How Do We Transform Our Patients Lives?

Lesson Learned from an Africa Missionary

 

holistic healing

 

One of the current trends, when internet marketers sell their products online, is the promise of life transformation. Pat Flynn’s interview with Adam Bruan of Pencils of Promise, touts their ability to show us How to Create Extraordinary Change and Transform the World. In my experience, the road to real transformation is a lot longer and is intertwined with the total person.

So many of our patients need sustainable health transformation rather than the temporary relief of symptoms. Their medical problems don’t begin and end the minute they step into our clinics. Western medicine tends to focus on outward symptoms which fragment people into isolated conditions or body parts.

As therapists need to step back and take into account the whole picture of our patients’ health before we can diagnose and treat our patients. Patients are often in need a change in lifestyle.

The focus of holistic health is to look at the underlying causes of a condition or symptoms. Holistic health as described by the American Holistic Health Association: 

“Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible.”

In order to achieve optimal wellness, most people will need trusted guide to come alongside for the long journey. We might need to get uncomfortable while we let go of our “professional distance”. In order to get a fresh perspective on holistic transformation, I want us to look outside the healthcare industry. 

This post by my friend, Martin Simiyu, an African missionary whom I deeply respect describes the approach his organization, Possibilities Africa, takes to bring about the transformation of entire communities.

My hope is that this blog post will inspire and inform us on how we might bring about lasting life transformation in our patients.

What is Patient Relationship Management?

PATIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

 

Do you take your patients for granted?

 

When I think about the absolute essentials of a thriving therapy practice. Three essentials come to mind:

  1. A remarkable patient experience
  2. Remarkable provider-patient relationships
  3. A remarkable profit margin

In all of these factors, relationships play a vital role. You might say its all about relationships.

Unfortunately in the hurried pace of healthcare sometimes therapists take patients for granted. Some therapists have allowed the minutiae of insurance demands and government regulations to crowd the most important predictor of practice success–positive patient relationships.

Therapists tend to focus their resources on getting new referrals rather than retaining current patients for life. Choosing where to invest your energy and time can be challenging, especially when it comes to marketing. It’s tempting to look beyond investing in the patient relationship right in front of you to a referral stream that’s “out there someplace”. In reality, every one of your patients has the potential to become a referral source.

Some of you may believe you already know what your patients want and that you deliver exceptional service. But have you ever asked them what they think of your scheduling process, your payment policies or their satisfaction with the care they received from your assistants?

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy outcomes, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out from the competition, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

The question is how do I do this with so many demands on my time?

How To Read Your Patients’ Minds

how to read your patient's minds

Don’t you wish you could read your patients’ minds?

At times it would be helpful to know what people are thinking and feeling when we interact with them. We do our best to motivate them to check out our services or follow through with their plan of care. Too often they just don’t seem to get it and we have no clue why.

Here’s what a prospective patient with back pain might be saying to themselves…

“Severe back pain just hit me again, and I’m anxious that I’ll have to take time off from work.

I can’t decide if I want to see a therapist or a chiropractor, I’ve heard good and bad things about both. Next, if I go with a therapist, I must decide which one.

I do a quick Google search and see there are two clinics the same distance from my work so I base my decision on which clinic has the easiest way to schedule an appointment; I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the phone.(which my boss hates)

An important factor for people like me when deciding where to get healthcare, is can I trust them. What’s their bedside manner like? How much time will it take? How much will cost? What will they do to me?

The problem for us is we don’t know what the experience will be like until we’re already there. That makes me a little anxious but this pain is killing me.

While I definitely prefer physical therapy to chiropractors, I also value my time, and I’m not going to spend a half a day just to get some help. I want the total experience to be something I can live with and afford.”

If a therapist created a patient journey map for this acute back pain patient they could quickly see an opportunity to capitalize on prospects who want to take the hassle out of healthcare. Creating a patient journey map can be a challenge but is well worth the effort.

Lifecycle Marketing – How to Grow your Practice and Feel Good about It

Lifecycle Markeing

 

There are a lot of people who want your money

There are a lot of marketers on the Internet who want to take your money. They promise you how to effortlessly get a steady stream of patients–in exchange for your hard earned cash. Their pitch goes something like this…

 

How Bob Got 22 New Patients In One Hour

By Doing Just “One Thing” Really Well

 

It sounds too good to be true (probably is) but the headline still grabs you. You’re vulnerable, you’ve tried marketing but have nagging doubts you’re doing it right. You’re passionate and good at what you do but this marketing thing is frustrating.

You say to yourself, “It can’t be that hard, I’m intelligent, after all, I made it through graduate school, didn’t I?” Somehow if people knew you and understood how you could help them, your schedule would be packed.

None-the-less, new referrals trickle in and you still have open slots in your schedule. Growing your practice sure seems a lot harder than it should be and it takes forever to see any results.

