Academy of Chiropractic’s
Lawyers PI Program
From the Desk of:
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
“Using the Internet to Get New PI Patients”
PART 2 – Get Your Patients Involved
It is important to get your patients into certain habits. Showing up for an appointment 3 times a week is a habit. Showing up at 3 PM for those visits every time is a habit. Going home and doing their home exercises is a habit. The thing about habits is it takes time to create them and is usually accomplished through “behavior modification.”
"Behavior modification is the use of empirically demonstrated behavior change techniques to improve behavior, such as altering an individual's behaviors and reactions to stimuli through positive and negative reinforcement of adaptive behavior and/or the reduction of maladaptive behavior through its "extinction," punishment and/or therapy" (Wikipedia, 2010, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_modification). One such example of behavior modification is taking a car battery and attaching the electrodes to ones “private parts.” If you don’t say what I like, you get a “jolt.” For some, that might solidify the negative response if they enjoy the "jolt", but for others who don’t like pain, they will respond the way you want them to in order to avoide th "jolt."
For the normal people in the world, “Pavlov’s Dog” theory is a form of behavior modification. Ring the bell and I will give you a treat. In this instance, you need to modify your patients' behavior and get them to go to the Internet to look up information about their conditions and about you. You also need to get them to share that information with their friends. Utilize behavior modification technicques to encourage them to do so. The way to create that is to emphasize what’s in it for them; they need a compelling reason to take the extra time and energy out of their busy lives to “click on.” In this case, it’s their health that is in jeopardy and you need to inform them that the more they learn about their conditions and chiropractic, the quicker they will get better. The more informed they are, the more they will be able to adapt their lifestyles so they do not re-create the problems that drove them to your office in the first place.
Remember, the 2 driving forces that bring a patient to a doctor are pain and fear. You must modify their behavior in an ethical honest manner to get them to understand that you do not want them to be in fear of the pain they could experience if their problems return because of a lack of understanding of their conditions. This reverts back to the days of mandatory health care talks or lay lectures. In the “olden days” we mandated that every patient attend a lay lecture on the office and in my office 80% attended, which was the foundation for my practices success. I am not saying that these Web based articles are to take the place of those; what I am saying is that those who were able to modify the behavior of the patients had large practices and referral bases. This step enables you to use current technology to do the same thing and it should be in addition to the education your provide to your patients about chiropractic and subluxation.
For the first time in chiropractic history, you now have the tools to get 3rd party scientific validation about almost everything we have been saying for 110 years. Take advantage of it. The first reason is the obvious; to help your patients learn to get better quicker and stay better longer. The second reason is not quite so obvious and I believe more compelling!
Rule #1: People like to gossip and people like to do so to the amount of bordering on bragging.
Rule #2: See RULE #1
You are the most compelling reason patients will go to the Web site; they want to check you out. They want to know your academic and professional credentials. They want to know all about their doctor and in today’s information age, the public is hungry for as much as they can get.
At first, they will go simply for idle curiosity. However, after you have cared for them for just a short amount of time, they will brag about you to all of their friends and they will now have the ammunition and tools for bragging rights. Through my years in active practice, every day a patient would tell me they told a friend or family member about me and my care. I had a hard time keeping stock in business cards. This is better than a business card because they will e-mail links to friends and share you on Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social networks.
What I have learned since the start of the US Chiropractic Directory, is that my generation has as strong a presence as the younger generation on social networks, with everyone trying to connect with friend of years gone by. Everyone is on the Internet and most everyone is on a social network. You will be shared if there is something to share. You need to give your patients finite directions on how to find you. The thing about Web sites is that they do not sell themselves. You have to sell them and direct people to the correct Web addresses and links.
Dr. Owens in Buffalo created a very good document to use as a template. At the end of this article, you can click on the link to download the document for your personal use. Please do not simply copy it. You must customize it to your practice. Make sure that every patient walks out of your office with this document in his/her hand and make sure that becomes the topic of conversation in your office for years to come by you and your staff. Place this documentation in your “New Patient” packet so that every new patient has the information. This will allow you to modify patient behavior from the start of care.
NOTE: You must alter some of the fonts and placements to fit on a 1-page document
1. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (2010, July). Behavoior modification. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior_modification