Terms that have been commonly used in medical, osteopathy, and chiropractic for some time are now becoming more popularized across Massage Therapy.
This article specifically focuses on four primary terms:
Programs of Care
Client management is an umbrella term embracing all aspects of managing your clients’ care.
Common practices of client care include:
Procedures and communications for properly gathering a new client's health history information and performing proper inquiry about it.
Knowing how to perform a consultation where you:
Clarify a client’s reasons for seeing you.
Inform them about the nature of your practice and how you believe your care can benefit them.
Provide them with practice policies you want them to be made aware of.
Next, you can provide appropriate exams, assess their situation, and decide on your treatment approach:
Will you provide them with massage or do they have contraindications that warrant referring them out?
If you decide to work on them, what are your treatment plans and goals?
Will you put them on a Program of Care where you monitor their progress?
How you apply your hands-on skills to best accommodate your assessment is another integral part of managing your client’s care.
Programs of Care
Programs of care are also referred to as treatment plans, care plans, a regimen of care, etc.
Creating evidence-based programs of care and knowing how to effectively recommend multiple appointments to your clients is an extremely important part of managing their care because it guides and encourages them to receive the care they truly need.
Decades ago, Chiropractors first created programs of care with multiple appointment scheduling to encourage patients to reschedule for care that is designed to provide them with optimum correction and longer-lasting stabilization.
Most DC’s continue to successfully manage their patients through evidence-supported programs of care instead of whimsically telling patients to come back for more visits.
Although anyone can tell a client or patient to just schedule a few more visits, each individual should be evaluated on a case by case basis instead of applying a cookie cutter approach.
When formulating your recommendations the professionally correct way, you determine each client's program of care by integrating their treatment goals with your evaluation of their overall situation, which should integrate the three primary assessment factors with the three phases of care guidelines. I’ll explain that another time.
It's important and ethically sound to make recommendations with these three criteria:
1. Your recommendations are determined by evidence-based assessments of several important criteria. This way, your reasons for making your recommendations have a foundation that can be monitored, further evaluated, and updated as clients progress through their programs of care with you.
2. Your recommendations are specific. Every client should be evaluated on a case by case basis because no two clients’ situations are the same. Your recommendations for further care should never be predetermined, but always based on proper assessments.
Instead of a mindset that every client should receive multiple appointments, the professional and ethical way to approach such decisions should always be predicated on individual assessments.
3. Your recommendations are honest. They should always be designed to serve your clients’ best interests, and not just for the purpose of providing more scheduled appointments.
How to Design a Program of Care:
Several key items need to be considered within a program of care:
Determine a certain number of sessions that will best fulfill the all-important assessment factors.
Programs of care can be based on time periods or a certain number of visits. They typically include both, such as one session per week for four weeks.
Make your recommendations to clients using well designed, clear communications that come across with certainty and clarity.
Multiple appointment scheduling within a program of care is often referred to as “rescheduling”, “multiple appointment scheduling”, “rebooking”, “multiple treatment recommendations”, etc.
The preferred term doctors use is scheduling: “The doctor would like for you to schedule two more visits and recommends coming back once a week for the next two weeks, then she will reevaluate you. Which days would you like to schedule your appointments?”
You may tell your clients, "Based on your massage goals and the assessments we just discussed, my recommendation is to see you once a week for the next two weeks. I tend to get pretty filled up so let's go ahead and see which days work best for you to schedule your appointments."
When a program of care has concluded, you will address the client’s current updated status and make further recommendations for another Program of Care.
During the course of a program of care, the practitioner monitors changes in the client’s progress.
When the treatment sessions within a program of care have been completed, it’s important to know how to evaluate a client’s status to determine and recommend another program of care with further scheduled sessions to help their progress continue or to help maintain the changes achieved.
It is your responsibility to provide clients with your best recommendations to help their situation. They are free to follow your recommendations or not.
Not every client will choose to follow your programs of care rescheduling recommendations and some will return on a hit and miss basis that suits them best. That’s expected.
Client retention means retaining your clients to stay active in your practice instead of dropping out.
Having a system for creating programs of care for your clients, getting them to reschedule multiple appointments, monitoring their progress, reassessing a new program of care, and keeping them coming back on an appropriate schedule to maintain optimum health, is all part of client retention.
Recalls, Reactivations, and Referrals are another important part of client retention.
If an active client drifts away for too long and becomes inactive, there are ways you can reach out to recall and reactivate them back into active care.
Client management can also include knowing how to get your clients to refer others to you for care.
Once you know how to get your existing clients to refer others to you, you will have a stream of new clients.
Doctors, especially DC’s, are another great resource where you can get referrals, once you learn how.
You can get new clients through advertising or solicitations, but they are rarely as reliable, safe or cost-effective as getting referrals from your active clients or doctors.
When you think about it, your practice success largely depends on your number of referrals and your client retention.
I had the good fortune of creating a hugely successful massage practice through mutual referrals with DC’s.
And later created one of the most successful chiropractic practices in the nation in a very short time by getting patients to refer others and by having patients schedule multiple appointments so they were sure to get the care they truly needed ⎯ by using evidence-based methods learned from practice consultants combined with a lot of trial and error.
This isn’t to impress you but rather impress upon you just how powerful it can be for you to learn how to apply procedures that have been proven highly successful, so they can dramatically increase your client referrals and retention too!
Once you know how to apply these client management procedures you too can generate practice success beyond what you can imagine!
This way you can feel confident you are managing your clients’ care most professionally.
Practicing with such professionalism increases your credibility and confidence, which in turn promotes even greater practice success because clients will have greater trust and respect in your professional skills, making them far more inclined to follow through with your recommended programs of care and refer others to you.
The custom-designed and completely updated Rescheduling Mastery course uses these well-proven success-generating procedures and communications to empower Massage Therapists to know how to readily increase your client referrals and retention, while enhancing your client management skills, just like others of us have had the good fortune to experience.
Integrative care has several meanings.
One is learning how to connect with doctors and getting them to refer to you. And knowing how to provide care that works in an integrative, complementary manner with the care they recommend or provide for these patients.
Integrative care also includes knowing how to manage clients’ care in comprehensive and congruent ways.
It’s important to have a coherent flow to integratively managing your clients’ care and co-managing patients who are referred to you. As the saying goes, “You are either in control of managing your clients’ care, or you’re out of control.”
The Integrative Care Mastery course was created to provide you with these client management skills in a user-friendly manner so you can readily apply them in your practice.
It is exciting to see so many Massage Therapists now accelerate their education not only by becoming more masterful with their hands-on abilities but by also learning how to professionally manage their clients’ care.
These advanced educational skills empower you to practice with greater confidence and receive the enhanced credibility and success they naturally generate.