Private Practice Marketing Strategy

Private Practice Owner? Know These 3 Keys to Successful Team Management

No private practice owner can succeed without an effective team. Implement these 3 keys to team management and see your private practice thrive.

As a private practice owner, it’s your vision and knowledge that guides your business to success. Without you, your team is just a group of people with skills but without a shared vision.

But without your team, would you be able to be a private practice owner at all? Probably not.

If your private practice is thriving, most likely it’s because you’ve built an excellent team with good rapport and a solid understanding of how to work together to meet shared goals.

On the other hand, if your business is struggling, your team is a good place to look for answers.

Here are three essential components of team management that will cause a significant positive shift in your experience as a private practice owner:

1. Set clear expectations—and live up to them yourself.

You’ll need to implement a clear, simple set of expectations for team behaviors and protocols, and find ways to reinforce these messages on a weekly basis. Of course, you’ll also need to model these policies by following them to the letter yourself!

2. Offer your team reminders of your shared vision and measurable goals.

One way to keep your team in touch with vision and goals as a private practice owner is to hold daily or weekly team conferences. Your team will be able to touch base as a group, you’ll have frequent opportunities to provide feedback on measurable goals, and your team will be reassured and energized by regular communications. You’ll also be able to identify problems earlier and address them privately if needed.

3. Provide personal incentives as well as feedback.

Part of the role of a private practice owner is to know and effectively guide each team member. Understand what makes each of your staff “tick” and how to motivate them personally. Then you can provide frequent personal feedback tailored to that staff member in addition to using what you’ve learned to implement incentives for the group as a whole.

With these three components solidly in place, you’ll find that your staff will begin to come to work without that clock-watching “just a job” attitude. And, due to the likelihood of increased efficiency and customer service that will organically happen, you’ll also see the difference in your profits as a private practice owner.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

the PPW team

For Private Practice Success, Check Your Mindset

The Missing Link in Private Practice Success: Check Your Mindset

You May Think That External Factors Will Make or Break Your Private Practice Success. In Reality, Your Mindset Drives Your Practice.

Every day you navigate the ins and outs of your private practice and wear a number of different hats. As a private practice owner, you make the key decisions that drive the future of your business. And as a clinician, of course, you’re also working in your practice from day to day as you treat patients.

But how do you treat them? As commodities, or as unique individuals?

How do you treat your business? As a job that you attend every day to bring in a paycheck, or as a delicate ecosystem that requires your own hand to survive and thrive?

Your mindset determines everything—from your earning power to your life-work balance and overall satisfaction.

In essence, private practice success is so dependent on mindset because it has two components. Your mindset drives your vision for private practice success, the long-term picture of your practice’s health. Your mindset also functions as your biggest and best marketing tool.

When patients feel heard, cared for, and well handled, they reward you with continued business and referrals. But if you come across as distracted, distant, or gruff, you’ll lose patients—not just the ones in your office right now, but also those referrals down the road. When patients are paying out of pocket, they expect more. Unsatisfied, they’ll take their business elsewhere—no matter how good you are as a clinician. It takes so much more than good technical work to achieve private practice success.

Building a successful mindset is more than just having a great attitude and effective bedside manner. In the end, it’s all about vision and planning.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

the PPW team

3 Mistakes in Private Practice Building

Private Practice Building Mistakes: 3 Self-Sabotaging Behaviors That Will Kill Your Private Practice

Most People Are Making These 3 Private Practice Building Mistakes. Are You?

We’ve all heard about “self-sabotaging” behaviors—in our personal lives, in the context of career advice, and maybe in terms relationships. But did you know that there are self-sabotaging behaviors in the world of private practice building?

These attitudes and actions can be devastating to the health of your private practice. Why? Because in business, and particularly in the area of private practice building, the definition of self-sabotaging behaviors is anything that gets in the way of your long-term business goals.

Are you guilty of getting in your own way when it comes to private practice building? Of course, none of us are doing it perfectly… but the key is to be doing it effectively, and to avoid the major pitfalls.

Here are the top 3 self-sabotaging behaviors in private practice building, and suggestions for how you can avoid them.

#1: Waiting for the perfect moment

Sometimes we get so focused on taking action “at the right moment” that our perfectionism gets in the way of business growth.

In truth, ANY action—no matter how small—is better in the long term than continued inaction. In other words, when you don’t act, your lack of action is a choice that plays against your business goals.

#2: Micromanaging your team

You’re the captain of this ship, so of course you want to make sure you’ll stay on course. It’s tempting to try to accomplish this way-finding by being on top of your staff day in and day out, watching them like a hawk. But from a long-term view, this leads to resentment and high turnover—not the results you want in private practice building!

A better approach is to make your presence known in every area of your business, but in a manner that emphasizes your trust in your staff. Your team will feel that you’re involved and aware of their issues without the stranglehold of micromanaging.

#3: Trying to get all of your business learning from books

You know the importance of learning and growing in your private practice building efforts. Too often, though, you probably rely on reading books and articles as your main source of information.

Reading is certainly a convenient way to approach continuing education, since you can fit it into your schedule as needed. But there are a number of problems with this approach to private practice building. The main issue is that books and articles about private practice are aimed at a very general audience, and they detail someone else’s techniques for private practice building—which may not be applicable to your business or your unique situation as a private practice owner.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

the PPW team

“My website brings me no patients…”

“But John, my website brings me no patients…”

One of the things I discuss with marketers and entrepreneurs all the time is the impact of poor or no use of ones “Mothership” practice website to help drive new patient traffic. Practice websites are unlike other businesses unless you are spending lots on PPC (pay-per-click). A practice website is a tool, but with rare exception a stand-alone marketing piece. (Not that you couldn’t – you can absolutely crush your local market with a website(s) if you know how!)

Professional Practice Websites really are a place to 1. Educate patients, 2. Capture interested patients to educate them, and 3. Schedule an appointment for searching patients ASAP.

Now, since most of us don’t spend tons on PPC, here are just 6 things that can really make a difference in ROI from your site. This assumes your site has been SEO’d, and is looked at regularly, all Google accounts are set up and in play, content does not remain stagnant, etc.

