You just finished your first appointment with a new patient. It went a little long (2 hours, yikes!) but you’re feeling good. The patient was agreeable and open to any suggestions you made – which was a good thing, because you had a LOT of suggestions.
The next week you’re surprised to see their follow-up is cancelled… and even more surprised when your calls and emails go unanswered.
What went wrong? You really gave the patient your all.
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone.
It’s common for patients to shake their heads in agreement when sitting across from the medical provider. However, as soon as they walk out the door they are thinking “No way, I can’t do all of this.” They feel defeated before they even begin.
This speaks to the number one reason I see amazing medical providers lose patients: way too much information, all at once.
Patients get totally overwhelmed and bolt. I know because not only has this happened to me, it’s happened to my business integration clients. It happens to the best medical providers in the world.
Why patients get overwhelmed
In functional medicine, we ask patients to play an active role in their own health. But most patients don’t know this when they walk in the door. Or they don’t know exactly the extent of their participation required for functional medicine to be successful.
The patient is either coming from the allopathic model or is used to expecting the doctor to ‘fix’ them. They want to heal the root causes, so they seek out functional medicine providers, but they have yet to claim their rightful role as the hero and assume Autonomy in their care. Or patients have tried many functional medicine doctors and are playing doctor hopscotch because no doctor has yet cured them.
The patients have yet to learn their role as equal therapeutic partners. They have yet to find their voice in co-designing a personalized and reasonable 90-day care plans. They have yet to focus on the long-term investment of the functional medicine process and partnership and are still operating in a state of instant-gratification expectation.
Instead, they arrive for their first appointment with you as a blank slate. They panic when they hear you give them medical prescriptions and lifestyle recommendations at once. It’s too much responsibility, information, and too high of expectations. They want to do this but feel like the tasks do not match their current ability. They need more guidance, hand-holding, and explanation. Seeing an unprepared patient sets everyone up for a struggle.
But the answer is NOT dumbing down your message or diluting your recommendations. That might help you get a 2nd appointment scheduled, but it won’t serve your patients. Instead, I have a solution that is outside the box for functional medicine clinics but has worked time and time again.
Therapeutic Partnerships Roadmap Course
Reduce everyone’s overwhelm by designing a patient experience to prepare your patients to excel in our systems biology, mutual-participatory medical model.
The Therapeutic Partnerships Roadmap is a proven model that shows you how to teach your patients how to co-create their treatment plan so they feel empowered, confident, and competent to implement changes and see results.