What you need to know about Patient Education

Does Your Brochure Rack Rock?

If your brochure rack is a dust collector or merely a neglected wall decoration, it’s time to put it to work and grow your practice!

Waiting for patients to take your brochures is the first mistake. Drug manufacturers shamelessly promote their wares by interrupting your patient’s favorite TV program, yet you’re somehow afraid to hand a brochure to a delighted patient to give to someone else? Give them a brochure!

Sure, some of your brochures will be discarded. But not handing them out because you assume they won’t be read is self-defeating.

Even more significant is the mistaken notion that handing a patient a brochure is somehow self-serving, that it will benefit you more than the patient’s spouse or friend. This is a clear sign that you’ve made the practice about you, rather than serving the needs of patients. (This belief is probably tainting other aspects of your patient relationships as well.)

At the root, each of these is bound in an irrational, emotionally-charged concern, handcuffing many from spreading the word, enlarging their practice and helping more people.

How do you remove these barriers? Here are some suggestions:

1. Practice.

Devote a couple of staff meetings to rehearsing the act of approaching the brochure rack, speaking, reaching for a particular brochure and handing it to a patient. Role play.

“We’re focusing on helping people (reach) with headaches this week. Do you know anyone (hand) who gets headaches? Maybe this will encourage them to seek a natural solution.”

“Chiropractic is still the best kept secret in health care (reach). And we have a few more openings for new patients. Will you help us (hand) help others?

Whether you use these words or your own, practice the reach and the hand off. Get it into your muscle so it feels natural. Visualize the brochure reaching a nonpatient who could be helped with chiropractic care as you rehearse. Think of your brochures as creating a reminder for patients to tell others about their experience. Think of your brochures as giving your patient’s testimonials more horsepower.

2. Do the math.

While many offices contemplate massive advertising campaigns, plan practice promotions or conduct screenings, they overlook the easiest, most affordable arsenal of all: their brochure rack. It may not be as glamorous or high profile as sponsoring the annual community 10K Fun Run, but it’s considerably more affordable and effective.

Compute the value of your brochure rack. Count the number of brochures you have stored on the wall. At 30¢ to 50¢ each, how much money do you have tied up in colored paper? A whopping $50 maybe $100? If you’re sitting on a couple hundred brochures, even the most pessimistic practitioner can imagine that handing them out would produce a new patient or two. That’s a huge return on your investment! But first you’ll want to…

3. De-emotionalize your brochures.

You’re not self-conscious when you give your care recommendations at the report. You don’t feel it’s self-serving to adjust a patient. And it’s unlikely that suggesting home care procedures that enhance their recovery – making chiropractic (and you) look good – produce even a whiff of awkward self-promotion. But hand a patient a brochure and some chiros start to feel they’ve suddenly turned into a selfish huckster!

First, realize that most patients, after experiencing such great results in your office, deeply want others in their lives to experience the same thing. Yet, most patients, even those who enjoy extraordinary results, find it difficult to win over a skeptic. Equipping them with a brochure can actually solve a big problem for them.

Second, the inability to adequately explain chiropractic to a friend or loved one prevents many from experiencing the deeply satisfying feelings of helping others. In other words, keeping your brochures in their rack shortchanges your patients because it forces them to rely solely on their spoken words to motivate others, making it more difficult for them and decreasing their effectiveness as a referral agent.

4. Love your brochures.

Chances are, you haven’t even read your brochures, or if you did, it was so long ago you’ve forgotten what they say! So go on a field trip to your reception room and see what’s out there. Make sure they reflect your philosophy and properly communicate the tone and aesthetics of your practice.

There are three or four of us who supply chiropractic brochures for the profession – each with a different philosophy and visual treatment. If you can’t find brochures that accurately articulate your worldview, then make your own. They may not have the same upscale look, but any shortcoming in that area will be more than made up for by your energy and intention attached to each one of them.

Turns out those who see a lot of new patients, give out a lot of brochures. Ultimately, it’s a numbers game. The more seeds you broadcast, the more likely some will fall on fertile soil. Remember, your job isn’t to make the seeds grow. Your job is to broadcast the seeds!

10 Point Test

Do Your Chiropractic Brochures Measure Up?

Chiropractic brochures are essential for patient education and supporting patient referrals. How well do your current brochures measure up to Patient Media brochures?

Take this 10-point test:

1. Design. In a split second patients size up the look and feel of your brochures. Are they enticing? Does it represent you and chiropractic in a positive light? Do they draw patients to take them from your brochure rack? If you don’t use many brochures, this could be the reason.

2. Graphics. Many brochures are merely a sea of gray type. But it’s pictures that resonate with today’s visual culture. Patient Media brochures feature concise, get-to-the-point text. The key points are communicated in the short photo captions.

3. Print quality. This is where other patient education companies cut corners to increase profits. Cheaper paper. Smaller printing presses. Does the paper feel good to the touch? Are the colors bright and vibrant?

4. Readability. Your brochures are for patients, not other chiropractors. Patient Media brochures are written at the 8th grade reading level, like the most popular consumer magazines. Writing that is crisp and clear.

5. Typography. Research shows that a serif typeface is easier to read than the more modern sans serif font. San serif type should be reserved for short headlines and subheads.

6. Length. It’s tempting to write too much. Patient Media brochures are less than 500 words and take most people about a minute to read. Even better, most patients can get the key points by merely scanning the pictures and reading the photo captions.

7. Font size. Most chiropractic brochures are printed using type that is an eye-straining 10-point. We use a larger 11-point font so it’s easier for today’s aging baby boomers to read.

8. Folding. Like a book, stitched brochures flow easily with each page turn. But other chiropractic brochures create ambiguity. This common fold configuration is confusing. After reading panel 1, should you read panel 2 or panel 5? Patient Media brochures avoid this with our unique double fold.

9. Philosophy. Other chiropractic brochures, especially those created by chiropractors, inject their point of view in subtle ways. Patient Media brochures take a neutral approach. Created by Chiros AND patients—for patients.

10. Citations. Are your current brochures based on a single study? Do they reflect the most contemporary thinking of researchers? With every claim referenced with current citations, Patient Media brochures advance longstanding chiropractic principles.

Do your current brochures pass? If not, it’s time to upgrade to the chiropractic patient brochures created by Patient Media.

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