In a weak moment, when patient visits are down you buy the guru’s book or sign up for a training program. You might even fly to a conference in another city. You jump head first into the hottest marketing program, put in the work and see some initial progress.

But then you hit the wall.

You find things not adding up like you had hoped. The marketing tactics don’t feel right. They feel way too pushy and unprofessional. They take too much time away from patient care and your personal life. Trust me I’ve been down that road a couple of times.

Those of us who have lived most of our careers in the healthcare ecosystem have a limited perspective on attracting people who need our services. We have lived so long under the physician referral system it’s hard to see getting patients any other way.

What we need is a fresh perspective on attracting and keeping new patients. Let’s take a new look on how to attract, connect and delight new patients through a process called lifecycle marketing.

Make Your Practice Something Worth Talking About

Something Worth Talking About

 

If you’re anything like I was when I first started my practice, then you probably believe marketing is using an arsenal of tactics to help bring in patients.

You might have also spent a lot of time reading books, listening to podcasts and going to conferences trying to find an approach that works.

You want a way to market that doesn’t make you feel sleazy, pushy or unprofessional. You don’t one to be “one of those guys”.

 

one of those guys

 

Now it’s time to throw 90% of that information away.

Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Last week I launched a pilot course to help therapists grow their practices. Whenever I put something out in public, whether it’s a presentation, blog post or a new product I get uncomfortable.

Despite my best efforts, I get anxious about people’s reactions. Somehow the validation of the product becomes a validation of my self-worth. Whenever I’m in that period of uncertainty my deeper spirituality is tested.  I understand that unless change and growth are a part my spirituality fear will drive me to protect my ego status and not disrupt the status.

Resistance to change is so common, it’s what we’ve come to expect from religious people who love the past more than the present or future. Jesus’ message was all about “change”. In fact, the word “repent” actually means to “change your mind”. Most people are not “early adopters” even though their ability to survive might depend on adapting to new circumstances.

When I’m stretched beyond myself I get uncomfortable. I teach my patients how to stretch their hamstrings. I tell them to get beyond what’s comfortable into the developmental zone and hold it. The development zone is where change and flexibility happens. Unfortunately, I have met too many Christians who were uptight and rigid. I don’t want to end up a rigid old man unwilling to change.

I would say trying to be perfect to protect my ego status has been my greatest enemy. By trying so hard to avoid imperfection or the pain of failing I’ve kept myself from greater spiritual growth. I still struggle to trust God when it feels like I’m in a freefall waiting for my circumstances to turn in my favor.

When I let go and fall into the developmental zone is when I see the most growth. I know it sounds counterintuitive but I grow much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. My demand for perfection is the greatest enemy against doing good.  

 

 “Perfection is a mathematical or divine concept, goodness is a beautiful human concept that includes us all”.  –Richard Rohr 

I realize that unless I overcome my fear I’ll not be able to do the good I was put on this earth to do.

I’ve been studying the book of Acts in the bible. In chapter 9 Saul was blinded by a vision from the Lord and told to go to Damascus and wait to be told what to do. Saul terrorized the early Christian church and was eager to kill Jesus’ followers. Saul was a fanatical religious terrorist.

In verse 10, Ananias is described only as a believer in Damascus. No one special, not an apostle from Jerusalem, a common man. In a vision, he is told to go visit Saul, lay hands on him so he can see again. Ananias aware of Saul’s reputation is naturally fearful and hesitant.

In our day that would be like telling a Jewish soldier to go and talk to Saddam Hussain. Instead of a highly trained Seal team with helicopters just a common soldier with a message to free a terrorist from spiritual blindness. Now that’s what I call getting out of your comfort zone. Not knowing the outcome but trusting in the call from God to participate in the mission.

After some divine coaxing Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on Saul and said. “My brother Saul..”

How humble and loving are those words?

The rest is history, Saul went on to spread the word of Jesus throughout the known world and write two-thirds of the New Testament. 

Ananias, a simple believer who was willing to get out of his comfort had a part in changing the world. Christianity changed from being a small sect of Judaism into a worldwide faith that was open to all who believed. 

How much are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? 

Are we so preoccupied with personal security, identity, and survival that we miss the call to change our part of the world?

We all want and need various kinds of securities and assurances at every stage of life. But let us be careful that they don’t totally run our lives and keep us from future growth.

One on the most common one-liners in the Bible is “Do not be afraid”. So let us help one another move beyond our boundaries and learn how to rest in being uncomfortable. 

 

Success- What Happens If It’s Not What You Think It Is?

How Do You Define Success?

 

I don’t think that anyone wakes up in the morning wishing that today would be a total waste. Nobody has the deep down desire to fail, although many do.

I believe that most therapists want to be successful in life/work/family regardless of how they define success. I also believe that the way success is most commonly defined is mistaken.

How do you define success?

