What People Like About Community Acupuncture (and what they wish could be different…)

Maybe this information comes as no surprise to all of us who already practice, but I thought it would be nice to share it anyways.  Although these responses reflect the feedback of my own patients at my own clinic, I do think some of the comments do pertain well to community acupuncture in general, and may be helpful to others just in regards to having more ideas on how to do things in their clinics.  I value all aspects of feedback I’ve received – compliments, comments and criticisms.  In fact, I think some of the most critical answers I’ve received have been most helpful as far as telling me where I may need to fix things up.  Also, for those of you who have further thoughts or suggestions regarding some of the comments I’ve received, I’d be happy to have them!

These are responses that I have received over the course of the past week in regards to a survey I sent out to my patients last Monday.  Having hit the 9 month mark since opening and looking for ways to improve my clinic more, I decided to ask my patients directly for their feedback.  I assured them all that responses would be entirely anonymous and urged them to tell me what they felt about their experiences in being treated at my clinic.  So far I’ve had 43 responses.  It’s a mix of people who have been in my clinic for treatment anywhere from one to over twenty times.

The survey had several multiple-choice response questions followed by 3 open-ended questions.  I’ll start by sharing the responses to the open-ended questions, and then follow with a little summary on one of the multiple choice answers.

1.  Here are some responses to the question “What do you like BEST about Acupuncture Together?” 

  • Being able to share the space with others actually helps me relax
    because I feel far less self-conscious and actually enjoy the silent
    company.
  • Affordability. Acupuncture is very valuable to me but there is no way I
    could have regular sessions without this option. The online scheduling
    system is also very easy to use. 
  • It’s great to be able to have affordable access to both acupuncture and Chinese herbs during the same treatment!  Your eye for design is great… and makes the clinic a relaxing place to me.
  • I have really grown to like the group environment and would not go back to private rooms even if the cost was the same. 
  • The feeling of relaxation and well being during the procedure. Pain relief which is the reason I began treatment.
  • Great price. Great service. Great results. Thank you! 
  • Comfortable environment, affordable, accessible. Attentive staff. 
  • Justine has helped me w/ many issues and this is my healthiest winter in yrs. 
  • Justine puts you right at ease when you step through the door. She
    really cares about you and what you want to accomplish with
    acupuncture. I also found relief for the issue I went there intially
    for; plus I feel great!
  • Overall a great place for acupuncture treatment.  Easy to talk w/ acupuncturist, easy to park, easy to make appointments.
  • The community approach combined with the professional and caring approach.
  • Cost, communication
    and location.
  • Relaxed atmosphere & sliding fee scale.

2.  Responses to 
“Please mention anything you DISLIKE about Acupuncture Together.”

  •  I liked my treatment but I was not overly impressed with the results which might have been because I was unsure what to expect.
  • Distracted at times by others in community room.
  • I appreciate community acupuncture for what it is and understand the
    model, but I do miss being able to get into treatment points other than
    on arms and legs.  Also the opportunity for feedback and discussion is
    very limited in the group session.

3.  Please discuss any further comments, ideas or suggestions on how Acupuncture Together may be improved.

  • Maybe, for first timers, a brief overview of what to expect following the procedure could be explained in more detail.  (working on an “after your first treatment” document to hand out to new patients)
  • Another speaker or fountain near windows to block sounds of traffic
    (you cant hear it if you are on the far side of the room but I thought
    it would be nice to be able to look out the window – the noise of
    traffic made it hard to relax though).
  • Really like the idea of call buttons for concerns or questions during treatment (just put in wireless doorbells this week!)
  • More available hours would be helpful.
  • Only minor concern is reclining on the same sheets others have used – maybe I’m too picky.
  • I suggest scheduling a “check-in” appointment with Justine, maybe every
    four or five visits or as needed. It would be nice to have the
    opportunity to meet in private and discuss how the treatments are going
    and delve deeper into particular health issues. (any thoughts on this?)
  • Mix up the music a little more.  (still waiting for more from the music exchange…)
   
     
     

How have your acupuncture treatments helped you? 

results pie chart

16.5% The main condition I sought treatment for improved (24)

15.1% More relaxed (22)

15.1% Greater sense of well-being (22)

10.3% More energy (15)

9.6% Less pain (14)

8.9% Improved sleep (13)

7.5% Other symptoms improved (11)

6.8% More in touch with my body (10)

5.5% Motivated to initiate positive life changes (8)

4.1%


Other

Justine_Myers
Author: Justine_Myers

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

  1. Thank you Justine for this

    Thank you Justine for this great post. I think it’s really important to learn from patients what they think and how to improve what we’re doing.

