they are more willing to continue with chiropractic care.

When a person fully understands how they are benefiting from and what the advantages are to chiropractic care, they have reached the "ten" on the understanding ladder and you have increased your retention percentage.  You no longer need to sell the concept on a visit-by-visit basis.  Instead, your efforts must focus on routing the patient through their treatment plan with continued emphasis on their understanding.
Taking each patient through the following process will increase your retention rate and help move your patients from their first visit to participating in a treatment plan.

First Visit
- Patient knows they have a problem
- Patient knows there is a solution to their problem
- Patient knows and is committed to returning to your practice for a Report of Findings

Second Visit
- Patient agrees to chiropractic treatment
- Patient agrees to attend your in-office workshop
- Patient commits to returning for “treatment plan review” visit

Third Visit
- Patient knows the solution is “Corrective Care” over “Relief Care”
- Patient commits to treatment plan
- Patient has taken financial responsibility

A practice’s percentage of retention is equal to the number of patients on a care plan out of the total number of new patients seen during the same timeframe. You hold the key to unlocking the mystery of Patient Retention. Educate on the benefits of chiropractic care, educate on the specific condition and educate on the success of your treatment.  Education equals understanding.  Understanding equals retention. TAC


Dr. Maurice A. Pisciottano, CEO and founder of Pro-Solutions for Chiropractic, is a practicing chiropractor, noted lecturer, author, producer and research and development technologist.  He is well known for his practice management expertise, as well as new patient development programs.  He has devoted the past twelve years to the development of the instrumentation and the computerization of chiropractic treatment and documentation.  Dr. Pisciottano regularly lectures at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA, and at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO.  He can be reached at Pro-Solutions for Chiropractic in Pittsburgh, PA, at 1-877-942-4284.


 
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