The goals of chiropractic care typically include reducing pain, restoring normal joint function and muscle balance, and improving a patient’s quality of life. So if a patient’s goal is to reduce pain or heal from an injury, the expectation is that, at some point, that patient will no longer need your services.
Despite that, a common myth about chiropractic care is that once you start going, you can’t stop. The idea is either that patients become dependent on chiropractic care, or that a chiropractor will suggest regular adjustments well past what the patient expects.
Part of that myth stems from the length of chiropractic care. Unlike a round of antibiotics or setting a broken arm, chiropractic care aims to heal the root cause of pain. Often, chronic pain can result from things like bad posture. Bad posture can be a habit that’s been years in the making, and it can’t be solved in a matter of hours or even days.
So when we discuss patient retention, we know you don’t necessarily want a patient to remain a patient forever. But you do want them to stay the entire length of their suggested treatment plan. You don’t want to lose them to a different chiropractor, and you certainly don’t want them to abandon their course of treatment early.
If it’s beneficial to the patient, you want them to continue coming for as long as it requires.
So how can you increase patient retention? And how can you release them from your care in a way that encourages them to refer friends and remain a loyal patient should they need your care again?
This may go without saying, but one of the things that should be discussed when a patient first joins your practice is how long their treatment plan is. They should also know what to expect during the final appointment. Set up the expectation that they are expected to finish their adjustments, and lay out the reasons why they benefit from completing them. If routine appointments could benefit the patient, describe all the reasons why.
Sometimes a simple appointment reminder is enough to get a patient back to your office. Platinum offers a number of solutions designed to make communication and scheduling easier than ever. The key is to simplify anything you can for your patient. Reminders, paperwork that can be filled out online, and simple rescheduling tools will improve patient retention.
One thing that doctors often avoid during the onboarding process, though, is how a patient should stop treatment. If a patient gets chiropractic adjustments as preventative care, or their care plan is lengthy, there are many reasons they could consider quitting.
Without a plan in place should the patient stop coming to their appointments, they’ll come up with a plan on their own — one that doesn’t involve you. Discuss scenarios the patient may find themselves in — such as financial problems, a lack of time, or even a lack of interest in continuing their care plan — and create a safe environment for patients to express their intent to stop coming in.
Most people have a fear of confrontation, and ending a relationship — even one with a chiropractor — can feel confrontational. It causes anxiety, and for many people, that leads to avoidance. If a patient needs to end treatment early, set them up for a safe experience so that when they consider chiropractic care in the future, they think of you rather than avoiding you.
It may seem counterintuitive, but giving your patients an out is a good way to retain them! It also saves your staff time and effort that would otherwise be spent tracking down patients and attempting to reschedule. If you know a patient will no longer be coming, you can adjust your forecasted income as well.
Not everyone is going to be as committed to their health as you would like for them to be. But if you discuss how they can discontinue treatment without it becoming a source of stress, you create a positive experience for the patient if they do find themselves in the position of having to leave your care.
The “goodbye plan” can be balanced out with education. Help your patients understand that leaving their treatment plan early harms them, and that preventative care has a host of benefits.
One area where Platinum can help you the most is patient communication. Not only does our EHR keep patient records and care plans easy to access and update, but our scheduling tools can help automate time-consuming tasks.
If patients forget to schedule their appointments, or forget an appointment and simply never reschedule it, they may never return.
There’s no reason to lose patients due to such a simple problem. Platinum solves that issue by sending appointment reminders and making scheduling on-the-go easy. Schedule a call today and see how we can help you grow your practice!
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