  1. Social Media Posts with Hyperlinks back to your site, frequently and systematically.
  2. Put your URL on your business cards and stationary.
  3. Use the URL when you print your newsletter and postcards.
  4. Use the URL on your telephone intake procedure for prospects.
  5. Make sure it’s referenced in any local marketing campaign.
  6. Lastly, have MANY websites at different but related URLs all linked back properly…

And finally, don’t neglect the fact that ALL marketing campaigns work better with multi-media! Our largest NeuropathyDR Centers use print, web, TV, social media, live events, staff training, etc. ALL Simultaneously. And if you want to get and stay in the big league, that’s exactly what it will take.

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

JPH

The Future of Private Practice

Lately, my most enjoyable consulting time spent with my clients has given me cause to look back on all the events in private practice during the last several years. Lots of what I first wrote about the future of private practice in “Practice by Design” (2007) has come to pass. Future Shock is here, and as Toffler observed, may very well be modern man’s most serious psychological affliction.

The most striking thing I warned practitioners about was that unless you clearly handle finances in private practice, patients are gone! Especially in the scared and frightening media driven economics for so many of those we serve. You need to be crystal clear, and also priced for the realities of your own future! 

Are you serving humanity to the best of your abilities, and at the same time selling higher tiers of care to those who want and will gladly pay in full? Not everyone wants or needs a Rolls Royce, but they still make and sell plenty of them.

Patients are no different, when unique service is needed. And wanted. Help give them their health back, teach them how to maintain it, and it’s the greatest gift ever. Literally, they get their lives back!

Unfortunately, way too many practitioners still fail miserably short as professionals (because of their thinking) in this regard and wind up stressed out, unrewarded, and sometimes out of practice.

Be sure to stay in close, regular contact with past patients, and all your referral colleagues. Especially when the economy tanks. Don’t panic and cancel marketing expenditures. Marketing might cost you $2000-5000/month, but you’ll likely might generate 15k-50k more/month for your efforts!

The next big thing is continuing to staff the practice efficiently. I guarantee, no one’s going to be there to bail you out.

Don’t get me wrong. Excellent staff that help drive the practice are worth every dollar. But are you sacrificing your own future because of poor or antiquated decisions, or just not handling willful non-compliance?

What too many doctors will also need to fully develop and integrate is their information and data management systems into autopilot style marketing. This includes a powerful web presence in many parts of he country.

Just ask your next new patient where they found out about you, and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Finally, change is perpetual. This year is such a powerful example. Your practice as a business is no different.

If you’re up to the challenge, I welcome the opportunity to help you build your Perfect Practice 2.0.

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join Me for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

JPH

My Neuropathy Patient Almost Died

Guillain-Barre Syndrome often comes with Autonomic Neuropathy.

One of the rarer acute types of an acute peripheral neuropathy is Guillain-Barre syndrome, sometimes called Landry’s paralysis or Guillain-Barre-Stohl syndrome.

Guillain-Barre turns up most frequently in people who have recently had an infection, like a lung or gastrointestinal sickness. Unfortunately, it can also be a consequence of some immunizations.

Guillian Barre has just been in the news again as a direct complication of the once in the news every day Swine Flu vaccine.

Fortunately, the condition affects only about one or two in every 100,000 patients far fewer than the more common neuropathy types. Most affected by Guillain-Barre syndrome are between age 30 and 50.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is diagnosed through nerve-conduction studies and by studying the cerebrospinal fluid.  History taking is critical! Early medical intervention like plasmapheresis can save the patient years of suffering. But, you the neuropathy treatment professional MUST be alert to its possibility!

Most sufferer’s experience ascending paralysis (loss of strength in the feet and hands that migrates towards their core), along with typical polyneuropathy symptoms such as pain and tingling in their extremities. Typically, the duration of onset is short, and it’s progression rapid. I remember how quickly one of my patient’s condition progressed- a delay in treatment may have killed her! You’ll learn about that story next time!

Perhaps most serious of all, Guillain-Barre syndrome often comes with autonomic neuropathy. These neuropathy patients will then of course then suffer multiple autonomic related issues that will challenge the most seasoned clinicians!

There is still a lot we don’t know about Guillain-Barre syndrome, such as why it attacks some people after an infection and not others, or what actually sets it in motion to attack the nerves. We don’t have a cure for GB yet, either, but there are now treatments available to help manage symptoms and restore quality of life to those suffering from the after effects of the acute illness.

Next time, I’m going to tell you about a very unique post GB neuropathy case, and very fine neuropathy patient I’ve known for 30 years!

Join the conversation on Beating Neuropathy!

Change IS Constant!

Change is constant; this especially true with the internet and your private practice.

For this reason, over the next several weeks and months, we will be making significant enhancements to our NeuropathyDR web presence.

Here’s how it affects you:

We are driving more patients to our clinics for care, units, and supplies through social media than ever before!

We are driving more patients to our clinics for care, units, and supplies through social media than ever before!

If you don’t already have high-resolution, nice, professionally-done photographs of yourself, I suggest you arrange to have this done ASAP. Then spend some time and either write, or have written for you, a professional biography and list of accomplishments. Thirdly, spend some time over the next month describing, in 150 words or so, why a local patient should visit your particular neuropathy clinic. As the next couple of months go by, you will see why.

Lastly, since PracticeLockbox.com went up, there have been instructions there on how to set up your own merchant services and shopping cart. This will be necessary if you would like to sell units, supplies, and clinic items on your website. Check with YOUR State and Legal Council First! All of this takes time.

What I can tell you is so far, so good on our national test.

In fact, we are driving more patients to our clinics for care, units, and supplies through social media than ever before.

Lastly, ACOPM will now be delivering their distance-learning program administered by yours truly.

One-hour monthly chronic pain related to CEU training will be available. You may use these to meet your certification annual requirements.

The details and registration link have been published before.

Have a great day!

NeuropathyDR Clinicians and other private practice owners, join the conversation on Facebook!

What’s Most Important To Seriously Ill Patients?

If your patients suffer from neuropathy, one of the most important things for them to realize is that “no cure” is never the same as “no help!”  It’s an unfortunate truth: so far, peripheral neuropathy (sometimes we’ve seen it referred to incorrectly as ‘neurophy’) has no actual cure, and most nerve damage is permanent.  That’s an awfully grim prospect for most patients to hear, but the chronic nature of neuropathy only means that our developing options for treatment is even more important, not less.

