by Dr. Vicki Rackner
Not that you literally prescribe aspirin or vitamins. However, you help your patients, clients or sources of referrals achieve one of two outcomes: move away from what they don’t want, or move towards what they do want. An aspirin or a vitamin.
Medical specialties generally fall into the aspirin camp or the vitamin camp. Dentists are like aspirin and orthodontists are like vitamins. Cancer centers are like aspirin and fertility clinics are like vitamins. Cardiac surgeons are like aspirin and cosmetic surgeons are like vitamins. Dermatologists can go either way.
Patients move back and forth between the camps, depending on their circumstances.
A person in the midst of a rip-roaring migraine will do whatever it takes to get some aspirin. They just want the pain to stop. The worse the pain, the higher the motivation.
What happens two days after the headache subsides? You might think that this person would make choices based on the fear of another attack. The evidence shows otherwise. One year after a heart attack, only thirty percent of patients take the medication that will prevent a second. Once the pain is over, it’s done.
The difference between aspirin and vitamins is like the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win. The team playing to win will usually prevail.
What does this mean for you, your clinical outcomes and your business outcomes? The organization that offers both aspirin and vitamins has the competitive advantage.
My dentist is a wonderful example. I trusted him as I sat in his chair with a whopper of a toothache. What does he say every six months to keep me flossing and brushing between cleanings? He does not remind me of the pain of my inflamed tooth; he tells me stories of octogenarians smiling at their grandkids’ wedding with their own teeth.
Fear of pain drives immediate choices; however hopes and dreams drive long-term compliance.
When you want to motivate someone managing chronic conditions, go digging for their dream.
When you want immediate action, go digging for the pain.
Stock both aspirin and vitamins in your career formulary. Then reach for the right prescription at the right time.
What do you think?
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