Today let’s bring together the patient retention principals talked about in my blog Patient Retention – Part I and demonstrate how the AcuGraph exam can serve as the bridge to move your specialty program participants to regular care.
Let’s assume you’ve done your target marketing and have a group of new specialty program clients coming in your door. They are hoping you can quickly fix this particular problem and then they’ll be DONE!
Patients want to believe they’ll be better in no time, even if they’ve been fighting the problem for years. Does anyone believe the ads that claim “Rock hard Abs in 6 minutes a day?” Logically no, however, the quick-fix message resonates with us, or marketers wouldn’t keep using it.
The point is…people don’t want to hear that regaining their health takes time and a lot of careful work. You have to give them a little time before they’ll accept this truth. Focus on one month at a time and begin the teaching process along with their treatments.
You want to educate your new clients to understand that caring for their health is ongoing. They will have many conditions that surface as you care for them. Some may have occurred many years ago and are long forgotten.
Take half an hour during the initial AcuGraph exam to discuss each patient’s graph. Click on the deficient, split or excess meridian. A picture will pop up that shows the channel. Ask what happened to them in the past that would create this situation. As you describe events that could cause such a result you will be surprised by the stories of old injuries, surgeries, or chronic problems! (see box below)
It never occurred to them that an old injury could still be plaguing them. You can give them proof through the graph!
When the channel is pink or split, it means the energy is out of balance. Start with either the high or low side and ask them what might be the cause. I was conducting a training exam and I asked this question. The patient surprised me when she said she had a ruptured breast implant! Sure enough, the channel on the ruptured side was excessive.
Her body was working hard to cope with the rupture..and AcuGraph found it!
Take good notes about the conditions and ailments as they describe them. Maybe even print the graph and meridian channels and make notes on each one. This will become a great reference in a few months when the symptoms now bothering them daily, will have disappeared and been forgotten.
After about a month of treatment, have another sit down and go through the graph again. It shouldn’t take 30 minutes this time; maybe 15 or 20 because they understand the purpose. There will be changes and you can explain that acupuncture has created these changes and begun the healing process.
At this time discuss any RECENT activities that may have affected the graph. This will help them understand that daily activities, bumps, bruises, displacements, etc can impact their long-term health because of internal, unseen, effects.
Help them understand the need for ongoing treatment to keep them at their peak. Just like regular maintenance to a car, regular maintenance of energy meridians can prevent problems that might develop into far worse conditions.
Talk about their PIE score and how it has changed since the first visit. Set a goal for what score they’d like to achieve and maintain. Then discuss a plan to help them reach that goal.
You are planting the seeds with each patient to transition them from an Acute care to Recovery care and finally to Preventative care.
When you begin each session with an AcuGraph exam, it creates an opportunity for the patient to open up and share. It is an opportunity for you to teach how the Meridians are impacted by musculoskeletal problems. Teach how Qi is delivered to the organs and how emotions affect and are affected by this energy flow.
As your participants learn these things, they come to understand that success is possible. That the road back to vibrant health isn’t easy…but it’s worth it!
They feel HOPE again…for the first time in years!
Help your program participants transition to long-term patients. Utilize the AcuGraph every session. As they learn about Meridians and the flow of Qi, they’ll come to understand and appreciate all that you do…and your practice will grow.
Ideally, monthly wellness treatments account for 40% of your patient visits. The teaching process previously outlined, using the AcuGraph, will help you hang onto those patients because they will understand the value of the services you provide.
If someone leaves after recovery, invite her back after 3 months for a free AcuGraph checkup exam to compare her PIE score. If it has dropped, (and it likely will without regular treatment) reiterate the importance of frequent treatments.
The AcuGraph makes the transition from Specialty Program patients to full-time patients smooth and natural.
Alan Gifford, MS