In today’s world we live in a technology loaded environment. It is almost impossible to stay away from it or even ignore it. As dietitians we are in a perfect place to leverage the advantages that it has to offer. I know some of you reading this post may have hesitations or some reservations about this. Even I did! The reality is that we have to learn to move with the times. Moreover, today people are busier than ever and always looking for ways to maximize their time. So, why not make the best out of this.
As dietitians we can:
- Establish and showcase our expertise. The fact of the matter is that unless the world sees and hear us, we are really not an expert. So, go around bragging about yourself and about all the wonderful ways that you can help people reach their health goals.
- Clear the myths that lot of people and even health practitioners have around what dietitians do!
- Educate people that we are certainly not the food police.
- Educate people that dietitians do not tell people what not to eat. Infact we work alongside them to come up with sustainable strategies to help them move further and in the positive direction in their health goal spectrum.
- Provide the general public the right evidence- based information. I know that many of us have valid concerns about the information that is being shared over the internet from other non-regulated healthcare providers.
The world of today is leading towards providing healthcare services online. To me this is such an advantage for us dietitians.
- We can reach reaching more people and provide care to anyone, anytime, anywhere, keeping in view our respective college guidelines.
- Create quality connections with our clients via video conferencing.
- Provide value-based care since it is much cheaper than in-person care.
- Share your expertise with your peers by offering webinars and workshops.
So why not embrace it! What do you think?
Some ideas on how you can provide value- based care:
- As an add on to your in-person appointment: I have provided quick 15-minute phone & video follow ups to my clients as an “add on” for my in-clinic appointments. It really helps them move along and I have seen that the success rate is much higher. Clients have told me that feel very supported when I connect with them this way. Also remember, the best form of marketing is word of mouth. Several of my clients who call in first to understand my counseling style have signed up for my services me via this strategy.
- Leverage on any expertise/special interest you may have: For example, if you have special interest and are an expert on gluten intolerance, then you can offer your services via phone, video or a combination of both. People who are having challenges in managing their gluten intolerance can really benefit from your expertise. This is a trend that is catching up big time. So, make the most of it!
- Set up electronic documents on your website or appointment schedulers: I have set up my waiver forms within the appointment scheduler that I use: acuity scheduling. When patients sign up for an initial appointment they have to agree and only then can they schedule the appointment. It saves the hassle of the back & forth email. This system works really well especially when you are providing your consulting services online. And it saves paper. And I love that. Organizing becomes so easy. You can even set up your food record so clients can fill it out before they book the appointment. It is a huge time saver.
- Blogging: This is the best way that I have found to show off my personality, opinions & outlook about the several aspects of health & nutrition. We dietitians often complain that there are so many self-proclaimed nutrition experts out there who are providing the wrong nutrition advice. So, don’t you think it is time we got our act together and really establish our presence and expertise?
- Fully internet based: this type of set up may not for everyone. It would be suitable for someone who is generally in good health and looking for a little extra. However, this strategy can be financially viable and has the ability to be fully automated. For example, you set up an email course on Self Care and it is loaded with value. The people who sign up for this course would be those who generally do take care of themselves and are looking for some more insight and ideas on how they can do better at taking care of themselves.
Some other benefits of being online
- Flexibility: you can set your own schedule and work as much and as little. As a bonus if you automate your services you can even earn money while sleeping. Now, who would not like that???
- Cost efficient: You do not have to worry about paying the 20 or 30% of your income to the clinic where you practice. All the $$$$ are for your pocket only.
- Efficient use of your time: With automating certain components of your business being automated you can use your time way more effectively and focus on the more important things that you need to do to expand your consulting. For example, I use meetedgar to automate my social media scheduling, and that leaves me a lot of time to focus on content & resource development for my clients. It is the fill it and forget it kind of system. I never have to worry that my content well is running on empty!
- Increase in income: When you are providing services online it is much easier to scale your business, provide a variety of products & services thereby increasing your income. There are minimal overhead costs.
- “No show” time used more efficiently: I remember when I had no shows in my clinic, it was frustrating. I was losing money. And my time was being wasted. Once I started to provide appointments via phone calls the rate of no show was next to none; that increased my income and I could use my time more efficiently if a client did not show up.
- Increased continuity of care: As RDs we all know that some clients do have challenges getting to their appointments due to schedule conflicts. Well, online counseling is your answer.
- Increased client retention: When you are able to provide adequate support and follow ups for your clients, you retain your clients for a longer period of time.
- Possibility of standing out among competition: As of now, not everyone is offering their services online? So, this is a chance for you to really stand out online. Moreover, this is a new type of service that you are offering your clients. This type of service is also high perceived value. So why not encash on it now?