Apr 16, 2020 8:49:24 PM
Telehealth is a necessity now, and thousands of MDs, NDs, and chiropractors are struggling to figure out how to practice medicine online. Some aren’t even sure where to begin.
After so many years of training, no one prepared you to meet with patients through a screen, try to collect data, and help them stay healthy. But that’s the situation we are faced with now.
On our first episode of Changing Healthcare – a video series dedicated to highlighting people and brands that are disrupting healthcare for the better – we asked an expert to break down the process of managing successful virtual appointments.
Tracey Stroup, ND, CNHP is a naturopathic doctor and educator who has devoted her life to teaching others about natural medicine and spiritual health. She has built a strong personal brand using the same digital marketing tools practitioners are using for telemedicine, and you can sign up for her online class, Dr. Digital, for comprehensive instruction on how to succeed with virtual care.
Check out my interview with Tracey here, where she even does a short demo assessment on me!
Here are a few tips from our discussion, in her own words, for practitioners who are trying to figure out how to move forward:
Most health practitioners don't know how to practice this way. They're so used to working face-to-face with patients, they really don’t know how to help them without that contact.
They don't have the right testing right now. When I was practicing, I used RBTI, a form of testing called Reams Biological Theory of Ionization. I used saliva, urine, and the pH from the patient’s mouth. That involves physical contact. When you’ve lost your testing tool, you lose your way to analyze data. So, medical professionals are not getting the data they need.
Third, they don't know how to make a virtual system work. They're not sure what tools to use, they don't know what communication platforms or payment gateways work best, or how to get supplements to their customers if they need them. They don't have the right data they need to make an educated decision on the patient’s health, and they don't know how to receive payment and adjust those revenue streams.
Practitioners could be benefiting so many people, and they just don't know what to do. We've never been in this situation before where we can't reach out and touch somebody. It's a new age and we have to help people in a new way.
Don't lose communication with patients just because they're not making appointments. It's really important that we reach out and stay in touch. There's a rapport there, a relationship that needs to be maintained.
You need to see and talk to people. You can do it on the phone, on FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger. Zoom is great as well. It's a free platform up to 40 minutes and if you're only doing one-on-one meetings, it's free for as long as you need to be on the call.
You need a way to sell nutraceuticals or supplements through a virtual dispensary, or you need a relationship with supplement companies that will drop ship for you.
I can call up a company and say, "Hey, Sally Smith in Wyoming needs these three products. Can you drop ship it for me?", and they will fulfill the order and send it to her.
Some doctors have a shop on their website, so all they need to do is take appointments via telemedicine, collect data any way they can get it, and then recommend the supplements on their website. If you don’t have an online store, there are apps you can use to take payment.
Most people are thinking their doctor is out of business. You have to be visible to the public, and where is everybody right now? Social media. Websites are great, but social media is an active communication platform in real-time.
You can put out daily posts on your business page, do live stream videos, you can be an influencer and let people know that you're out there. Let them know you're willing to communicate with them and take appointments via telemedicine. You can also engage with a digital marketing agency to help you with this.
People started to contact me because they didn't know where to get their supplements anymore. They're like, "My doctor's closed. What do I do?" They were trying to buy online rather than supporting their doctor. So, I was like, "Just call them. Call your doctor and see if he can ship you some supplements.” Most of the time, the doctor was like, "Oh, yeah, absolutely."
Natural health food stores are closed right now. You can't go just buy some Vitamin C. We need these doctors to actually get out there and let people know they are around. Pharmacies are still open. If you're not seeing patients in your office, you can do telemedicine and pick up new patients.
There so many things you can do just to help people stay healthy during this time. Not just immune health but psychological health as well. We're seeing a lot of depression and anxiety. It's a very hard time for people and they just need to know the doctors are there.
When a patient reaches out to you from a communication platform like Facebook Messenger, you need a scheduling app the person has access to.
You can put them on your Facebook page and post: "Hey, guys, I'm still taking appointments.” People can schedule an appointment on their own. There are really nice apps out there that let you design the type of appointments you offer, whether it's a 30-minute consult or a well-visit, whatever people need.
Within those applications, you can take payment for the appointment or a deposit on the appointment. At that point, you send a document that is basically a release of liability and a health history for the patient to fill out.
"We need doctors, naturopaths, and chiropractors more than ever. If you can't practice right now, that's not going to help people be healthier." -Tracey Stroup, ND, CNHP
My scheduler will not take appointments less than 24 hours from the moment the appointment is set. That gives me enough time to receive your documentation, review your health history, and then write down any questions that I may have.
At that point, I’ll send a Zoom link. When somebody generates an appointment on my calendar, it automatically generates a Zoom meeting for them and sends them a link. So, technology has made life so easy for me.
So, from scheduling one appointment, the patient has received documentation they’re going to fill out and send to me. They’ve also received their Zoom meeting link with instructions. I've never even talked to them at this point.
When we do meet for the appointment, I'm going to review your health history, and it’s not different from a physical one-on-one. I'm going to have my foundational questions:
What are you eating? What are you drinking? What are your top three issues, and what are your goals?
We're just going to go through a general history of medications, any current supplement programs. Then, I utilize a scale called Face, Tongue, and Nails. As I mentioned before, it's important that we have a skill we can use without all of our normal data. But you will need that data at some point, so it’s a good idea to establish lab partnerships.
The patient can take a little piece of hair and some saliva, and send it away to a lab to do a scan and generate a report for me. I'm not really sure people are inclined to go to hospitals right now and get blood draws. I think they're a little bit afraid to go there, so I try to make this as easy for the person as possible.
The “Face, Tongue, and Nails” approach has been around for 3000 years. Chinese medicine has used it a lot, and so when I teach practitioners how to do this, I teach them three different things.
Number one, I teach them to look for physical blemishes on the face, tongue, and nails, and what that means. It can mean deficiencies or hormonal issues. It helps guide me to the right questions to ask. Then, there's an emotional connection to it. Your face tells me a lot about emotions that you're experiencing or maybe things you're harboring.
Third, your face, tongue, and nail tell me a lot about your personality and how I need to communicate with you as a practitioner.
I would probably ask the person to move close to the camera. I would also have them take pictures of their tongue and nails, and send them to my cellphone or email. I can then enlarge the images on my computer screen and really take a good look at them. I'm looking for three connectors.
If I see something on the face, I want to make sure that I see it on the nail and on the tongue so I know there’s truly an issue we need to address. I'm going to do a physical analysis of your face and then I'm going to connect that physical analysis to an emotional bracket.
This four part video series will offer education on tools for virtual practice, valuable applications, company partnerships, marketing simplified, simple lead generation, the value of lab partnerships and data collection including Face, Tongue and Nail Analysis.
You can learn in the comfort of your home. You will learn applications to apply to your virtual practice immediately and generate income while you help your patients and clients. It includes:
People keep saying, "We're never gonna go back to normal.” That's okay if we can grow, but we can't have practitioners going out of business. We need doctors, naturopaths, and chiropractors more than ever. If you can't practice right now, that's not going to help people be healthier.
Now is the time to embrace the tools for successful online practice, and learn how to generate new clients using simple marketing strategies. You would be doing the world a favor.