In part IV of this series I discussed how the use of illustrations’ helps us better communicate difficult concepts. In Part V, I will continue this discussion with the importance of using more visual aids’ in our communication with patients.
Take a trip down memory lane. Can you see in your mind´s eye your first date? Can you see your college graduation and receiving your chiropractic diploma? Do you recall that beautiful beach you were relaxing on during vacation? Can you remember one of your most embarrassing moments? The reticular formation of the brain helps decide what will go to the memory cells of the brain. The more dramatic or exciting an event or scene is, the more easily it is retained and recalled.
Videos and Sound
The sensory of sight and audio can be ignited with great videos/DVDs. There are several on the market that explain the seriousness of whiplash accidents and work injuries. Some discuss the stages of chiropractic health care to help prepare a patient for the report of findings or to reinforce what the doctor has said in the report. Other videos dramatically demonstrate the progressive stages of degeneration of the spine when subluxations and injuries are left uncared for.
I purposely designed my office with two separate seating areas for patients. The first area was the reception room. It was of professional décor with pastel colors and beautiful artistic paintings to give a relaxed, comfortable and welcome feeling. The second seating area was down the hallway just outside the adjusting room. This was a built-in area with six chairs used as a jump seat section where patients would sit and wait their turn to enter the treatment room for adjustments. This indented area was built in far enough that patients´ feet would not interfere with people walking down the hallway. Built into the wall in front of this jump seat section was a large TV/VCR where we continually played patient education tapes all day long. This not only helped to better educate our patients, it was entertaining, it kept their minds occupied if we happened to fall a little behind, and it helped to convert guests’ into patients.
Although there are great videos on the market, why not make it more personal? If you have the proper equipment and adequate know-how, you can video each lecture that you give in your community and your healthcare workshops. Then, put your videos in DVD format and play them in your office. You can even make audio CDs of your lectures to lend to patients after their report of findings or at any other appropriate interval in their care. These CDs are impressive and your patients will be eager to listen to them in their car as they drive away from your office. You can make extra CDs for your patients to give to their friends. Get creative. The possibilities are endless. Just one word of caution make sure your videos and CDs are of a professional quality a clear, crisp quality. Giving your patients poorly produced, unattractive material does not work to educate them, it works to hurt your professional image.
LED signs use light and motion to attract attention and imprint lasting messages in the mind. I used several of these inexpensive signs in my office. One was in my front window with different messages for anyone passing by to read. Another one was in my reception room. I used others by positioning them where patients on the traction/intersegmental traction tables could easily view them on the wall at ceiling height and at the perfect viewing angle.
Sit down with your staff and discuss where, when and how you can make your office one of education. Patients are with you for such a short visit, so it´s imperative that you use the time efficiently to teach them all you can about chiropractic care. The better job you do in educating your patients, the better patients you´ll have and the easier it will be for your patients to share their chiropractic knowledge with others.
Let your walls do some of the educating for you. Have a variety of educational and nicely framed signs posted throughout your office. Some of the more common signs that D.C.s use include, A Word About Workers´ Compensation,’ Ask About Our Family Plan,’ Free Exam Provides Early Detection and Answers,’ Have You Been In An Accident Auto, Van, Truck, Motorcycle, Cab, Bus, Train, Plane or Any Moving Vehicle?,’ Is Your Child Playing Sports?,’ Name Any Insurance Company, Odds Are You´re Covered!,’ Our Office Policy,’ Our Practice Has Been built On Referrals From Satisfied (and healthy) Patients,’ To Hold Down Health Care Costs, Ask for a Free visit Voucher!,’ and, We Offer Reduced Rates for Medicare Patients.’
Your patients will want to know more. Be sure to have pamphlets or other printed literature available for patients who ask about the information on any of your posted signs.