If you’re anything like me, you’ve had both amazing and horrendous experiences dealing with health professionals. The reality is, just because someone has a degree on the wall doesn’t mean you’ll receive the care you need. What I wish I knew earlier, is that there’s no shame in ‘shopping around’ until you find the appropriate fit for you. While this may be a temporary hassle, the long-term benefits of having the right person in your corner are irreplaceable.
My hope for you is to never have to dread going to the clinic. The relationships you establish during rehab make a ginormous impact on your health outcomes. Consequently, it’s key that we’re intentional about seeking out the best of the best. Now that I’ve been in the health field for a good chunk of time, I want to offer you 5 tips to do just that. Using this simple formula, you should be able to determine whether your provider is a poser or professional within just 5–10 minutes.
Let’s jump right into it!
5 Questions to Predict the Quality of Your Health Care Provider
My career has been mainly within the private practice sector, so I want to focus this article on providers found within clinics. This includes chiropractors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, kinesiologists, personal trainers, and the like. These questions should also prove helpful when applied to other fields of health care, however.
Please be aware that this list is by no means ‘complete’. This is just a simple checklist to ensure that your provider meets some of the minimum requirements of a competent, empathetic health professional. Determining the best person for you is an extremely complex process, so only view this as a stepping stone in the right direction. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
1) What are your first impressions of the clinic?
Don’t overlook the importance of feeling at home in the place you’re receiving care. Is the space clean and comfortable? Does it have adequate equipment to make you feel taken care of? These questions are critical as the environment places a huge role in determining the success of your health outcomes. I’ll live and die by the idea that every clinic must have exercise equipment to foster active rehabilitation. If your space doesn’t have a gym, look elsewhere. It’s that simple.
2) Is your provider answering your questions honestly?
Within the first few minutes of your initial intake, you can have a solid grasp of the honesty and integrity of your provider. If they’re choosing to gloss over your questions vaguely, it may be an indication that they don’t know the answers but are too afraid to admit that. This is a huge red flag, as honesty and transparency need to be at the forefront of your care. Secondly, if they are telling you what you need instead of picking up on your cues, you may be in for a rocky ride.
3) Are they making adjustments and listening to your input?
As your sessions roll on, ask yourself, “Is my provider making adjustments when things aren’t going well?”. A quality professional will own up to mistakes and change the direction of programming if met with road bumps. If you’re unsure whether you’re on the right track, please tell this to your professional. If they take your input and adjust accordingly, great. If they become stubborn and continue with the care that they originally selected, you may have a provider that’s too scared to admit when they’re wrong.
4) Are they measuring results and progress?
Every good health professional measures progress over time. This can be through note-taking, documenting workouts, etc… Not only does this show that your provider is organized, but it proves that they’re keeping track of the right info to build the most efficient and relevant program for you. I’ve run into several health professionals who struggle with this and let me tell you, it’s almost always a poor experience.
5) Are they making an investment?
The best tool for us health providers is empathy. You can be the most competent individual in the room, but if you fail to meet your clients eye-to-eye, you won’t succeed to the level that you could. Above everything, please ask yourself whether you feel seen, heard, and cared for. When you’re at the clinic, do you feel like another 30-minute appointment or a human being? The most successful providers are the ones that prioritize relationships over everything else. If you want the best experience possible, work tirelessly until you find the right click with the person seated across from you.
Just because your health provider is qualified doesn’t mean you’ll receive an optimal experience. If you want to save time and stress, do the initial work of finding the right fit for you. A great starting point in this journey is utilizing the 5 questions above. The most important point is that you should never be afraid to switch to a new professional! The difference between chronic pain and a full recovery may very well lie in the provider you choose. To maximize your results, take this decision very seriously and get the help you deserve!