By: Kathy Mills Chang
As Foot Levelers’ insurance advisor, questions are directed to me by customer service from doctors all around the country. Without a doubt, the most common question I get is about why insurance companies may pay less money for functional orthotics than the amount of the doctor’s cost. The predominant reason for this tends to be a doctor having made an agreement with an insurance company by signing a contract and agreeing to be in network with that contract. Because fewer and fewer insurance carriers are providing benefits for orthotics or for functional orthotics, the need is greater than ever for a very efficient and effective Report of Findings. A Report of Findings is a defining moment in the relationship between doctor and patient. It will either shape the positive momentum of future treatment, or it will be a thing that must be continually corrected and overcome so that the patient can make progress.
Every Chiropractic patient remembers their most recent Report of Findings. No matter what, this is always a drum-roll moment of real drama and suspense in the life of this patient. How bad is this going to get? How far gone is my problem? I should have gotten here sooner. Have I waited too long? Will it get better? Can these people really help me?
With that much consequence behind the moment, it is astonishing to me that many DCs think of the Report of Findings as something they know well and never need to study or practice again. Often Chiropractors find something that works, and fail to engage in on-going study, new technology, or interaction techniques to be found in supplemental materials, other professions, and clinical studies. Generally doctors eventually become successful at delivering a Report of Findings, then they get comfortable, then they get satisfied, and eventually they get stuck in a rut of non-improvement.
Enter the 3D BodyView® imaging system. We know many patients are visual, and when they can see something, it brings about true understanding. The tools that are available with the 3D BodyView imaging system scanner, and other educational Report of Findings collateral material, can transform the way you explain Chiropractic to your patients. Chiropractic champions know the time to work at learning is when things are going well. The following are suggestions from the PracticeXcelerator™ seminar that will help to make your Report of Findings better than ever.
1. You must ensure that your patient clearly understands their findings. Failure to explain the actual findings to the patient—using clear, direct language—is far too commonplace. When you scan a new patient and review those findings at the Report of Findings, it’s clear to the patient by looking at their scan that their feet are not the same and that they don’t look like the example scan in the software. Watch the light bulbs go off when the patient really begins to understand that their problem could be related to their feet.
2. Be sure that you explain the long-term consequences. The Report of Findings should utilize matter-of-fact but very direct terms to tell the patient clearly what awaits them if circumstances are allowed to run their present course. I love a picture that Dr. Brian Jensen uses in his seminars. It clearly shows two patients who took very different courses of action with their healthcare. In postural photos, one of them stands ramrod straight and balanced. The other is hunched over with severe degeneration. It’s very important to relate these consequences to the values the patient has indicated as important (grandkids, skiing, gardening, etc.) Don’t be afraid to utilize media such as this to explain the consequences to your patients. Chiropractors are invested with the innate responsibility to present a compelling argument to the patient to take action to enhance the chances of a healthy outcome. On your written Report of Findings that prints out after the scan the long-term consequences of not taking care of the situation are clearly illuminated. Don’t forget to review them with your patients.
3. Do a great job of making important points with a patient by allowing them to figure out for themselves what they see on their scan. Be sure that you check for understanding before moving on to recommendations. Having the patient briefly tell you in their own words what they see, called the Socratic Method, is useful on several fronts:
A. It engages the mind of the patient on another level. Active thinking, rather than mere passive listening, enhances learning and a better recollection of the information.
B. It gives the patient an opportunity to have a feeling of ownership of the diagnosis (and subsequent recommendation) – the patient feels more a part and so, more a partner of treatment.
C. It gives the Chiropractor the opportunity to coach the patient through the process of coming to understand the diagnosis. Many doctors have given a compelling Report of Findings, complete with the patient nodding vigorously; only to find that very little understanding or even listening was actually occurring!
D. It gives the patient practice under your guidance for rehearsing later descriptions of the Report of Findings with significant other(s).
4. Be sure to use material the patient can hold in hand and later take home in the report to help clarify and amplify your information. This also sets your information with a memory tag that makes later recall more effective. The clear, colorful Report of Findings handout material will explain the patient’s individual results. Your Report of Findings will continue to be a part of the patient’s thinking because your materials will continue to present your Report of Findings long after your meeting is concluded.
Likewise, be sure that you review all of the patient brochures that are available to hand out regarding functional orthotics, as well as the actual Report of Findings itself. This written material will be very useful to the patient as they make decisions about their care.
5. Don’t get caught in the trap of failing to offer your best recommendations for treatment, even if they are not covered by insurance. Remember, what patients value, they will find a way to pay for. As taught in the PracticeXcelerator seminars, various payment options are available for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. We must be creative, in order to help the patient to get all of the services necessary or making it as affordable as possible.
Remember, there is no more important meeting than the Report of Findings. When you scan each and every new patient, it allows you to have more robust material to share with the patient in this visual media. This is one more reason why the 3D BodyView imaging system digital scanner is such a valuable tool in your practice.