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CF 058: The Patient Experience, Lumbar Stenosis, & Fibromyalgia 

CF 058: The Patient Experience, Lumbar Stenosis, & Fibromyalgia 

Today we’re going to talk about the patient experience being more important than your marketing, we’ll talk about some research from JAMA on lumbar stenosis, and some research on upper cervical manipulative therapy on fibromyalgia. 

But first, here’s that bumper music

Integrating Chiropractors

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have clumsily stumbled into Episode #58 knocking lamps off of the end tables and generally making a mess of the place.

DACO

As with every week, let’s talk a bit about the DACO program and my progress. I was doing the Communication Drills but they kept referring to eLearning Episodes. So let’s break that down a bit real quick for those interested in the program. The bulk is made up of 40 Diagnostic Drills, 46 Communication Drills, and 17 eLearning Episodes. 

You get 2 hrs credit for each Diagnostic or Communication Drill and you get 3 hours credits for each eLearning Episode. 

Now, since Communication Drills kept referring to eLearning Episodes, I figured I would switch focus and go through them and then return to the Communication Drills. Still with me?

The eLearning Episodes are very much video based on a downloadable worksheet to take notes on. I take notes digitally though so I’m still getting my angle of attack down on these and how I want to best tackle them and have great notes I’m getting it figured out. 

DACO Classes

So far, I’ve taken classes on Adjusting locally and thinking globally about how a cervical adjustment can affect even the low back. The neurology is amazing. A class on blurry vision from a pain in the neck. Again, the neurology people. I don’t know how I made it day to day before this stuff. Then last weekend I took one on making sense of a headache. 

Outstanding information and all lined up to make you better, make you wiser in your decision-making, and making you a better communicator with your patients and colleagues. 

If you’re waiting to get started on the DACO, get started. I’ll be glad to help you if you’ll email me at dr.williams@chiropracticforward.com

I’m about wrapped up with some cool stuff that you all may be interested in on our website at chiropracticforward.com. If you’ll go there and sign up for our newsletter on our home page, I’ll be able to let you know all about it when it’s ready to roll out.   

Great week for listens Y’all. Thank you for tuning in. Everyone loved Dr. James Lehman’s episode. That was a big one for us! If you missed it, it’s episode #55. Candy for your ears. I see that sucker being the number one listened to podcast pretty quickly. 

Onto the Discussion

Let’s get to trying to make your practice better. This first one we’ll discuss is titled, “Patient experience five times as likely to drive consumer loyalty as marketing” by Christopher Cheney with HealthLeaders(Cheney C 2018). It was published on December 28, 2018. Once again, I know you dig the new stuff. 

If you’re getting after it. If you’re hustling, then you’re marketing. Marketing isn’t something you do once, is it? Oh no, it isn’t. It’s something you do every damn day if you’re doing it effectively. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? But it can be fun too. 

Marketing

Isn’t it fascinating that just changing the color of the border on your marketing material has the potential to elicit a different behavior from the recipient? Or changing the color of the shirt that the person in the ad is wearing affects the response rate? It’s amazing. But, it’s also exhausting to contemplate all of the different combinations of possibilities of words, colors, placements, and all of that crap. 

Good grief. You could make yourself crazy and how many chiropractors usually have the budget to hire a full-time marketing person that actually had a marketing degree? Not many would be the answer you’re looking for if you were confused on that. It was more rhetorical than anything. 

Here in this article, Mr. Cheney says that the patient experience while in your office is the primary driver of patients’ consumer loyalty at health systems, hospitals, and physician practices. He based this information on a recent Press Ganey report I would normally link for you in the show notes but it looks like a bit of click bate. As in leave your email and get the report crapola and I’m not doing that to my peeps. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Hell, I can hardly get you guys to give ME your email address and most of you are loyal listeners! Lol. 

Consumer Loyalty

Anyway, he says that consumer loyalty is vital for not only your profit at the end of the month but also helps you take better care of long-term patients with multiple chronic illnesses. 