When you apply the NeuropathyDR® methods for neuropathy treatment with a patient, you will really be addressing two things: managing the patient’s symptoms, and improving their overall quality of life.  The two are interconnected in almost every way: never forget that improving the quality of life for someone with a chronic condition like neuropathy is often the very best treatment we can provide!

In addition to the often-discussed pain, neuropathy has the potential to greatly impact a patient’s mobility.  Between motor neuropathy (which affects the strength in the limbs directly), difficulty walking due to foot pain and joint stiffness, and difficulty with manual dexterity and fine motor skills, it’s no wonder that many neuropathy patients have trouble doing simple tasks they once found easy; things the people around them still have no trouble at all doing!  The frustration that goes along with mobility loss can be almost as bad as the pain itself.  A clinical study from Queens University published in Anesthesia & Analgesia even suggests that the impact of neuropathy on a patient’s mood aloneis enough to be considered a serious symptom!

Your Patients Need Your One on One Expertise To Get Well!

NeuropathyDR® clinicians use a neuropathy treatment method which includes several known techniques and we are continuously testing newer technologies too! NeuropathyDR® Clinicians actually take new courses every single month, so they are never “stale”!

Every patient’s case is unique—no two cases of neuropathy are exactly alike—so it’s important that develop your treatment plan together with each patient.  Be sure to pay attention to any information your patient may provide, and Don’t forget to ask for feedback!  Be sure to ask what seems to be working, what eases the patient’s pain, what helps their overall mobility, and what might not be having any effect at all.  All these things are important, and will inform the best way to approach a case.

Our patient, Beverly, came to us about six months after major surgery.  Beverly had been undergoing radiation for breast cancer, and was experiencing severe pain in her hands and feet, as well as tightness and inflexibility in her spine and limb joints.  Over the course of 5 weeks, we treated Beverly with electro- stimulation, among other therapies to address her pain and range of movement.

Beverly’s pain lessened only incrementally over the time we treated her, but she let us know that the real improvement she experienced was in her range of movement!  Sure enough, our examination found that her range of movement had increased measurably (in some areas as much as fifty percent), and overall tightness in her back was reduced.  Needless to say, being able to move more freely will greatly impact Beverly’s quality of life—many patients stress that their mobility is what they miss most of all while living with peripheral neuropathy.

One of the factors that allowed us to help Beverly as much as she did was that she was very forthcoming about her symptoms, her improvement, and—also importantly—when a treatment wasn’t helping.  Neuropathy is complex, and different patients will benefit in various ways from different neuropathy treatments.  In Beverly’s case, we were able to provide her with a home care kit which she was able to use to treat her flexibility and pain at home.  Even though she still lives with neuropathy, Beverly now knows how to make sure her condition won’t keep her from getting on with life!

Helping patients control symptoms and improve their overall quality of life is what we’re all about at NeuropathyDR®.  If you treat patients like Beverly, we’re here to help you give them the best care.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about how to help the people in your care live to their fullest!

http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/content/102/5/1473.full

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1262363609000408

http://www.neurology.org/content/68/15/1178.abstract

 

Motor Neuropathy- A Different Game Plan

If you read the NeuropathyDR® blog frequently, you know that we tend to focus on bringing you the latest research and methods as they apply to treating neuropathy pain.  As you are aware, though, with peripheral neuropathy, pain is only one component.  This week, we’re going to talk about how neuropathy can affect a patient’s muscles, also called motor neuropathy.

There are essentially three kinds of motor neuropathy.  The first is the overall weakening effect of the muscles, especially in a patient’s extremities, which often accompanies peripheral neuropathy.  This can occur because the nerves which control motor function in the muscles have become damaged, or—in the case of a compression neuropathy—constricted.  The second kind is called multifocal motor neuropathy, and takes place when a patient’s immune system itself begins to attack their own nerves, as can happen after a series of infections or after an illness.  The third kind is Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, which, as the name suggests, is genetic in nature.  Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, or HMSN, occurs when there is a naturally-occurring deterioration in the nerves that control a patient’s muscles, causing those muscles to not be used, become weak, or even atrophy.

Motor neuropathy usually starts in the hands and feet, and can affect the full extension of a patient’s fingers and toes.  In addition to the dexterity problems this obviously causes, it often also has a visual appearance of “clawlike” fingers.  The condition is degenerative, getting worse over a period of months and years.  Twitching and spasms can also happen in affected limbs.  While motor issues associated with peripheral neuropathy usually accompany pain, tingling, and numbness, multifocal motor neuropathy involves no pain (only the motor nerves are affected).  Generally, none of the varieties of motor neuropathy are life-threatening.  Nevertheless, they can all severely impact your patients’ comfort and quality of life, especially if they are left untreated.

There is no substitute for appropriate PT and Rehab in Motor Neuropathy

When we met our patient Robert, he complained of a steady and declining loss of strength in his feet, which he had experienced over the past 4 years.  Robert had had cancer during that time, culminating in having his prostate removed.  His motor neuropathy caused Robert to have trouble walking or standing for long periods, and he even had trouble feeling his feet on some occasions.  He also complained of shooting pain, tingling, and soreness in his feet, all typical calling cards of peripheral neuropathy.  Since in cases of multifocal motor neuropathy, the sensory nerves are usually unaffected, Robert’s pain and numbness ruled that out.  Sure enough, when we performed a battery of tests, we found that Robert’s sensation to vibration was all but absent in several places on his feet.

Robert did not respond with the typical level of relief we usually see after treating a patient with electro-stimulation.  Over the course of three treatment sessions, Robert’s level of strength and comfort in his feet did not change in any meaningful way.  While this is unusual, it highlights an important theme: neuropathy is a complex problem with many symptoms and manifestations, and no single therapy technique or tool—even those with a very high rate of success—can stand on their own as a complete treatment.  For us to help our patients effectively, we have to encourage broader, overall adjustments to their lifestyle.

