Tip #5 of my top 10 tips to become a successful orthopedic massage therapist is Follow up! This is basically touching bases with your patients post session to find out how they are feeling. Following up helps cement the idea in your patient’s mind that you are invested in them as a person. They are more than just a time slot on your calendar. You are truly committed to helping them reach their wellness goals.
Think about how good it makes you feel when someone follows up with you after giving you a service. The only medical care provider I have been to that actually followed up with me was an urgent care, and I LOVED it! This is not a service that people are used to.
Following up will help build your clients’ trust and solidify the relationship they have with you. The most important reason to follow up is that it allows you to collect information that you were unable to get while they were still in your treatment room. This information is critical. It tells you if what you did was effective and if you need to adjust things in your next session.
If you wait until the next session to ask your patients about this, they won’t remember, and the information they do give you is not going to be as helpful. I ask about more than just what the patient feels after the session. I also ask them what activities they did, how much water they drank, if they iced, or used heat, and how effective these things were. If you are asking them a week later, they won’t remember.
Post-session is extremely valuable. It helps you modify your recommendations and improve your treatment plan. None of my patients ever leave my office without lifestyle recommendations or homework. The recommendations are always very specific. Later that night or the next day things might have changed. I might want to modify the recommendations I gave depending on what they tell me when I follow up.
There are challenges to following up. It is just not a well-known practice so your patients may be confused at first. Many people have a fear of talking on the phone, so it might be easier to text, email or use social media messaging. Text message is my favorite when I don’t have time for a long phone call.
Schedule your time to follow up with your patients. Otherwise, it won’t happen. Set the exact time you want to contact them and set a reminder so you won’t forget. If you are not good on the phone, or don’t know what to say in a text or email, write out a script, and some common questions, and come up with some guidelines so you have a resource right in front of you and won’t feel quite so much like you are on the spot. I have my admin staff help with follow up calls for my other therapists, and each admin has a follow-up call sheet to help guide them through the call.
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