Hell, that’s why we got into this business; taking care of people. I have to say that if you got into this business to get rich, you’re taking the long way around buddy. Lol. Most of us got into this business to take care of people when nobody else was able to get results with them. And then hopefully keep them that way!

Here’s what raised my antennae straight up, he said, “Patient experience is FIVE TIMES more likely to influence brand loyalty than conventional marketing tools such as billboards, or television, print, or radio ads.”

WHAT?

What was that? Let me repeat that just in case my DACO talk put you to sleep. Hey, wake the hell up and listen to this. “Patient experience is FIVE TIMES more likely to influence brand loyalty than conventional marketing tools such as billboards, or television, print, or radio ads.”

That is astounding. Of course, some of you already had this figured out and being 20 + years into this dealio, I have it figured out to an extent as well but FIVE TIMES more effective than billboards, TV, print, or radio?

I did NOT have that much figured out. Do you know how I know I didn’t have all of that figured out? Well, it’s because I am spending too much damn money on all that crapola. They interviewed over 1,000 adults on this survey. 

I do have it figured out to the extent that I tell my staff that we are certainly in the healthcare business but they’re fools if they think we are not also in the customer service business. You better believe it. I tell them that I’d much rather a patient leave feeling the same but feeling great about the people they met and the experience they had here and feeling hopeful about what we can accomplish with them as opposed to them leaving my office sore because I either rushed through the appointment or thought we’d equate appointment success with a popping noise and pushed so hard that I finally got a pop sound but ended up making the patient feel worse. 

That goes for the front desk too, doesn’t it? They’re the first point of contact and the last point of contact. If they’re not friendly when people come in and greet them warmly and are very welcoming, well….we’re already behind the 8-ball there and had better make up some ground in the back of the office. And when they leave…..oh nobody likes to pay their own money out of their own pocket and they damn sure don’t like to pay it to someone they don’t like personally. 

Here is a quote from the report, “Healthcare organizations can tap the power of patient experience, the report says. “To harness that influence, providers should capitalize on the power of word-of-mouth marketing by viewing the patient experience as an essential part of their acquisition strategy. By gaining a deep understanding of what gets people talking about positive patient experiences, identifying opportunities to advance the conversation and disseminating key information, healthcare systems can naturally align the mission of delivering safe, high-quality, patient-centered care with the business of acquiring and retaining consumers.”

The Big 4

They went on to line our 4 Big One’s that should be a part of any healthcare facility’s strategy for getting and keeping patients. They were:

  1. Give every patient a voice – They’re not just talking about listening to them when they visit your office and tell you about their conditions. They describe delivering surveys via text and email as well as the standard outreach protocols. 
  2. Identify factors that drive and erode patient loyalty. They say to really know where you can improve, you gotta know positive loyalty metrics on things like the likelihood to refer or recommend your office to their network of people. Imagine man, being a former member of BNI, they teach that each person, whether they know it or not, has a network of 250 people in their lives. I get 55-65 new patients per month. That’s 13,750-16,250 potential work of mouth contacts that can either hear the good about our office or, if we allow them to catch us on bad days….that’s up to 16,250 people that can hear bad things about us. You can see why it’s so important to have positive patient experiences in your office just as often as you possibly can. Especially in the days of social media. There is no room for ego, for talking down to your patients or scolding your patients, or any of that crap. Patient-centered is more than an idea, it’s how you’d better be carrying yourself. 
  3. Use natural language processing to analyze comments. What the hell does that mean? Well, they say that it is language that allows aggregation of comments into clear brand equities and liabilities, allowing for proactive management of both experience and brand. That sounds like an overly wordy and annoying resume if I’m being honest. Basically, it’s using computers to analyze emails, customer feedback forms, surveys and things like that to identify the root cause of customer dissatisfaction or, we hope, customer satisfaction. I’d like to lead you further down this path but, obviously, I have more to learn on it myself. 
  4. Post ratings and reviews in physician profiles. Ensure that future patients have the most convenient access to all information they seek by including comments – both positive and negative. I can’t deal with negative comments. They hurt. Lol. 