We designed just such a treatment for Robert, intended to produce more long-term benefit, as his short-term progress was not substantial.  Motor neuropathies require an extensive level of treatment, sometimes pharmaceutical and sometimes homeopathic, and usually involving some level of regular exercise and controlled diet.  Robert is currently improving steadily, and is seeing his NeuropathyDR® clinician as prescribed to monitor his condition and progress.

If your patients are complaining of weakness or pain in their limbs, they might have peripheral neuropathy.  If so, we can help you provide the best care possible.  Contact NeuropathyDR® right away and we will help you answer their questions and train you to provide therapy and treatment for specific neuropathy symptoms.  We can even put patients in touch with you who will benefit from your help managing their neuropathy.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

 

Another Niche: Become an expert in Entrapment Neuropathy Care!

Entrapment Neuropathy:  More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Last week we discussed carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the most common forms of neuropathy affecting a single nerve (mononeuropathy).  What many of your patients might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of the entrapment neuropathies common in the upper limbs.  The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as CTS, and so patients who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions!  We’re here to help you set the record straight.

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other internal mechanism in the arm.  Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control the arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve.  Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at a patient’s neck or a disease of their cervical spine
  • When your patient’s elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your patient’s wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • An aneurysm or thrombosis in the arteries

    Make no mistake, entrapment neuropathy patients need non-surgical specialist care!

  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

The radial nerve runs the length of the arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation.  Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, your patient will often complain of difficulty in turning the palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • Saturday night palsy (also called Honeymooner’s palsy), where the radial nerve is compressed in the upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • Crutch palsy, where the nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted axillary crutches
  • Handcuff neuropathy, wherein tight handcuffs compress the radial nerve at the wrists

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on the wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm!  Sleeping with the arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at the shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm.  As you and your patients all probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly consistent.  We advise a visual and tactile examination of your patient’s arms, wrists and hands, along with a test of the patient’s independent range of motion (as mentioned before, difficulty extending the elbow could indicate radial nerve damage).   Blood or nerve tests can help establish underlying conditions that may contribute to neuropathy.  The Tinel and Phalen tests will also help determine loss of dexterity and sensation that could indicate a compression neuropathy.   MRI or x-ray scans are common to pinpoint the specific location of a compression.  Contact NeuropathyDR® if you have any questions about your patient’s symptoms or the correct way to check for compression neuropathy.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of entrapment neuropathy are mild. Treatment for these mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms.  For more severe cases, you might choose to prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatories, and in extreme cases, a surgical solution is sometimes justified.

If you would like to know more about how to treat patients who suffer from compression syndrome or other types of neuropathic pain, NeuropathyDR® can help!  As a training resource we can help you treat your patients, as well as help the patients you can benefit find you!

 

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

 

Autonomic Neuropathy: More Dangerous than You Think

Autonomic Neuropathy: More Dangerous than You Think

If you read our articles often, you know that we usually talk about peripheral neuropathy in terms of the pain and inconvenience it can cause for your patients.  We usually write about quality of life, but it’s also important to know about a much more serious element that can threaten the lives of the people you treat: autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy is the term that means damage has been done to the nerves that control the automatic functions of your body.  These functions include blood pressure, heart rate, bowel and bladder emptying, and digestion.  When the nerves are damaged, these functions can start to behave incorrectly.  It can be dangerous and even life-threatening when this happens.

If your patients are presenting with symptoms of nerve damage like numbness or tingling, loss of motor control, sexual dysfunction, dizziness and sweating, or loss of hot and cold sensation, they may also have more serious damage to the nerves controlling your organs.

Nothing builds a powerful specialty practice like incredible results!

Many cases of autonomic neuropathy accompany cases of peripheral neuropathy that have more easily-noticed symptoms.  With autonomic neuropathy, a patient’s body can have trouble controlling their blood pressure, they might not digest food correctly, or they could have problems regulating their body temperature.  These conditions are dangerous!

Make sure your patients know they could be at serious risk!

Autonomic neuropathy isn’t a disease of its own, and it’s not caused by any one thing.  If your patients  suffer from injuries, have had an amputation, or even spend long amounts of time sitting still, they can be at risk of developing nerve damage.  As you probably know, though, autonomic neuropathy goes along with a disease or condition, such as:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (specifically, chemotherapy)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Lupus

If you work with patients who suffer from any of these conditions, be on the lookout for autonomic neuropathy.   Don’t rule out a patient just because he or she doesn’t have any of the “peripheral” symptoms!  Even if they are symptom-free, a patient might have damage threatening their organs.  We can’t emphasize enough that catching neuropathy early, especially the autonomic kind, gives you more treatment options and is the best way to help your patients.  Don’t forget: we’re talking about a life-threatening condition!

How can you determine if a patient’s organs are in danger?

Ask questions.  Patients can be shy about their lifestyle, exercise, diet, habits, and so on, but they’re the best source of information.  Remind them that you are here to help, not to judge.  It is vital to know any symptoms they might have, or any relevant medications or existing conditions that might contribute to neuropathy.

If you have any questions about how to examine a patient for signs of neuropathy, contact us! NeuropathyDR® has the resources you need to detect autonomic neuropathy early.  Most commonly, an examination of the extremities for infections or sores is a good first step, along with testing for blood pressure irregularities.  For autonomic neuropathy in particular, an ultrasound can help determine if the internal organs are functioning correctly.  There are also a number of other tests that are specific to certain organs such as the bladder, stomach, or lungs.

For autonomic neuropathy, taking the best care of your patient can mean a couple of different treatments used together to keep them healthy.  Several kinds of medications are available which will help slow the effects of nerve damage and reduce the symptoms.  Contact us for guidance on specific medications that might help; it can vary from patient to patient.

It can also be helpful to instruct patients about ways to make your everyday routine more conducive for living with neuropathy (again, NeuropathyDR® is a valuable resource for you in this area).  Patients usually have to adjust their diet, and certain kinds of exercise may be more dangerous to people with neuropathy.  We can help you find the best foods to recommend to your patients, as well as help develop exercise plans that are safe and beneficial to them.

There’s no absolute cure for neuropathy, but becoming a NeuropathyDR® doctor will equip you to help your patients when it comes to keeping them safe from the different kinds of neuropathy.  Remember, don’t wait!  The earlier you catch neuropathy, the better you can help!

