The Fearful Patient

All new patients share one common characteristic: fear. 

When you think of a new patient that comes in to your office, what words come to mind? Opportunity, relief, change, improvement? As a skilled and experienced doctor it’s natural to think of all the positivity that surrounds a new patient visit, but have you considered that initial visit from the patient’s perspective?

Think about the last time you searched for a new healthcare provider. How did you find information? Did you search online? Seek out recommendations from friends or family? When you think like a consumer you start to see how the dynamic can change.

The concept we want to focus on today is fear. Fear of the unknown is a common human response that occurs whenever something new arises. All new patients will exhibit some level of fear when they present in your office for the first time. This fear can either be cleared up or exacerbated depending on your business’s level of customer service. A cheerful greeting during the initial phone call, a business that is conveniently located and easy to find, or being greeted by name upon arriving in the office are all ways to suppress new patient fear.

A new patient will have several questions, but none bigger than this:

“Can you help me?”

The chiropractic profession has survived and thrived since its existence by helping people that couldn’t get help anywhere else. When a new patient chooses your office, odds are that he or she has been seen by two or three other providers. The patient has probably been told that there is nothing wrong or that there is no solution for their condition. You may be that patient’s last resort.

We need to be hope merchants to the people that have never had hope before. Be careful not to be cavalier in your delivery. We expect our patients to get better, but it’s a whole different experience for each patient. Patients need realistic expectations and clear communication. More importantly they need a doctor with a caring heart and a listening ear.

Focus on meeting your new patients wherever they are. Find out what their problem really is and identify where that fear base may be coming from.


Dr. SeaDr. Douglas Sea, CTO, SIDECAR