Communication in today’s medical industry is much different than it was just 10 years ago. We are considering text message reminders for patients!? Unfortunately, I feel that the change in communication and the stress placed on our medical professionals is starting to result in patients feeling less engaged in their own health. At Body Logic, we strive to develop a strong relationship with our patients and clients so they know we have their health as our top priority.
While attending chiropractic school, Dr. Scott and I were trained in a variety of different techniques for communicating with patients. There was a strong emphasis on “listening.” We were told “Listen to your patients. They will tell you the diagnosis and your examination simply confirms it.” Now, I should clarify that a patient telling us that he diagnosed himself by googling his symptoms is not what I am referencing. The questions we ask during a consultation and the health history provided is where we gather our information to determine the diagnosis. This is exactly why our new patient appointments are 45 minutes long. We need time to listen… and ask all of those questions!
Sometimes, our questions may seem unrelated, but we have a method to our madness! For example, inquiring about a patient’s diet and water intake is not because we’re nosy. The answers help us understand and analyze sources of irritation to the body. Hydration status, or the amount of water a person drinks, has a direct effect on the health and function of the muscles. A patient’s diet has a direct effect on inflammation within the body which can directly impact pain levels. In order to help our patients to the best of our ability we need to use communication as a diagnostic tool.
One of the advantages of running our own practice is scheduling a greater amount of time for subsequent patient visits. Many chiropractic practices limit doctor-patient interaction to only 5 minutes. We have found greater success and faster results by providing additional time allowing for continued communication throughout treatment. Our patients deserve the time needed to improve their health and reach their goals. In the new space we will continue to provide high quality care and not sacrifice interactions with our patients.