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autonomic-neuropathy/DS00544

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000776.htm

http://www.ccjm.org/content/68/11/928.full.pdf+html

 

 

Helping Your Diabetic Neuropathy Patients

If you have patients who are living with diabetes, chances are you are no stranger to making diagnoses of neuropathy.  While some patients (even those who do have nerve damage) might experience no symptoms at all, about 60 to 70 percent of diabetics experience pain, soreness, loss of sensation, tingling in the extremities, and even digestive problems—or other conditions related to organ complications—all symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.  Diabetes is, in turn, one of the most common causes of neuropathy overall.

A patient’s risk of developing diabetes-related neuropathy actually increases with age and extenuating health considerations (such as being overweight), partially because patients who have problems with glucose control for extended periods of time—25 years or more—are more susceptible.

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep blood sugar under control.

So, what causes a patient who has diabetes to develop neuropathic symptoms?  Research is occasionally unclear on the subject, but it is generally agreed that exposure to high blood glucose (high blood sugar) has a negative effect on nerve condition.  Of course, this is in addition to other conditions or lifestyle factors commonly associated with causing or exacerbating neuropathy, such as injury, metabolic inconsistencies, inherited traits, or substance abuse.

There are a few kinds of neuropathy associated with diabetes, the most common being peripheral neuropathy (this is the type usually referred to when people simply say “neuropathy;” but we’ll get to the other types in a moment).  Peripheral neuropathy is characterized by pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of motor function, among other sensation-related symptoms.  This type is written about extensively, and can greatly impact quality of life for its sufferers.  Most treatments available to medical practitioners target peripheral neuropathy, so the good news is, there are plenty of ways for you to treat this type.

Focal and proximal neuropathy result in muscle weakness and pain, and typically target a specific nerve grouping.  These types of neuropathy are commonly characterized by weakness in the legs, causing difficulty standing and walking.  This type of neuropathy often accompanies peripheral neuropathy, so be on the lookout for patients who experience weakness alongside loss of sensation or soreness.

Autonomic neuropathy, as the name implies, causes changes in autonomic bodily functions.  These include bowel and bladder functions, sexual responses, and digestion.  Autonomic neuropathy can be life-threatening in extreme cases, as it also affects nerves that serve the heart, lungs, and eyes.  Especially troubling to diabetic patients is the resulting condition of hypoglycemia unawareness, which can obliviate the symptoms most diabetics associate with low glucose.

It is recommended for any diabetic patients to receive at least an annual foot exam.  If neuropathy has already been diagnosed, a patient’s feet should be examined much more frequently.   Additional to diabetic amputation concerns, you should test your patient’s protective sensation by pricking their foot with a pin, or running monofilament across their skin.  If your patient has lost protective sensation, he or she could be at risk to develop sores that might not heal properly, leading to infection.  If you have any questions about the proper methods to use in examining diabetic patients for neuropathy, contact NeuropathyDR®.  We can be sure you have the tools and knowledge you need!

For other types of neuropathy, properly-trained clinicians should perform a check of heart rate variability to detect how a patient’s heart rate changes in response to changes in blood pressure and posture.  Ultrasound imaging is also useful to diagnose autonomic neuropathies and to ensure other internal organs such as the kidneys and bladder are functioning properly.

To control diabetic neuropathy, it is important to advise patients to maintain a tight blood sugar control and a healthy diet (this methodology is advisable for diabetics in general, of course).   Even if a patient does not have symptoms of neuropathy, regular checkups are wise.  NeuropathyDR® can train you to spot warning signs of factors that could endanger your patients’ nerve function or even be life-threatening.  In addition, we can help you treat pain symptoms by providing valuable information about appropriate medications.

If your patients have diabetes, they are at risk!  Don’t let neuropathic symptoms go unchecked.  Remember, the sooner neuropathy is diagnosed, the easier it will be to treat and to slow the progression of this degenerative condition.  NeuropathyDR® clinicians are trained to identify the various types of neuropathy and recommend the treatments that help their patients retain their quality of life.  If you have any questions about treating patients who have or might have diabetic neuropathy, contact us!

http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetic_neuropathy/article.htm

http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/neuropathy/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetic-neuropathy/DS01045

 

 

5 Peripheral Neuropathy Myths You Pobably Don’t Know

Since Peripheral neuropathy affects people of so many ages, physical conditions, and other variables, it can often be confusing for your patients to find consistent information on their own.  Changes in medical research resulting in outdated data, “best guesses” on the parts of sufferers and medical practitioners being reproduced as facts, and just plain likely-sounding rumors all contribute to a host of very basic misinformation about neuropathy.  Your patients rely on you to help them differentiate neuropathy fact from fiction.  This week, we at NeuropathyDR® will be taking a look at some of the most common rumors we’ve found, and will do our best to help you set the record straight!

Isn’t neuropathy only found in people with diabetes?

No.  While neuropathy is common in diabetic patients and is popularly associated with diabetes, neuropathy affects chemotherapy recipients, those suffering from injuries or illness, people who have lost limbs, even sufferers of common minor ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).  If your patients complain of pain, don’t rule out neuropathy as a possible cause.  Of course, be especially on-the-lookout for neuropathic symptoms in patients with diabetes, radioactive therapy, or other commonly-associated causes!

Patients Are LEANING on YOU for Correct Information...

Neuropathy is a natural result of aging, right?  As people get older, they just start to hurt!

Not necessarily.  Neuropathy is more common among seniors, but it affects patients of all ages.  Just because your patients are getting older doesn’t mean neuropathy is a fact of life, either.  Because neuropathy can be caused by injuries, complications with medication, or metabolic issues (among dozens of other causes), taking the right steps early can keep patients from suffering many neuropathic symptoms as they get older.   NeuropathyDR® can help you develop treatment plans that will help patients stay healthy as they age.

My patient’s pain isn’t anything like other cases of neuropathy I’ve seen.  They must have something else!

Neuropathy can present itself as tingling, sharp pains, numbness, loss of motor control, and even very dangerous complications in organ function.  The term describes many different sensations of pain in various areas on the body, so cases can vary wildly from case to case.  Neuropathy is more treatable the earlier it is caught, so don’t take chances!  If your patient has symptoms, be sure to examine all possible causes and presentations before ruling out neuropathy.

