First Visit Success Tips

Start your  patient  education  before they  come  in to see you. Before their appointment, mail them your health history form and some information about what they should expect upon their first visit. As a rule, I have used this First Visit brochure to send to EVERY new patient. This will help alleviate any concerns patients have and answer a few key questions.

Inform your  patients  about  what  they  will experience on their first visit.  For example, “Today we are going to go over your health history questionnaire, check your tongue, pulse, abdomen, and your alarm points, etc…. I am gathering all of this information in order to develop a clear picture of your specific imbalances as they relate to Chinese medicine. All of this is important in order for me to outline a unique care plan and treatment goals for you and in our next visit, I will present you with your unique Report of Findings which will explain what I found, what’s wrong, if I can help you, and what you can expect under my care. If during my ROF, I determine that my care may not be the best for you, I will do everything in my power to help you find the right practitioner to help you achieve your healthcare goals.”

Provide treatment on their first visit. Some practitioners suggest never treating on the first visit, but I always do. I tell my patients that by giving them a treatment on their first visit, although not addressing the main cause of their health concern(s), the treatment allows their body to become acquainted with acupuncture. I also let them know that, in order to make a correct and accurate diagnosis and to create an appropriate treatment plan, I need time to review their clinical findings.

I tell them this…”Today’s treatment serves two purposes, one, it introduces you to the type of acupuncture that I do, and two, it let’s me know how well your body does or does not respond to treatment.”

Tell  them  what  kind of sensations they  may experience once the needles are in; a dull ache, tingling, pressure, or the sense of energy moving in the body. Assure them these sensations are normal, and ask them to let you know if they experience any type of pain, so you can immediately adjust the needle. Inform them that, most likely, they will feel relaxed and grounded after treatment, as acupuncture works on body, mind and spirit. It is normal to have a “post­ acupuncture buzz.”

Send them  home with a copy of Acupuncture in a Nutshell and a copy of Acupuncture Questions and Answers. Suggest that they read the materials so, at their next appointment, they can voice any additional questions or concerns. Not only is it important to educate our clients, but we must also empower them so that they become equal partners in their own healing.

The day after the appointment, give them a follow-up phone call to check-in, and ask if they have any questions or concerns.

Prepare their Report of Findings. I usually set aside 20 minutes to put together the patients ROF. I’ll go over everything I found and identified during their first visit, and put it all down on the ROF forms.

And finally, after the check-in phone call, send out a Welcome postcard and start the New Patient Welcome email series. If you don’t have one, you may be interested in these copy and paste emails t hat you can use in a number of instances in your practice. Learn more about email marketing for your practice here.