Treatment Plans….How Long Do You Actually Need?
Treatment plans have always been somewhat of a mystery to me since I started practice. I have always prided myself on the creed of not having a long term commitment or significant “treatment plan” before you seek treatment. Your first visit in either office will include an exam, an explanation as to what is going on (in my opinion), followed by treatment that is agreed upon. There is no sales pitch to convince you that you, as the patient, are going to need months of treatment.
Treatment is made on a case by case basis, with proven techniques that have been used for years. If you need ultrasound to calm down a flared SI or facet joint or electric stim to relieve muscle spasms in the middle back, then that is what we are going to do.
I was listening to a speaker a couple of weeks ago and everyone in the crowd indicated that they do not require long term commitments to be patient in their given offices, as the Q & A section came about, one of the audience members asked how different a rapport can be built when you are treating a patient 15-20 times. I got to thinking, is this what is considered when a chiropractor thinks of no long term commitment. If that is the case, I think I need to reevaluate what I consider long term treatment plan.
The longer I go into practice the more I have come to realize that every patient is different and everyone responds a little differently to care. So for someone to walk into an office, they do an initial intake, x-rays and tell you to come back tomorrow so that they can discuss your findings and go over the “treatment plan” is crazy to me. Odds are if you are presenting to the office, you want relief or answers quick. Most conditions, unless red flags are present on the intake, that present to the office do not warrant x-rays unless progress is not being made. I know that people will argue this view point but this is genuinely I how feel.
As stated earlier, I have started to reevaluate my stance on no long term commitments because I am realizing that my definition is vastly different. As oppose to saying no long term commitments, I think I am going to start using, we treat until you get better or you don’t and then we refer you on. Some patients may need more care than others and some may be able to come in for a visit or two and feel that they have received as much benefit as they can get from our office.
I am perfectly okay with this stance, as I feel that patients that want to follow through with care and seek the best possible health decisions will follow up with the recommendation on a case-by-case basis. If a patient feels that they are receiving benefit from the care in your office they will gladly come back for follow up care. If a patient misses an appointment, we don’t usually call to reschedule because if you are in enough pain and you value our care then you will call to get back in.
I know that I am in the minority with my stance, but I do genuinely feel that I give the patient the best possible care that they are willing to commit too without a pressure sales pitch that may or may not cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The comfort level of the patient is a big deal for me, as I want them to see value in my care and to come back if other issues are to arise without a big surprise of months of care that most people do not see necessary.
Care should be given on a case-by-case basis and not a cookie cutter basis that may result in a several month long treatment plan that is going to cost you thousands of dollars. So now I am going to live by the adage of: We treat until you don’t need it or feel that you are not receiving “value” from our care.