Perhaps this article originally published by my course building coach Leslie Taylor will help.

Remarkable Onboarding For New Pediatric Clients

 

Therapy4Kids.com

 

12 souls in an 8 seat waiting room. That’s what I was dealing with this morning.

 

It’s summer and school is out. As a result, our clients’ brothers and sisters tag along to therapy. On top of that, we have an influx of kids that are receiving summer therapy. And on top of that, we have an increase in overall referrals. All of this is good, except for our lack of space.

 

One of my clinics, Therapy4Kids is located in my home town in the state Arkansas which is between Toad Suck and Possum Grape (both real towns).  Our booming metropolis boasts a population of 5,000 people. That’s not really enough people to make a go of it with a brick and mortar clinic, but when my wife and I did our market analysis we knew we could draw from at least 3 counties.
 
People who live in the sticks are used to driving to get services and shop at the nearest business district. One reason we knew a therapy clinic had a chance was that we would be saving people from driving an additional 20 miles to get to the next closest therapy provider. We also knew that if went didn’t deliver a high quality experience that people who drive right by us to the clinic right up the street.

Now back to my waiting room…

As these 12 souls (most of them kids) were in my waiting room this morning, a new referral walked in. (Sounds like the beginning of a joke, ‘This unsuspecting mom walks into a loud and full waiting room…”) But it was no laughing matter to me, I wanted to cry. What’s a clinic owner to do?

 

There were no seats for this new mom with her toddler. She had to stand at the check-in window to fill out the paperwork while her 2-year-old fluctuated between wanting down to play and needing mommy to hold her. Mom was obviously not pleased with the situation.

 

As a practice owner, you are going to have times where it just doesn’t go right. No matter how well organized, you’re going to need to step in and get involved.  I’ll tell you how I handled this situation, but first, let’s cover how to keep your onboarding from being a total ‘Toad Suck’. By the way, this 4-step approach is also a good formula for your marketing efforts too.

 

Email Markeint Cheatsheet

 

4 Steps For  Remarkable Onboarding For First-Time Clients

 

1. Plan

2. Get Feedback

3. Measure Results

4. Revise & Repeat

First Impressions: How To Make A Remarkable One

Use Intake Q To Craft A Remarkable Onboarding Experience

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

We often think of first impressions of being when we come face-to-face with our clients for the first time. It usually goes something like this…a new evaluation appears on our schedules, we glance at the chart before we open the door, we greet the new patient by name and introduce ourselves. Perhaps we smile and shake their hand before we sit down on a stool to take their medical history.

The first impression right?

All of us want to create a good first impression with our patients. The rest of the treatment experience goes better if we get off to a good start. Unfortunately, we don’t know where first impressions come from nor do we know exactly when they happen. Somewhere in the patient experience, an impression is made about your practice that sticks with your patient long after they leave your clinic.

Influencing patients’ first impressions will go a long way in determining outcomes, loyalty and what they share with others. To probe a little deeper into creating positive first impressions and simple ways we might influence them I’ve invited someone that I admire that does this very well. He naturally and consistently forms good impressions on most of the people he encounters. 

I’d like to introduce you to a guest author and good friend, Tom Kruse. Not the movie star but a physical therapist who is a rock star to those who know him well. I thought you all would benefit from hearing from therapists who are making an impact like yourself in your own quiet way. I’m blessed to interact with change makers on a weekly basis. Periodically I will provide them this platform to share their stories. 

Probably like you, Tom is a therapy entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in the world. He successfully launched his practice in 2015 which has been growing steadily ever since. 

Tom felt called to leave corporate therapy after 15 years to start his own practice. Even though highly successful at his previous employer, he found the pace difficult to sustain and less rewarding. He was getting home late for family dinners, shouldering more administrative responsibilities and had a gnawing feeling he wasn’t providing the best care he could. 

How To Eliminate Patient No-Shows

Create An Experience So Remarkable Patients Won't Miss It

Eliminate No Shows

 

Did you have several patients not show up for their appointments this week?

Join the club. I had my fair share. 

Patient no-shows can be one of the most frustrating aspects of a therapist’s job, with good reason.

We put all time and effort into the initial evaluation, entering information into the EMR, calculating functional limitations, outlining the plan of care, designing a home exercise program(with handouts no less) only to have the patient be a no-show for their next appointment.

You’re confident they need your services and you’re more than capable of helping them reach their goals.  

Despite how sincere and convincing you are, for one reason or another, you seem to have more no-shows than you’d expect.

Not only are no-shows exasperating they are a real time and money suck. No one gets paid for a no-show. Unfortunately, all the expenses related to missed appointments–staff salaries, rent, utilities, etc still must be paid.

While you can’t eliminate no-shows totally from your practice, busting common no-show myths can go a long way in reducing their prevalence. By slightly shifting your mindset and making a couple of changes you can create a patient experience patients will hate to miss.