Here are seven must-have conversations for you to have with your patients. These are just the beginning, but will lead you and your patients into a relationship whereby you are their first resource for all health care information.
- Posture and Support: This is a great place to start. How your patients stand and sit has a significant impact on their health. This is a toe-to-head issue. There is a reason why the majority of DCs offer orthotics/stabilizers/lifts to their patients. This conversation is very important and should take place on a regular basis as you observe your patients.
- Diet: Most people know that they arent eating as well as they should. Many of your recommendations will not be associated with a product or service you offer. You may even point them to some of your favorite Web sites. Ultimately, you will want to discuss greens products, whole foods and supplements.
- Pain: For most people, pain suggests poor health. Rather than over-the-counter medications, your patients would prefer real solutions. This is another opportunity to serve your patients more completely. Effectively addressing the source of someones chronic pain, even partially, will result in great referrals.
- Nutrition: Most patients are already taking their vitamins. Finding out what they are taking, and their effectiveness and appropri-ateness, are all important. Many consumers weve talked to are still taking supplements that are no longer appropriate for their age/stage of life. This also gives you the opportunity to monitor their nutritional needs. This is something no one else is doing.
- Exercise: Again, most people are not getting the exercise they need. You can easily offer a simple exercise routine for most pa-tients. You have access to home-exercise and therapy products that will cost your patients less than a gym membership and allow them to exercise at home. Some of your patients will need referral to a personal trainer. This is a golden opportunity to establish a referral relationship with trainers at your local gyms.
- Sleep: The average person spends approximately 30 percent of their life in bed. Sleep posture and satisfaction are major issues for many people. Again, these conversations can lead to advice and product recommendations that can make a real difference in your patients quality of life.
- Health Information: Everyone talks about how to achieve health, but many sources of this information can be very slanted and sus-pect. Your Web site should be a source of broad-based health information. It should also include an e-mail newsletter that you can send to your patients and that they can then forward to their family, friends and co-workers to effectively introduce you to them. Your communication on the Web will lead your patients to rely on you as a trusted source for health information.
As your conversations continue, they will be more specific to your patients stage of life and lifestyle. Some of your discussions will focus on what your patients need to hear, as opposed to what they want to hear. These conversations are much easier once you have established a trust relationship.
Keep a Chart of Your Conversations
Just as you note your other findings, keep a chart with the date of each health conversation you have with each of your patients. You can also note when the next conversation should take place. This will be especially important as your patients move into different stages of life and as they experience various health challenges. Over time, your health conversations will result in greater health and a much better quality of life for your patients.
For some examples of how to start these conversations, please see the role-playing scripts (right) we have provided.
To give you some ideas on how to set up and maintain a record of your must-have conversations, you can use a sample document that you can download and modify at www.dcpracticeinsights.com/downloads/conversationchart.doc.
Providing Quality Service and Opportunities
Many DCs are queasy about pushing products and services on their patients. Perhaps youre one of them.
However, consider this: Every time a patient walks through your clinic door, they are inviting you to talk with them about their general health and wellness. By accepting their invitation, and ethically providing them with the things that truly will improve their condition, you can ultimately help them live healthier lives.