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As with most businesses that require close contact with clients, chiropractic practices have struggled to keep people coming in during the COVID-19 pandemic. 92% of practices said they had fewer patients coming to the office because they were fearful. That fear has been slow to dissipate for some, even as the pandemic seems to be receding.
More than a year after shutdowns began, it seems that the U.S. is reaching a level of comfort. Compared to last year, people are planning more vacations, feeling more comfortable eating out, and even attending large sporting events and concerts again.
And they’re beginning to reschedule healthcare visits.
So how are those who have been away from their chiropractors these many months feeling? Many people who have worked from home during this time have experienced more pain because of inactivity and long periods of sitting. One study found that up 70% of people with chronic pain surveyed said their pain worsened during the pandemic.
Others have embraced exercise as a way to fill empty hours. Many people may need chiropractic care for overuse of muscles and joints as well as injuries from vigorous exercise.
These increased care needs offer an opportunity to get existing patients back to regular appointments and bring new patients to your practice.
During the pandemic, we surveyed chiropractors to learn how they were adjusting their efforts to communicate with their patients. We found that 52% were increasing e-mails to their patients, and 42% were using texting.
Here are a few tips on some good ways to do that:
It’s best to encourage patients to come back to your practice when they feel comfortable. In the meantime, you can stay in touch to let them know what measures you’re taking to protect their health.
Use email or text campaigns to let them know about any updates to your hours of operation and options for care like telehealth, if you offer them. This will let your patients know that you are open for appointments and ready to accommodate their needs.
Highlighting specific services that could be useful to them is another way to let them know you’re there to help. Also consider offering a discount or waiving co-pays to patients who book appointments within a specific time frame.
Another way to encourage inactive patients to return is to remind them that self-care is important. Many people have neglected their self-care routines during the pandemic due to fear of leaving the safety of their homes and possible financial stressors. Point out that they can enhance their health by a return to chiropractic care.
An email campaign with basic tips for staying limber between visits is another way to remind your patients that you care.
An excellent way to take an interest in patients’ self-care is to use CTSmartFit to send exercise routines to patients that they can do in their homes. Like other automated ChiroTouch tools, you can set CTSmartFit up to send automatic individualized messages to patients — in this case, exercise videos and instructions that will help them stay healthier until they are ready to come back to the office.
CTSmartFit can also be used for patients who are having in-person visits as well, because everyone can benefit from engaging in exercise at home between visits.
You may also want to educate and reassure your patients about safety measures. The CDC has said that the risk of being infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface that contains the virus is very low, 1 in 10,000 or less, but many people still don’t feel comfortable in public spaces. Knowing that you are using enhanced cleaning procedures, temperature checks, and other protective measures will help your patients feel more comfortable as they return.
Many businesses have upgraded their ventilation to kill airborne viruses, so if you have done this in your building, be sure to highlight it so your patients know their chances of infection are extremely low.
Make sure that patients see evidence of these changes when they do return to your office. Maintain social distancing and make the requirement visible. Post signage reminding them that you are maintaining a safe space so they will feel comfortable booking their next visit.
Our eBook, A Guide to Reopening Your Chiropractic Practice, contains much more information about how to reopen your practice so that patients feel safe and are reassured that they will not put themselves at risk in your offices.
ChiroTouch can help you get these messages to your patients with CTInTouch.
CTInTouch is a patient communication tool that automates messaging to all or a subgroup of your patients. Using CTInTouch is the perfect way to get patients to come back to chiropractic care.
You can send messages as often as you want by either email or text. (But don’t overdo it, or your patients will tune them out.) Your messages don’t have to explicitly ask patients to make an appointment. CTInTouch also works well for practice updates, automated birthday messages, and promotion announcements.
These messages will keep your practice in your patient’s minds, which may also prompt them to make return appointments.
You can also use CTInTouch to ask active patients to refer family and friends who may have a need for your services. You can offer a reward such as a discount on services, a chance to win a gift card, or a free adjustment as a way to encourage participation.
Positive word of mouth is one of the best ways to get new patients and can be much more successful than spending money on advertising.
You can learn more about how CTInTouch works here.
Even before the pandemic, telehealth had been transforming healthcare, and chiropractic is no exception. While ChiroTouch is not designed specifically for telehealth visits, using CTAppointments in combination with CTInTouch can support a telehealth service and let patients it’s available.
Patients can use CTAppointments to book visits online. With CTInTouch, you can then send automatic text or email instructions to those who book telehealth appointments so they know how to prepare for the visit and join the session. Be sure to provide contact information in case something goes wrong and the patient is unable to connect for their telehealth visit.
To see more about how you can use CTAppointments and CTInTouch together to make scheduling telehealth visits easier, check out this video.
To learn about other ways ChiroTouch can help make telehealth visits easier for you and your patients, watch the two videos we’ve created on the topic, “Learn About the Successful Use of Drip Education and Telehealth in a Family Wellness Practice,” part one and part two.
For more ideas on improving patient retention, read Chiropractic Patients: 5 Tips for Patient Retention.
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We’d also love to show you more of the many ways a ChiroTouch subscription can help you and your staff run a more efficient practice. Book a no-obligation demo today to learn how we can help your practice be the best it can be.
As always, have a well-adjusted day!