January 2014

January 2014

We've all heard about the importance of first impressions.

Many chiropractors overlook the fact that their admitting paperwork is the first clinical impression they make with a new patient. Are they copies of copies of poor photocopies? Do they project clinical thoroughness? Do they collect relevant information? Here are five points to consider:

1. Be proud of your intake forms. If you have handmade forms or forms obtained from a seminar or a college buddy, it's highly likely you aren't collecting the right information or enough of it.

2. Arrange for new patients to easily access your intake forms. Place them on your website for download. Be ready to fax them to the new patient. Paperwork that is completed before arriving to their first visit is usually more complete and more legible.

3. Make sure your front desk support team understands the importance. Catch skipped-over areas before mindlessly ushering the new patient to your consultation. Complete data allows you to more effectively connect with the patient during the consultation, ensuring you collect all pertinent information, which is better for you, the patient, and their insurance company.

4. Train your team to recognize the need for specificity. If the patient has described their chief complaint as "back hurts," it's critical that your assistant returns the clipboard to the patient with the guidance to be more specific, or asks questions to guide the patient toward the answers you need, thus saving time in the consultation.

5. Set a tone of precision. When your paperwork is substandard or you permit patients to offer incomplete information, you're telling new patients "you can do what you want here in our practice, please feel free to walk all over us."

The first impressions are long lasting and can significantly influence patient follow through and even referrals. And you only get one chance to make that first impression. Make it a great one!

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