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How Long Does a Chiropractic Treatment Take?

Posted May 02 2012 12:00am

For many people, face time is equivalent with value.  Doctors are always trying to balance the number of patients they see with quality of care they can provide.  If you have too many patients on your schedule, you’re not going to be able to spend the quality time needed to meet everyone’s needs.  But if you see too few patients then you can’t afford to continue.

Doctors will try to balance this by improving how traffic flows through their clinic so that they can spend as much time as possible with patients.  Time checking on results, running back and forth between rooms, and waiting for a room so it can be used for the next patient are all examples of patient flow that can be managed and improved.

Another thing doctors will do is manage data collection by having a staff member such as an assistant or a nurse get your vital information such as your weight or blood pressure.  The forms you fill out also allow collection of this info without wasting the face time you have with the doctor.  These kind of tools give the doctor a few more minutes to spend in actual patient care. 

I recently had some patients of other chiropractors complain that their chiropractor did not take time with them.  They lamented that the doctor only spent a few minutes with them, and that they had to come back often, paying so much for so little time with the doctor.  What it seemed to me that they were really concerned about was value.  Their chiropractor may be providing proper treatment, but failed to help them truly understand how his plan of care for them would work.  Or, he really was not providing adequate time to fulfill what he had promised in his explanation.

Providers follow guidelines.  Medical doctors have guidelines on how many and how often to give pills. People respond differently and dosages have to be adjusted.  I set plans following research as a guideline for how often and how long to see a patient but modify for individual need.  In my office my average new patient face time is 25 min, and for patients established in a treatment plan I average about 12 min.  I see a patient about 12 times for an single complaint.  Some less and some more.  A patient’s time in the office does not always correlate to the amount of face time with me.  A visit may be from 10-60 min depending on what other therapies are prescribed for their treatment.  The important thing to me is that patients feel like our goals were achieved in their time in my office.

When thinking about value and face time keep in mind some treatments take longer than others.  For example: massage can take 15-50 min,  electric stimulation 12 min, chiropractic adjustments take about 5 min with everything.  Getting immunizations takes 3-5 mins, and you don’t even see the doctor.  Taking a pill only takes a few seconds between your medicine cabinet and your mouth, and think about the cost of those pills compared to the face time you got.

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