There’s no cure, so if my patient has neuropathy, they just have to learn to live with it.

Well, yes and no.  Although most who suffer from nerve damage and neuropathic pain will have to live with some adjustments to their lifestyle and maybe some discomfort (there is, to date, no overall cure), almost all neuropathy patients can keep their symptoms from getting worse and, in most cases, even reverse the symptoms.  A combination of appropriate exercise, good diet, and proper medication can help ensure that you’ll live a happy, normal life.  Whatever you do, don’t let a patient’s neuropathy go untreated!

This website my patient found says they can cure her neuropathy!

Tell her to be careful!  Even though there are some well-meaning, informed, and helpful websites for people with neuropathy, there are also scammers who will try to exploit your patient’s pain and cash in on her desire to be neuropathy-free.  As her clinician, she trusts you to help her identify false or harmful claims.

Inform your patient to be especially wary of any claims of a cure—no actual cure for peripheral neuropathy is known to exist, so any claims to that effect are insincere.  Where treatments are concerned, emphasize that it is almost impossible for a stranger over the internet or phone to develop a treatment plan—a doctor is required to make responsible decisions in the treatment of neuropathy.   Any products or treatments claiming to help without even knowing your patient’s specific symptoms are most likely ineffective at best, and could be dangerous.  Make sure your patient knows to contact you before they begin treatments of any kind!  If you have questions about identifying dubious claims about neuropathy treatments, NeuropathyDRProfessionals(TM) is here to help.

Avoiding some of these myths might seem like common sense, but it can be tricky for desperate or discouraged patients to sort out the good advice from the fiction and hearsay.  Above all, it is important that you, as their authority, have good information!  Don’t believe everything you hear or read.  NeuropathyDRProfessionals(TM) is your best resource for neuropathy-related information.  Contact us and we can answer your questions and keep you up-to-date on the best genuine developments.

 

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131

http://www.medicinenet.com/neuropathic_pain/article.htm

http://www.footpaincenter.com/blog/?p=26

 

Neuropathy and Exercise/Rehab For Your Specialty Practice

Neuropathy and Exercise

Pain, muscle control problems, and overall health complications can make even everyday activities for your patients suffering from neuropathy harder to manage.  For some of those patients, the prospect of exercising will seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of their priorities.  As you know, though, exercise is important for everyone. In your patients, it can actually help control blood sugar and slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition.

Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in neuropathy patients  by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy.  Depending on a patient’s specific type of neuropathy, the areas affected, and the extent of their damage, neuropathy patients should be advised to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate their condition.  Advise patients with neuropathy to consult you before they begin any workout program.  When they do, be sure to inspect their feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and make sure their shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.  Contact us if you have any questions about how to advise patients interested in starting a fitness program; NeuropathyDR® has resources that can help.

Here are some general guidelines to pass along to patients, to help them avoid neuropathic complications:

  • To use silica gel or air midsoles
  • To use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep their feet dry
  • To avoid any workout clothes that rub against their skin in the same area.

Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation).  So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?

There is no substitute for appropriate PT and Rehab in Specialty Practice

Swimming is one of the best exercises to recommend, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms.  Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to a patient’s joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation.  As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.

Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program.  Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.

In the event a patient does not have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can teach that can help your patients control their dexterity and neuropathy symptoms:

  • For hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
  • For legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot.  Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.

Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe.  Advise patients that, after every workout session, they should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.

It is especially important for neuropathy patients to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure.  Especially if they suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, advise them of their limitations when it comes to exercise.  There is an appropriate level of exercise for almost everyone, even those with heart risks, but the degree of exercise you advise will obviously vary on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, be sure to make your patients aware that neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control.  Advise them to keep a close monitor on their body temperature, and to let you know immediately if their sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.

If you have any questions about how patients diagnosed with neuropathy should exercise, contact us. NeuropathyDR® can answer your questions and has the resources you need to help your patients stay fit, healthy, and active while living with neuropathy!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162775_exercise-peripheral-neuropathy.html

http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n4/pg231.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/99573-exercise-peripheral-neuropathy/

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189334,00.html

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188832,00.html

 

Helping Patients with Alcohol Induced Neuropathy

One of the most serious—but rarely discussed—conditions resulting from extended alcoholism is alcoholic neuropathy.  One of the reasons for its relative obscurity in the public discourse, aside from difficulties inherent in any discussion of substance abuse, is that much of the empirical evidence linking neuropathy and alcoholism is somewhat vague.  Still, there is ample correlation to assume a causal link.

Alcoholic neuropathy presents in patients similarly to other forms of neuropathy, with tingling and numbness in the extremities, loss of heat and cold sensation, loss of fine motor control, impotence in men, and so on.  All this is accompanied by the chronic pain typical in cases of peripheral neuropathy.  Because of the areas of the mind and body targeted by the alcohol, it is common for alcoholic neuropathy patients to exhibit outward signs of intoxication even when sober, such as slurred speech, stumbling gait, and clumsiness.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that, in severely affected patients, the legs and hands may be nearly useless to the point of paralysis and sensation may be entirely absent in extremities.  In these cases, the skin can also be dry and atrophic.

The specific causes of alcoholic neuropathy are difficult to pin down, and thus, the case can be tricky to diagnose.  If a patient has a known history of alcohol abuse, that is, of course, a good place to start.  Generally, a pattern of heavy alcohol use for a period of ten years or more will be accompanied by neuropathy symptoms.  A leading theory contends that the cause of alcohol-related neuropathy may be the combined effect of direct nerve-poisoning by the alcohol itself, coupled with the long-term poor nutrition that often accompanies alcohol abuse.  Alcoholics typically exhibit erratic eating habits, resulting in poor overall nutrient intake, and the damage to organs reduces the absorption of nutrients from food.  Of course, difficulty in motor control resultant from neuropathy often exacerbates the malnutrition, as the patient becomes socially uneasy about mealtimes and self-conscious about feeding themselves.

