Integrative practices like yours are often faced with the following repeated scenario: A new patient comes in to see you, gets a thorough review of medical history, diagnosis and a treatment plan which includes dietary supplements. Determined to feel better, the patient fills their supplement prescription at your office only to come back 6 months later completely off the supplements with the same health issues. Some try to do a little better but with similar results by going to their local health food store and or purchasing from a large online retailer.
This can be very frustrating to you as a practitioner especially knowing you have put your money, time and heart into developing protocols that work and help people feel better. Sometimes these patients fail to accept responsibility and complain that your protocols (that they are not following!) do not work because they are not feeling better.
Improving patient supplement compliance is key to getting better outcomes and happier patients. Here are 3 simple ways:
You may feel that a strong supplement recommendation would make you look like you are trying to sell as much supplements as possible or seem too pushy. The fact is that many of your protocols will not work nearly as well without the proper compliance. You are doing yourself and your patients a disservice if you don’t stress the importance of strictly following your supplements regiment. Make it clear to the patient they would be wasting their money and time if they are following your recommendations haphazardly. Share your experience of how you remember to take your own supplements with patients to help them get into a routine. Explore options with your front desk and marketing teams to help your branding and remind patients to take their supplements with fridge magnets, pill organizers, Ziploc bags with your logo, etc.
You have chosen the professional brands and products you recommend very carefully. They are known for using better ingredients, therapeutic dosing and a formulation process stressing on efficacy. The quality control is also very strict and thorough.
This is often not the case with many of the products sold in stores. A couple of years ago the New York Attorney General exposed that many supplements in GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens did not contain any or very little than what is claimed on the label. They were also full of many contaminants. These brands were not purposefully deceiving their customers; however, the lack of knowledge, protocols and attention created a dangerous situation for consumers. If large retailers like these were lacking the proper quality control, what does this mean for the small health food store around the corner? They do not have the resources, time or knowledge to properly vet their vendors.
Buying from large online retailers is not any different. There are reports there are many expired or counterfeit products sold online. It is very easy to delete and stamp a new expiration date or copy someone’s label. There is an entire industry selling counterfeit vitamins online! Another report from Boston Magazine shows that one in three supplements could be fake.
Proper storage to preserve potency and freshness is another issue. According to a New York Times report the temperatures in an Amazon warehouse reached 102 F!. What do you think that means for the supplements or probiotics? When was the last time anyone received their probiotic with an ice pack from Amazon?
Please feel free to e-mail us and we will send you a PDF of a handout summarized for you to share with your patients!
Patient supplement compliance is largely based on convenience. If they have to drive back to your office to refill their prescription, it probably will not happen as often as it should. Many professional brands offer patient online ordering. That’s a great option if you are recommending 1-2 brands at most. Anything more than that will have a drastic reduction in compliance. Asking patients to go multiple websites, remember logins they don’t use often and pay multiple shipping charges is not reasonable. Most will not do that for more than a month or two. The key to success is offering your patients a convenient online ordering option where they can find all products you recommend in one place. Getting free shipping is a bonus for patients!
Kaerwell has helped simplify supplement sales for countless practices to increase compliance and improve patient outcomes by making it easy for patients to buy their supplements.