Effective Explanation For Complete Patient Adherence & Buy In
Posted By: Dave O’Sullivan
At ProSport Physio HQ, we obsessively track stats. This is not to micromanage or anything like that, it’s so that we can continually improve our service. One of the most important stats for me in the amount of drop-offs we’ve had in the last month. We count a drop-off as somebody who cancelled and appointment and didn’t re-book.
You can learn a lot from your drop-offs. In our case, when we looked at all of the drop-offs from the previous few months we noticed a common theme. Most of these had given ‘polite’ excuses of “needing to check their diary”, or “ringing if the pain comes back”, but when we looked at the notes, analysed each case individually and spoke to the therapist who was treating them there was really only two reasons that patients dropped off:
Lack of progress
Perceived lack of progress
The second was much more prevalent than the first. If your patient is actually lacking any progress it is probably due to a lack of clinical skills to progress the patient. This was mainly in new staff and was not a common theme from most of the drop offs. What was far more common was drop-offs due to a perceived lack of progress. This is much more down to communication skills than clinical skills.
Once we had this information, we had a team discussion about how we can avoid this in the future. From this meeting the first draft of effective explanation was born. Since then we’ve tweaked it after trial and error with hundreds of patients and perfected the process so that it overcomes the majority of potential objections before the even come up.
Since introducing this into the clinic we had a significant drop in the number of drop-offs, and once we knew it worked we started to teach it on the ‘Go-To’ Physio Mentorship.
What is Effective Explanation
Effective explanation is being able to succinctly explain the problem to the patient in a way that they understand so that they can make an informed decision on the treatment plan and fully comprehend the steps they need to take to get back to their ideal outcome. It may sound simple, but in practice it’s easier said than done.
The first step to being successful with effective explanation is the therapist MUST have complete confidence and clarity on the problem first. Once they have this clarity, the need to be able to SIMPLIFY the problem so that it’s easy to explain and understand.
I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit of accuracy for understanding, but the key outcome is the patient must be clear on what is causing their pain, and what they can do about it.
If we do this well in the first session, it’s usually not a problem to sell your treatment plan of how ever many sessions your patient ETHICALLY needs because they understand what each session is going to entail and why.
Watch the video above for more info, and get in touch if you have any questions.