Nerve damage from alcoholism is usually permanent.  The first order of business in treating patients with alcoholic neuropathy is to bring the drinking and nutrition problems under control.  If alcohol consumption is not severely limited and adequate nourishment is not supplied, additional treatments will be futile and symptoms will almost invariably compound. Beyond this, treatment seeks three main goals:

  • To control symptoms
  • To maximize and restore function (quality of life)

    Alcoholic Neuropathy requires extraordinary measures to slow or treat…

  • To prevent further injury to the patient due to neuropathic vulnerabilities

Most treatments address these three tenets simultaneously.  Pharmaceutical treatments include the use of painkillers, either prescription strength or over-the-counter (such as analgesics).  When treating patients with alcoholic neuropathy, it is advisable to recommend the lightest use of pain medication possible, as the patient in question is by definition susceptible to habitual substance abuse.  Be sure to monitor use of any medications very carefully.

Because of the underlying nutritional deficit usually at the root of alcoholic neuropathy, some patients may benefit from a system of nutritional supplements.  A dietician or other qualified staff person in your office should be consulted to ensure the proper replenishment of nutrients necessary to prevent the spread of neuropathic symptoms.  Parenteral multivitamins are also useful in many cases to assist nutrition.

Several new lifestyle habits can help patients adjust to living with alcoholic neuropathy, such as carefully monitoring the temperature of bathwater to prevent burning, inspecting themselves and their clothing and footwear for points of rubbing or wear on the skin, and so forth.  In alcoholics, the establishment of these habits (which are themselves advisable for all neuropathy patients) can be instrumental in the replacement of the undesirable dependency that caused the problem.

Although nerve damage is usually permanent, the prognosis for sufferers of alcohol-related neuropathy can be very good if the alcoholic successfully refrains from indulging the dependency and works to replenish nutrition.  It is important to emphasize to patients that substantial recovery from degenerating neuropathic symptoms will not be seen for a period of several months.  Of course, subjective improvements in lifestyle and health will begin almost immediately when abstaining from an alcohol dependency as a result of general detoxification.

If you have patients you believe could be suffering from alcoholic neuropathy, we are here to help you determine for certain how best to proceed!

Contact NeuropathyDR® and we can give you even more information about how to help your patients suffering from alcohol abuse-related neuropathic symptoms.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000714.htm

http://www.neillneill.com/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/alcoholic-neuropathy.html

http://www.ajcn.org/content/9/4/398.full.pdf

 

 

 

The FULL Imact of Sleep, Sleep Apnea and Neuropathy

 

If you treat patients with neuropathy and pain, you’re probably very familiar with complaints about lack of sleep, trouble staying asleep, and general restlessness at night.  It’s hardly surprising, given the intensity of many neuropathic conditions, that they make it tough to rest.  Insomnia (lack of sleep) affects almost half of the overall population, but among neuropathy sufferers, that ratio jumps to over seventy percent (according to the Journal of Pain Medicine). Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults, regardless of their age or gender, an intimidating goal for people whose chronic pain keeps them up at night.

Research suggests that sleep apnea, a common cause of insomnia, can actually cause peripheral neuropathy, as well. Beyond a mere relationship, studies have shown that apnea is a high-risk condition among the insulin-resistant, which could likely be affecting incidents of neuropathy among diabetics in very direct ways. Some doctors have reported that treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea has actually helped their cold or numb extremities recover, indicating another condition (possibly Raynaud’s phenomenon) masquerading as neuropathy.  If patients suffer from sleep apnea, CPAP treatment may be a viable avenue to explore to address their tingling or loss of sensation.

Regardless of the root cause, your patients’ pain can intensify in the evening hours, both in reality and in their own perception (fewer distractions of the day can cause a patient to focus more on their pain the closer they get to bedtime).

Insomnia from neuropathy can perpetuate its own problem, too.  Not only is your patients’ neuropathy prodigious when it comes to nighttime restlessness, but the resulting lack of sleep can make the pain even worse!  Rest is essential to recovery and treatment, and a patient’s lack of sleep can lower their pain threshold drastically.  Take into consideration that insomnia, diabetes, and other imbalances related to neuropathy can also contribute to high stress, depression, and mood disorders, and your treatment plan become that much more complicated.

If you’re treating patients whose insomnia could be caused by neuropathy (or vice-versa), NeuropathyDR® can provide the tools and information you need to help them get a good night’s sleep.  Specifics vary from patient to patient, of course, but here are some general guidelines that might be useful:

  • Instruct them to keep a regular sleeping schedule.  Getting to bed and getting up at the same times each day is one of the best ways for them to teach their body to sleep correctly.
  • Patients should limit their intake of caffeine and any medication that incorporates a stimulant, especially in the evening hours.
  • Avoiding heavy foods in the evening is important.  Metabolism continues hours after we eat, and the resultant energy boost can be bad for sleep.  Many cultures eat their biggest meal of the day in the morning and only a small snack at dinnertime for this reason.
  • Turning off the TV and computer a few hours before bed is a good idea.  Mileage varies from person to person, but electronics tend to stimulate the senses.  Suggest a book or quiet conversation, instead.
  • Counsel patients to adjust their environment to be ideal for sleeping.  They should layer covers to ensure they stay warm but not hot, and should minimize light and noise.

In addition to great care from you as a first line, there are a number of herbal and natural sleep aids as well, which may help insomniacs fall asleep quickly.  Sleep expert Elizabeth Shannon recommends entertaining a number of stress-relief methods, psychological conditioning, and homeopathic solutions for insomnia before resorting to pharmaceutical sleep aids, which can often form dependencies and, over time, exacerbate the problems associated with restlessness.

Of course, for severe chronic pain, prescription medications may be necessary.  Ultram, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and acetaminophen, codeine, and morphine might be used in more extreme cases. Some antidepressants or anticonvulsants could be valuable as well, depending on the specific symptoms your patient is presenting.  Benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication is also occasionally helpful, again, depending on specific symptoms.  If you have questions about pharmaceutical sleep aids, NeuropathyDR® can help provide guidance for you.

Be sure to remind patients that altering their sleep pattern won’t happen overnight (so to speak)!  It could be three to four weeks before any changes made to their routine begin to have meaningful impact on their success.  Often, since changes in routine can be unsettling in themselves, restlessness can become worse before it gets better.  Contact NeuropathyDR® and we can give you even more information about how to help your patients suffering from neuropathy to get the rest they need.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/159/1/213.full

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.sleeplessnomore.com/

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8145&news_iv_ctrl=1221

Maximum Patient Benefit and Recovery-CCTxs

Patient Co-Treatment Plans CCTxs

One of the biggest clinical lessons that has come from our work with peripheral neuropathy patients is just how powerful “Patient Co-Treatment Plans” can be.

