I am going to start spoon feeding you guys some of the talking points.  These will come in short bursts so that you can absorb them without too much down time.  Once this flow starts and you are practicing them on a regular basis, it will be EASY and become automatic.

For talking with staff

Since 70% of our referrals come from Medical Office Staff…DO NOT overlook them.  You interact with them over a lunch and have a conversation.  The focus is on the following points.

It’s about managing the spine patient for beginning to end:

As I have said in previous consults and on the phone with many of you, you are SELLING case management NOT a specific treatment.  So what you say is the following – “My office specializes in the diagnosis and management of mechanical spine pain.  Our focus is on case management of these patients from assessment through treatment.  We have a network of specialty providers that can assist in medical management, rehabilitation, injection therapy and surgey when indicated.  The great thing about what we have is the ability to follow the patient through all these referrals and to be the “hub” of the patient’s spine care.  In a sense we are coordinating the care staring with the most conservative applications first.”  

Ask them what they do when a patient calls saying they were in an accident or hurt at work

The best way to get someone to realize something is to have them TELL you.  They can TELL you if you ask them the right question.  When you focus them on the TRAUMATICALLY injured, then the rest of the patient population is easy for them to refer.  You say “When a patient comes in (calls) that says they are in an accident or hurt at work, what is the normal protocol for you?  Do you take them and examine them or triage them out of the office?” Most offices that think in the more “old school” way will sent them IMMEDIATELY to the surgeon or high end specialist.  You want to show that that what they are doing is not WRONG, but it is a way that can actually hurt the patient in the long run.  When the surgeon realizes that they are not a surgical candidate guess what?  They send them BACK to the primary or they go BACK to the Urgent Care Center.  That is a PITA (Pain in the ASS) for them and where they get back up.  I then say “How would you like that to have that NEVER happen again?”  We can handle the flow and “COORDINATION OF CARE” for the patient and report to you”  Most of the time they don’t even want a report, esp if the patient just calls in or it’s an Urgent Care Center.   

The key in all of this is to IDENTIFY their trouble spots and then offer a solution.  The SOLUTION is always the same, BUT you have to make them feel like it is UNIQUE to their situation. 

Who assesses the patient 

You want to ask them “When a spine patient comes into the office, say from a car accident, work injury or maybe simple lower back pain, who sees them?  Do your MDs see them or does the NP or PA see them?”  This is important because it will tell you who you need to make friends with.  That is who you will start to educate!  Don’t waste time on those that are not seeing the spine patients.

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