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Rebooking Clients As A Health Care Professional: When and How To Have The Conversation

Uncategorized Jul 28, 2023

Rebooking rates. For many health care professionals this dirty work stirs up images of sleazy sales people, gouging their patients for every last dollar through dishonest, over servicing practices. 

As a reflex, many patients simply don’t receive enough care, often left to fend for themselves amongst guidance that is spread too thin and a myriad of confusing information.

The balance of course is somewhere in the middle, with consideration for the clients situation, where they are on their journey and what is meaningful to them in their goals.

In this blog post we will attempt to break down some of these variables including strategies and techniques for rebooking your clients honestly, and in a way that achieves the best outcomes for their health and your business alike.


The Initial Phase Of Care.

The initial phase of care is the first critical juncture for health care practitioners to establish a strong foundation for the patient's treatment journey, and a thoughtful rebooking approach plays a vital role in ensuring success going forward. 

Building trust and rapport with the patient is paramount during this stage, as it fosters open communication and can often be the main factor that affords the practitioner the time to help the client see positive change in their presentation. Practitioners should allocate ample appointment rebooking's and time to explain the overall treatment process and answer any questions, as patients often have a lot of information to absorb in the first one or two weeks. This is also often an important time for baseline data collection, using assessment devices or reported outcome measures to use for educational purposes or to demonstrate improvement to help gain buy in from the patient.

Additionally, patients in the initial phase may be experiencing acute pain and sensitivity, necessitating more frequent visits to provide the necessary relief and support. Imagine you were in pain and distress. How long could 24-48 hours feel between visits to a caring practitioner who could help provide short term relief and reassurance, yet some practitioners may force their clients to wait an entire week or longer before attending to them again. Effective care in this phase could being seeing the client everyday if their condition allows or twice a week for the first 2-3 weeks.

Since the treatment plan is still in its early stages, it is crucial for the practitioner to remain attentive and flexible, making adjustments as needed to find the right dosage of care that best suits the patient's unique needs. This is unlikely to be achieved with the common single weekly booking many practitioners apply. As a general rule, start with more bookings than less. By prioritizing frequent rebooking during the initial phase, health care professionals can find the best balance of management, either maintaining or throttling down care if needed and offer the most comprehensive guidance and ensure that patients feel supported and encouraged on their path to recovery and improved well-being.


The Middle Phase.

As patients transition into the middle phase of care, the focus shifts from acute pain management to ongoing rehabilitation, optimisation and prevention. 

During this stage, rebooking takes on a new dimension, serving as a means to monitor and guide the patient's progress effectively. 

The health care practitioner plays a crucial role in assessing the patient's development, ensuring that they are on track with their rehabilitation plan, and making any necessary adjustments to optimize their recovery. In this phase objective monitoring of the patient is at it’s most important. This may often involve objective assessment tools like AxIT to monitor strength improvement or performance metrics, but could also incorporate common range of motion tests, balance tests or patient reported outcome measure to track their progression and make sure they are checking off targets toward their goals.

Since patients are no longer in acute pain and often “doing the work”, rebooking frequencies may be adjusted accordingly, while still maintaining regular check-ins to offer guidance and encouragement. Consideration should be given to what level of supervision the practitioner needs to provide as part of this phase. Some practitioners will provide multiple 1-on-1 or group supervised exercises services each week in which they can ensure the patient is performing exercises and at the right intensity which will require more rebooking's than needed for those clients who are confident and self sufficient in doing their exercises in an unsupervised setting at home or their own gym. Those clients that are confident and self sufficient may only require one reassessment session every 4-6 weeks to track the changes made from their exercise program and an additional session to run through an updated plan.

Regardless, the practitioner should work closely with the patient, routinely assessing and advancing their exercises and management techniques based on objective assessment findings and clinical reasoning. Separation of assessment and management should also be made to ensure that neither of these important elements are spread too thin with the patient. Eg: an assessment that is too brief or a exercise prescription session that is too rushed. 

Regular rebooking in the middle phase of care allows the health care professional to track the patient's advancements and provide ongoing support, empowering them to regain their optimal function and achieve long-term health and wellness.


The Maintenance Phase.

During the maintenance phase of management, patients have achieved their initial goals but continue their care to safeguard against relapse, optimize their well-being, or pursue new aspirations. 

In this stage, rebooking becomes a fundamental tool for sustaining progress and growth however often many health care practitioners will abandon their patients and clients telling them to “see how they go” or “call me if you need”.

This likely ends in one of three scenarios:

  1. Life doesn’t get in the way and the client continues to do all the advice that the practitioner gave them and they never have a problem ever again.
  2. The clients original complaint returns as they slowly regress and calls the original health care practitioner again and the Initial Phase Of Care begins all over again.
  3. The clients original complaint returns as they slowly regress however this time they call another health care practitioner because they believe that the original practitioner didn’t solve the original problem, and they run the risk of confusion as they are given a completely different diagnosis and plan.

Objective assessment metrics, such as those provided by AxIT, play a crucial role during this phase, allowing health care practitioners to work with patients transparently. By leveraging assessment data, practitioners can monitor progress, identify potential issues early on, and tailor treatment plans accordingly. 

This approach prevents over-servicing patients who no longer require intensive care while ensuring that those who still benefit from guidance receive the appropriate level of support when needed and may be as little as one reassessment and review session every 2-3 months. 

The use of objective metrics empowers patients to take an active role in their health journey, maintaining their achieved goals, preventing setbacks, and striving towards their best selves. It also gives them the opportunity to set new goals, maybe they want to run a half marathon, play social tennis, maintain better mobility into old age. By reframing your role as a helpful guide and optimiser of this clients health and well being you can give them that opportunity that would be lost if you were to abandon them with the line “see how you go”.


The Bottom Line

In conclusion, rebooking patients throughout the different phases of care is an essential aspect of providing comprehensive and effective health care. Health care practitioners need not feel guilty about rebooking their clients because it demonstrates a commitment to their patients' well-being and progress. By understanding the distinct needs of each phase, practitioners can tailor their rebooking approach accordingly. 

Utilizing objective assessment metrics, such as those produced by AxIT, empowers health care practitioners to work honestly and transparently with their patients. These metrics provide an objective measure of progress, enabling practitioners to make data-driven decisions, and ensuring patients are always advancing towards their goals and not regressing toward states that of being that caused their problems in the first place. With thoughtful rebooking practices and objective assessments, health care professionals can build trusting and enduring relationships with their patients, ultimately fostering improved outcomes and a higher standard of care.