How to Get Your Patients on Nutritional Supplements
By Henri Rosenblum, DC
Americans are overfed and undernourished. The food industry with very few exceptions produces highly processed, nutritionally devoid, chemically addictive fodder that masquerades as food. Fruits and vegetables of today have little nutritional content compared to years ago. Fast food and meals on the go are a way of life. More than ever the need for quality nutritional supplementation to provide your body with vital nutrition has become an absolute necessity. So how can you impact your patients' health and successfully plug into this multi-billion dollar industry?
Surveys collected from thousands of patients at health professional offices across America indicated that more than 75% of those surveyed already take a nutritional supplement or a supplement for weight loss on a regular basis. Sadly, the majority of these supplements are poorly formulated junk science products that have little to no impact on people's health. Less than 10% of those surveyed indicated that the products they take came from advice shared by their health professional. When asked if they would like to receive counseling on nutrition from their health professional over 85% responded yes. So the question becomes not how to convince your patients to take nutritional supplements, but how to switch them to evidence based, scientifically formulated, quality supplements based upon your expert recommendations.
Begin With A Simple Survey
In my practice we implement a system that begins with surveying our patients. All patients that indicate a desire for our assistance are given a brief, yet thorough explanation and demonstration on why our supplements are exceptional compared to what they presently take. Patients are given the opportunity with an incentive to immediately get started with the products. Finally we utilize a follow up system to increase compliance and reordering. Lets address these one at a time.
My office routinely surveys our patients to find out how we can better serve their needs. This allows us to offer services our patients want, as opposed to trying to sell them something they may not want. When it comes to nutrition, our brief survey asks 5 questions. Do you take nutritional supplements? If yes, what do you take? Who recommended these products? Are you interested in receiving information on a doctor supervised weight management program based on lowering body fat without stimulants? Would you like a free consultation to discuss wellness and prevention?
Like any system, proper implementation is key, beginning with the CA handing out the survey. They absolutely must be trained in what to say and what not to say.
For instance, imagine the outcome if your CA is casually asked by your patient, "What's this?" when handed the survey, and the CA indifferently responds, "Oh I don't know, the doctor decided that we were going to start selling our patients vitamins." Ugh! The CA must understand that the patients will greatly benefit from taking superior nutritional products specifically recommended by you, the health expert who understands their specific health needs. A much better response would be, "With all the differing information about nutrition in the news lately, Dr. Jones has been making time to research the facts from the fiction. He wants to make certain that you are informed about how you and your family can benefit from making better choices." Clearly this response is much better and will help guide the patient toward the desired outcome.
The completed survey then accompanies the patient back to the adjusting room along with their travel card. Should the survey indicate that the patient is interested in speaking to you, this is addressed at the end of their appointment. "Vanessa, it's great that you are already taking nutritional supplements, however not all supplements are created equal and I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to supplement. Come with me and I will explain." If you are using a staff member to explain, finish by saying "Vanessa come with me and Judy, our wellness and prevention expert, will explain the difference."
Now for the education aspect of the program. First, you should have already done your due diligence to align yourself with a company that provides evidence-based, scientifically-designed nutritional products that are absolutely superior to the junk science products that your patients are likely taking. After all, unless you can explain why the products you are suggesting offer greater health benefits, why would they bother to switch?
Should Vanessa agree to try the recommended regimen, follow up begins immediately the next day when she is contacted by phone to insure that she has indeed started taking the new products. Vanessa's nutrition regimen is added to her travel card so that at her next visit the doctor can ask her if she is taking her nutrition every day and further drive home the impact the nutrition will make on her health. Additional timely follow ups with Vanessa by email and phone greatly increase the likelihood that she will continue taking these specific products and will re-order. In my office, most reorders are easily placed by the patients themselves through my e-commerce ready, user friendly health professional nutrition web portal. The extensive information on my web portal encourages patients to investigate additional quality products for themselves, a family member or friend which leads to referrals.
In conclusion, offering nutrition at your practice can be a wonderful complementary service for your patients and a great source of cash income. By combining a simple-to-implement, properly executed system, along with products that are clearly different and superior to what your patients already take, getting your patients to switch to nutritional supplements you recommend should be relatively easy, rewarding and profitable.
Dr. Henri Rosenblum is a 1988 Honors Graduate from Palmer Chiropractic College. He taught clinical sciences at Life Chiropractic College from 1999-2001. He presently directs the POWER ON Wellness Center in Port Jefferson Station, New York. He can be contacted at