Reviews

They also say that you need to be earning quality reviews online for Yelp, Google, Facebook, and all that good stuff. If you don’t know the value of reviews at this point, you just might be a lost cause. Lol. 

They also say you must address negative reviews online in a professional way while understanding that negative reviews are an opportunity to learn and improve. 

But, when it’s not right and borderline illegal, I believe it’s OK to have your attorney contact the person leaving that negative review. Here’s what happened. We offer a service. Not chiropractic but a service that a girl that treated here for some time decided she would begin offering here in town without being certified in any way to perform. 

OK, annoying for sure but then she, one of her little buddies and her boyfriend go online and leave us bad reviews for the exact same service. So there we were with 80 or so 5-star reviews. Not one negative review. And then three 1 star reviews popping up out of nowhere. Nope, she got a call from my attorney and they went away very quickly. 

Ain’t nobody got time for that crap, right? I know I don’t and I have little tolerance for people that want to try to tear down something others have built just to try to further themselves. 

Before my face gets too red and I start to stutter, let’s move onto the next topic. 

Next Paper

This next paper is called, “The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial.” The lead author on this one is Ibrahim Moustafa and it was published in Rheumatology International in July of 2015(Moustafa I 2015). 

And can we just stop a second appreciate the last name Moustafa? Can we do that? Holy cow, if I had a good head of hair and a last name like Moustafa, I’d have the world on a leash ya know. But I don’t have good hair and my name is Williams (so boring) so let’s move on. 

Why They Did It

The aim of this study was to investigate the immediate and long-term effects of a one-year multimodal program, with the addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy, on fibromyalgia management outcomes in addition to three-dimensional (3D) postural measures.

It was a randomized controlled trial with a one-year follow-up. 

What They Found

The addition of the upper cervical manipulative therapy to a multimodal program is beneficial in treating patients with fibro.

I threw that one in for you Upper Cervical guys. You’re getting some love when it comes to treating fibro and I know fibro sufferers will appreciate that. 

I think, after learning more about the upper cervical spine in the DACO course, that it’s fascinating to think about. There is so much going on in the upper three segments in terms of sensorimotor and proprioception that it just blows your mind. 

Last Paper

OK, on to the last paper. This one is called “Comparative Clinical Effectiveness of Nonsurgical Treatment Methods in Patients With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial(Schneider M 2019)”. It was authored by Michael Schneider, DC, Ph.D., Carlo Ammendolia, DC (who we have covered here before for stenosis), and Donald Murphy, DC et. al. It appeared in JAMA on January 4, 2019, and here’s how it goes. 

Why They Did It

The question to answer for them was, “What is the comparative effectiveness of 3 types of nonsurgical treatment options for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis?”

Now the 3 types of protocols they tested were medical care, group exercise, and manual therapy/individualized exercise. 

The medical care consisted of medications and/or epidural injections. 

The group exercise classes were supervised by fitness instructors in senior community centers. 

The manual therapy/individualized exercise consisted of spinal mobilization (because it works and is awesome I assume), stretches, and strength training provided by chiropractors and PTs. 

A combination of manual therapy/individualized exercise provides greater short-term improvement in symptoms and physical function and walking capacity than medical care or group exercises, although all 3 interventions were associated with improvements in long-term walking capacity.

Integrating Chiropractors

The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient.

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!

Contact

Send us an email at dr dot williams at chiropracticforward.com and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out.

Connect

We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.

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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger

 

Bibliography

  • Cheney C (2018) “PATIENT EXPERIENCE FIVE TIMES AS LIKELY TO DRIVE CONSUMER LOYALTY AS MARKETING.” HealthLeaders.
  • Moustafa I (2015). “The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial.” Rheum Inter 35(7): 1163-1174.
  • Schneider M, A. C., Murphy D, (2019). “Comparative Clinical Effectiveness of Nonsurgical Treatment Methods in Patients With Lumbar Spinal Stenosis A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA Network Open 2(1): e186828.

CF 045: Harvard Health, Low Back Stenosis, Allergy Autism

CF 016: Review of The Lancet Article on Low Back Pain (Pt. 1)