Patient Engagement for Spine

7 Principles for Effective Patient Engagement

Dr. Jerome Fryer (Chiropractor) cuts to the chase and shares his success in clinical practice and the best ways to engage patients. Beyond the scripting and mundane approach to marketing yourself, pay close attention to a patient’s needs right at the outset. Engaging will ensure compliance and Jerome Fryer shares his 7 principles to his clinical success.

The secret

  1. Pay attention Early.Watch your patient move. Observe with close attention how a patient presents in the waiting room or observe how they get out of the chair and make early observations about the behavior. This lets the patient know you are paying attention. It sets the stage that you are engaged.
  2. Tie in history.Whether the history is fresh, like the observations you’ve identified in getting to the treatment room, or whether it was when the patient felt the injury onset with a particular movement….tie it in to the exam! Even if you are not too sure exactly on the pain trigger, set out a differential, and communicate the anatomical structure(s) that is likely injured.
  3. Touch the patient’s area of complaint.This is a no-brainer but so often I hear that doctors and other therapists do not even touch the area of complaint. Chiropractors, for example, like I am, are doctors who use their hands. SO USE THEM. A patient is asking you to figure out the anatomical problem so investigate the area.
  4. Tell the patient what you are doing.This is another common-sense thing to do but is often not done. If you are checking the ligaments of the knee, say “I am checking the ligaments of your knee”. A patient wants to know what you are doing. Use your voice to communicate.
  5. Ask if this hurts.The best orthopedic tests are the simple ones. That is, “ does this hurt? ” This is especially helpful when investigating posterior to anterior pressure of the spinous processes (and inter-segmental tissues) of the spine. Too often are doctors concerned about what they feel. More important is what the patient feels. This is a direct way to engage and let the patient know you have found a sensitive tissue and you are paying attention.
  6. Treat the Tissue.If you have found something sensitive in the area of chief complaint, treat the area of chief complaint. Even if you do not have a full understanding of the patho-anatomical lesion, do your very best in developing a plan and communicate that plan. You don’t have to be 100% correct but let your patient know what your plan is. Don’t be afraid of failure and be honest.
  7. Share your findings and plan.There is no better way to communicate than to use a dynamic model to help patients clearly see and observe the tissue. I have been using Dynamic Disc Designs Corp. models for 9 years and when a patient can see where and why it hurts, it is the best way to get the patient engaged with the treatment plan. Compliance also goes way up for home care exercises.

Jerome Fryer BSC DC is a practicing chiropractor that is focused on improving outcomes. He has developed dynamic models to help the patient understand clearly not only the cause of their pain but also the strategies to decrease it.