Traditionally, we might think of patient components of recovery from illness as a relatively passive home care program such as “just take these twice a day” or “do these exercises”.

Clinical Co-Treatment Plans (CCTxs) involve much more specific, multifaceted approaches to patient care, that not so surprisingly yield often greater results in several areas than just professional advice or professional treatment programs alone.

Some of the keys to CCTxs success lie squarely in getting the patient to accept responsibility for all the components needed to foster maximum results. Commonly observed side benefits may include enhanced family support, approval and greater involvement of other health care providers and especially reduced use of pain and psychotropic drugs.

CCTxs typically consist of dietary advice, timed exercise and stretches, massage, oral and topical medications and supplements and in the neuropathy patient, use of the Clinical Co Treatment Kit.

You CAN Learn to Help More Patients with CCTxs

With just a little foresight, the same principles can and should be applied to a vast array of health conditions.

We have found it extraordinarily beneficial to specifically package CCTxs with custom iPhone®/ipad® Apps, DVDs and books, newsletters and exercise books or sheets.

Be sure that any supplementation or medication is always supplied with detailed written instructions. We attach specific, written and sometimes color coded instructions to each bottle or applicator.

But the real key to success is indoctrinating your staff and patient families from the outset that your approach to treatment mandates CCTxs.

You see, when you mandate patient co-operation as part of case acceptance, patient compliance is usually greater. There are also far fewer questions about fees, length and extent of care. The value added benefits of dealing with your office as opposed to a competitors becomes readily apparent. Most of all, your role as teacher with these patients can reduce office stress levels and interrupting phone calls dramatically!

But another less thought of benefit from running your professional health care practice in this way becomes positioning and marketing.

When the community understands the depth of your concern is far greater than making payroll, referrals seem to magically follow. It becomes Disney-sequel- patients can’t resist telling others. New Patient flow tends to come like a freight train with patients and their families who are clamoring for this type of care.

Of course, this is especially true as we move towards a public system of healthcare in which these “touches” have all but vanished forever.

So, how do you actually implement CCTxs in practice?

Obviously, take a look at what’s out there and don’t reinvent he wheel. If you are a neuropathy clinician, we’ve already done all the work for you!

By the same token, if you have an idea, first sketch it out. Be sure to include all the components needed to foster not only patient recovery, but also compliance.

Keep in mind, today, you must build in all the appropriate self-care tools, including books, DVDs, and now especially those that will “push” information in a consistent, replicable manner.  Timed information and self-help content that will also allow for patient (or a family caregiver) self determined interaction.

I’m clearly talking about automated SMS (mobile device text communications) and mobile device apps, which will have an ever-expanding role in private health care practices.

In the coming days, I’ll be showing you precisely how all of this technology can be tied together seamlessly with CCTxs to not only educate your patients, but also become part of the vast repertoire of social media as well as traditional marketing and private practice development and management.

The future success of private practice will mandate such an approach.

Stay tuned to http://neuropathydrprofessionals.com

Marketing the Specialty Practice in 2013

You know the issues…

Your chiropractic, physical therapy or medical practice offers a myriad of special services…

•       For women to combat the effects of osteoporosis and/or hormonal issues

•       Sports rehabilitation services for the athlete

•       Recuperative and NeuropathyDR® Treatments for seriously ill patients

 

Any of these specialties should be bringing in the kind of varied patient population that would not only keep your practice exciting but do great things for your bank balance as well.

 

Still, day after day, you treat the strained back from the construction worker or the sore knees of the weekend warrior.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  You just know you could be doing more.

You know the demand for your real expertise and special services is out there but for some reason you’re not reaching them.

It’s not a lost cause…

Try these tips for reaching the kind of varied patients you know you can help:

Get In Front Of Your Prospects

You know you can help all these patients but if they don’t know you exist, you can’t help them.

You have to take your message to them.  Go where you know they are.

If you want to treat sport injuries or athletes, advertise with the local marathon organizers.

If you want to specialize in senior care, get your message out to the local senior centers and retirement communities.

For chiropractors and physical therapists:  If women are your target market, start networking with ob/gyn’s referrals or speak at local professional women’s clubs on the benefits of specialty care for common female complaints.

 

What’s In It For The Patient?

When you get in front of your prospective market, don’t dwell on how great you are or how you’re an expert in whatever field.

Emphasize what’s in it for them.

Greater mobility, playing golf, or enjoying the grandchildren…

Less pain…

Success and healing are both so formulaic…

Literally, getting their freedom or their life back…

You have to sell the benefits of your treatment, not your expertise.  Always make sure that your top priority in marketing, initially, is answering the patients all important “What’s in it for me?”

Don’t Forget The Power Of Referrals

Referrals can be an invaluable resource for building your practice.

The art of getting referrals from other professionals takes time to develop but if you learn to foster and develop relationships between your practice and referring practices, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

If you get referrals from another practice or specialty, always make those patients a top priority.  See them when it’s convenient for them and do it as quickly as possible.  If you develop a reputation for giving top notch care to the referrals you receive, your fellow practitioners won’t hesitate to send you more patients.

And always, always thank the referring doctor for every patient they send you.  And don’t forget your referring doctors’ staff members.  They are often overlooked but many of the referrals you receive will really come from a referring practitioner’s front desk staff.  They’re the ones who hand out your card, give people your web address, or even call to setup appointments.

It has taken years for you to become a specialist.  And you expended the time and effort in your particular specialty because you knew there were people out there who needed your help.

They are your target market.

You have a priceless opportunity to help your prospective patients and grow your practice into a thriving concern all at the same time.

Go where your patients are, show up in their web space and social media, at your live events be sure to tell them what’s in it for them, build your enormous referral network and you’ll be well on your way to living and practicing by design.

And when you are ready to expand your horizons even further, go to http://perfectpracticeweb.com/home or call me 24/7 at 781-754-0599 John