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Partners in Practice

February 28, 2017

3 Ways You Can Educate Patients About Common Health Concerns

By: Kimberly A. Besuden, DC, CFMP

The integration of electronic health record (EHR) programs into our practices has been a great change for longtime practitioners. These programs enable us to extract information that can help us be better practitioners and grow our practices. Expanding our practices with the addition of nutritional counseling and the use of the clinical information from our EHR programs can expand our practice repertoire.

Most of my colleagues “dabble” in nutrition. They have the tendency to shy away from the use of nutrition in their practices because it changes their routine, it’s too difficult, or patients may not like it. Au contraire!

Adding nutrition to your practice can be simple. In my own clinical experience, there are three support issues that patients ask me about on a daily basis. My consistent discussion of using nutritional supplementation to give the body what it needs to maintain health and practicing what I preach opens that conversation with patients. These conversations often reveal three common concerns that can be turned into opportunities to support each patient’s health.

  1. Weight management is the number one concern heard in our office. Clinical data from my own practice obtained via the collection of height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) numbers reveals 68 percent of my adult patients are overweight. This creates the perfect opportunity to support patients to strive for a healthy lifestyle that will include healthy weight management. You don’t need to do any fancy advertising; your marketplace is sitting right in your lobby! I have flat-screen televisions in each office lobby playing the Standard Process Purification Program video. This video and others are free for you as one of the many tools of support on the Standard Process website. We offer the 21-day Standard Process Purification Program as a biannual class made up of four individual weekly sessions. This creates a plan of action for my patients and a pathway to successful completion of the program.
  2. Sugar cravings are another common concern. As a result of my desire to educate patients and my community, I made several presentations in PowerPoint® format. With a little computer magic, I created a video out of my slide presentation about sugar that plays in our lobby. This forms questions in patients’ minds, which can lead to a conversation about sugar. I also selected eight of the most popular beverages, calculated the amount of sugar in each bottle, and display containers holding the equivalent amount of sugar next to each drink. It is a very striking display. The first thing patients do when they come in the office is get out their smartphones and take a picture of the display. Most of my patients do not realize how much sugar is in the foods they eat daily. Once they understand that sugar is such a huge issue to their health, they are ready for a plan of action. This is my opportunity to support them with the Standard Process 10-Day Blood Sugar Support Program. It is a kick-start for patients to begin their “new normal.” It is also a great program for patients who are not quite willing to commit to the 21-day purification program. We as practitioners have tools available to help us market this 10-day program. You can download or order a quick-reference guide that describes how each of the products in the program support the patient. I do encourage all practitioners to do the program themselves. It’s easier to talk to your patients about a program when you have experienced it firsthand and can speak to daily challenges and successes.*
  3. Digestion issues are another common complaint. It is usually only matter of time before many of my patients are asking for digestion support. This can be because they are not eating a lot of nutrition-rich and fiber-dense foods. Many patients try to fix their own digestive issues by searching for digestive aids in the supermarket. After eating those chalky tablets by the handful, the situation often worsens since this attempt to put a patch on the problem doesn’t work. As practitioners, we have the knowledge of how the digestive system works. We know that about 70 percent of the immune system is made up of tissues found in the gastrointestinal tract and can educate patients on how healthy lifestyle changes and nutritional supplementation support digestive system and immune system health.*

Establishing an educational environment in your office is instrumental in a successful nutrition practice. Eliminate all the entertainment magazines and replace them with mindful reading materials. In our lobby, we have magazines that focus on organic gardening, cooking, and health and fitness for men and women, as well as brochures of showcased products.

We have created campaigns for the top three issues discussed above. That includes custom display stands (similar to those available on the Standard Process website) for the waiting room and loop videos that play in the lobby. We change our campaigns every month or two, so patients always have fresh information. Incidentally, we always have the kits mentioned above available for the patients to take home immediately after any conversations about the programs.

Let’s face it: Our patients are hungry for information. They want to do the right thing, eat the right food, and live a healthy lifestyle. They might get their information mostly from television, entertainment magazines, social media, or the internet. But is it the best information? This is your opportunity to be the educational resource and guide in your patients’ journeys toward a healthier lifestyle. To be the most effective resource and guide to your patients, own the “practice what you preach” motto and enjoy the journey!

Tagged in: chiropractic

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.