Educate Your Patients About The Benefits of Foot Stabilization
National Foot Health Awareness Month is a great opportunity to address foot function as a key element in proactive wellness. It’s estimated that about 20% of Americans experience foot issues like bunions and plantar fasciitis each year. The common cause of many of these conditions is an unstable foundation created by dysfunctional feet.
Foot issues can contribute to lower back and spinal issues because the feet are the foundation of the body and spine and can affect overall alignment. When we walk or stand, the weight of our body is transferred through the feet and up the legs to the spine. Imbalance or misalignment in the feet can cause compensation in other parts of the body, including the lower, mid and upper back. Patients don’t often realize the root cause of their back pain could be their feet. It’s up to us to educate them, beginning by adding foot assessment to every patient’s care plan.
Scanning as Part of Your Patient Evaluation and Management
When the foot hits the ground, everything changes. This tenet is the basis for why it’s important to include evaluation of the feet in the patient encounter for every episode of care for a new or established patient. I urge all my clients and seminar audiences to include a digital foot scan as part of the orthopedic and neurological examination on that first visit.
The Foot Levelers Kiosk is a state-of-the-art digital scanning system that provides a detailed analysis of the patient’s foot function and its impact on their overall body alignment. Your team members can assist as part of the vital sign collection and include the data right in the patient’s record. Whether or not the patient has come to your practice for a foot-related issue, data gathered with the scan provides a detailed analysis of the foot’s structure, including the arches, pressure points, and other key features. This information, along with other findings, supports the provider’s diagnosis and treatment plan. The Kiosk can also help healthcare providers develop a customized treatment plan for the patient. That may include custom orthotics to support all three arches of the foot or other corrective devices to help improve foot alignment and alleviate pain.
Seeing is Believing
The Kiosk can also help patients visualize the changes that may occur with treatment. It generates a Report of Findings with before-and-after images to help patients understand the difference that custom stabilization could make and motivate them to continue with their treatment plan. While not a specific diagnostic tool, the data provided visually in the report accompanied by an explanation given by the provider allows patients to better understand why their feet could be causing their back pain. When custom orthotics are prescribed, it’s a natural consequence of the findings reported by the doctor.
Education is Critical in Orthotics Prescription
I learned early on about the importance of always supporting all three arches when ambulating. I know that I dread when I have to wear a shoe that doesn’t have my Foot Levelers custom orthotics inside. I can feel it all over my body. When prescribing functional foot orthotics, patient education is important for several reasons:
• Understanding the purpose of the orthotic: Help patients understand why they are being prescribed an orthotic and what its purpose is. When patients understand the benefits of using orthotics, they are more likely to comply with the treatment plan and use the orthotic as prescribed. This is another great reason to share the images taken when the feet are scanned.
• Proper use of the orthotic: Patients need to be taught how to correctly use and care for their orthotics. This includes learning how to insert and remove the orthotic, how to clean and maintain it and how to wear it for maximum benefit. Proper use of the orthotic can help prevent discomfort or injury.
• Managing expectations: Patients need to understand that orthotics are not a cure-all and that it may take time to see improvements in their symptoms. By managing their expectations and encouraging patients to continue with ongoing adjustments and chiropractic care, patients are less likely to become discouraged or discontinue using the orthotic prematurely.
• Adapting to orthotics: Breaking in custom orthotics can be a new and potentially uncomfortable experience for patients. Patient education can help patients understand what to expect during the adaptation process and how to address any discomfort or issues that may arise.
Additional Ideas for More Effective Foot Health Awareness
• Consider having a “shoe inspection day” or “foot health day” where you can emphasize the importance of supportive, quality footwear. Allow patients to bring in their shoes to be evaluated for signs of wear and improper fit, with attention to ensuring adequate support and cushioning. Encourage your patients to invest in high-quality footwear and to avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose. You can use this as a “scanning day” for those who haven’t been scanned yet.
• Teach your patients how to inspect their feet. Regular foot inspections can help catch potential problems early. Teach your patients to look for signs of redness, swelling, blisters, or other changes in the skin or nails.
• Discuss the importance of proper foot hygiene. Encourage your patients to keep their feet clean and dry, especially between the toes where moisture can build up and lead to infection.
• Use Foot Health Awareness Month as an opportunity to address common foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and bunions. Have a “condition of the week” and educate with white board messages and articles for patients. Educate your patients about the causes of these conditions and offer tips for prevention and treatment through chiropractic care and foot stabilization.By taking the time to educate your patients about foot function and the foot-spine connection during Foot Health Awareness Month, you can help prevent foot issues and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Medical Decision Making (MDM) When Coding Evaluation and Management (E/M) Services
Medical Decision Making (MDM) is an essential component of Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding, which is used to determine the appropriate level of service provided to a patient. MDM refers to the process of evaluating and analyzing patient data to determine the most effective treatment plan. The level of MDM required for a particular E/M service is determined by the complexity of the patient’s condition and the level of decision making required to manage that condition. The use of data in MDM, such as data obtained through this additional scanning, can greatly increase its value by providing objective information that can help clinicians make more informed decisions.
Kathy, better known professionally as Kathy Mills Chang, is a globally recognized expert on the compliance and financial operations of a successful chiropractic practice. With 40 years of service to the chiropractic community, she got her start as a CA in 1983. Since then, Kathy has been sharing her expertise on Medicare, compliance, billing, coding, insurance, patient financial procedures and documentation with audiences around the world. A popular and highly experienced speaker, she has served on many national and state level chiropractic organizations, boards and advisory councils. She is also the owner and CEO of KMC University, which she founded in 2007.