Upon finishing phase one of a corporate wellness program with a local company, where we screen each employee with certain biometrics (blood pressure, body composition and the like) and a half hour consult with me, I was reminded of what sets us apart. I function from the abundance principle and this company comes in contact with a lot of my colleagues in the naturopathic, chiropractic and Chinese medicine world. I am not interested in ‘poaching’ these people from their practitioners that they have been working with. Rather, I want to educate folks about what naturopathic and Chinese medicine can do for them and encourage them to stay in care to get the results I know the medicine is capable of producing for them.
Most of the employees that I spoke with had positive experiences with our medicine for specific complaints, back pain, headaches, irritable bowel, hormone imbalances. However, they all had symptoms still occurring. Some were still receiving care, most were not. I inquired as to why those with symptoms were not seeing their practitioner. I already knew the answer. Some answered they hadn’t thought about it or that their symptoms weren’t ‘that’ bad. Others answered they would go in every few weeks to see their practitioner. When I asked if they had a plan developed and measureable outcomes they all said no.
I used to practice like that, going visit to visit, up and down, as life takes us. Reassessing every visit, changing direction as a new fire is set. Going nowhere fast. Patients would drop out of care and I’d have no idea what happened. (Of course, I’d assume, they must be better or they’d be back in the office). That is not good medicine. I shudder to think of the patients I could have helped by just educating them about the process, rather than have them not know what the plan or expectation was and eventually drop out.
I develop comprehensive treatment plans for my patients. This involves what I call a four day report of findings. Day one, we do a thorough physical evaluation, records request (to look at any imaging or blood work/ labs), go through the 12 page intake form and get an overall sense of the totality of symptoms and get to know the patient themselves. On the subsequent three visits, I am treating them to see how they respond to our care. They meet with my holistic nutritionist. We assess what their rate of response is, what their vitality is.
This process then leads to a plan. We have re-evaluation points in there to MEASURE outcomes and improvement. This is crucial to our process. I can’t imagine practicing any other way at this point in my career (10 years in so far!). Of course we want our patients to feel better. Sometimes when someone has had a dysfunction or symptoms for a long time and has low vitality as a result, their chief complaint isn’t going away quickly. If we are able to measure sustained change and improvement during our treatment plan, one, it gives us a great guide tool, and two, it’s great motivation for them to stay in the game! This is where I find most of my colleagues are doing a disservice.
I saw people on Friday that we maybe able to provide relief to their suffering. I educated them about this. This is what people come to see me for. Provide a plan that has the best chance of providing results. I do know how the physiology and biochemistry of the body works, I’m excited to meet people where they are and develop treatment plans that are sustainable and produce results.
Yesterday, I was reminded about what sets us a part from other practices. We educate our patients about our process, provide plans for our patients that have measurable re-evaluation points that can give motivation and a sense of this is where we are at in the process. Rather than going visit to visit, and/ or maintaining someone in their dysfunction, we are presenting programs that can correct underlying imbalances and get to the core issues.