    I especially find the issue of communication after a certain amount of treatments very important. Some kind of special follow up session seems like a very good idea to me. We should try to think of a creative way to do this within the CA model. Maybe a phone call after hours or something like that?

    Thanks again,

    Roy

  2. Hi Justine,
    Thank you for

    Hi Justine,

    Thank you for your post.

    What are your thoughts on why only 16.5% of your 43 responders reported that the main condition that they sought treatment for improved?

    Ryann

  3. Responses – Numbers vs. Percentages-

    I know it’s a bit tricky – what happened is the form I used (I used an email type that automatically does the numbers out) breaks up the categories – so in this case, 24 of the 43 responders said their main complaint improved.  Then it took this number and compared it to the other answers and made them into percentages to say which changes were most likely to occur.

    Also, in terms of why “only” 24 improved, I can give a couple of reasons.  One is that not everyone improves.  Second is that some responders only came for one treatment, and therefore with just one treatment did not achieve any lasting improvement and perhaps didn’t notice any improvement at all depending on what they came for.  I would say *without question* that MOST of my patients improve; that the acupuncture really works and makes a difference.  But I have had folks whose cases are extremely stubborn, or who don’t make necessary life changes to go along with it (i.e. rest/don’t overuse a muscle/etc.) or who don’t get acupuncture frequently enough or long enough to get results (despite my asking them to come at a frequency which I think will be helpful; some people don’t listen, they just decide they want to come once every 2 weeks – and then, no surprise, not much change).

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together

  4. The rest of the questions/answers…

    2.
    Please rate your experience while being treated at Acupuncture Together.

     

    Excellent/Always/Most of the time
    Acceptable/Sometimes
    Poor/Never/Infrequent
    Justine listened and was understanding

    95.3 %

    2.3 %

    2.3 %

    I had enough time to discuss my health concerns

    79.0 %

    16.2 %

    4.6 %

    I was seen in a timely manner

    95.3 %

    4.6 %

    0.0 %

    The treatment was comfortable

    83.7 %

    13.9 %

    2.3 %

    I felt that I had a good quality treatment

    88.3 %

    9.3 %

    2.3 %

    I was attended to for needle adjustment/removal in a timely manner

    81.3 %

    16.2 %

    2.3 %

    I felt that the procedure was clean and safe

    97.6 %

    2.3 %

    0.0 %

    I felt comfortable choosing how much to pay

    93.0 %

    4.6 %

    2.3 %

    I was promptly assisted with rescheduling and payment

    88.0 %

    7.1 %

    4.7 %

    3.
    Please rate the following aspects of Acupuncture Together

     

    Excellent
    Acceptable
    Poor
    Recliner Comfort

    74.4 %

    25.5 %

    0.0 %

    Temperature of the room

    74.4 %

    23.2 %

    2.3 %

    Music

    64.2 %

    30.9 %

    4.7 %

    Decor/Ambience

    86.0 %

    11.6 %

    2.3 %

    Privacy of Discussion with Practitioner in Treatment Room

    65.1 %

    32.5 %

    2.3 %

    Cleanliness

    97.6 %

    2.3 %

    0.0 %

    Treatment time selection/ availability of hours

    76.7 %

    23.2 %

    0.0 %

    Pricing/Affordability

    95.3 %

    4.6 %

    0.0 %

    4.
    Please rate your experience with customer service and availability Acupuncture Together

     

    Excellent/Easy
    Acceptable
    Poor/Difficult
    Didn’t Use
    Online appointment scheduling

    90.4 %

    0.0 %

    0.0 %

    9.5 %

    Email support

    72.0 %

    2.3 %

    0.0 %

    25.5 %

    Phone support

    39.5 %

    13.9 %

    0.0 %

    46.5 %

    Website information

    88.0 %

    7.1 %

    0.0 %

    4.7 %

    5.
    Please rank your preference of the following times that we may consider
    adding to the Acupuncture Together schedule in the future.

     

    ***(My current schedule:  M/W 1-6 PM, Tues/Thurs 9:30-11:30 AM AND 4:30-6:30 Tues., 4:30-7:30 PM Thurs., Saturday 9:30-12:30)***

     

     

    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    Monday morning

    28.1 %

    6.2 %

    3.1 %

    0.0 %

    3.1 %

    3.1 %

    3.1 %

    6.2 %

    46.8 %

    Tuesday mid-day

    18.7 %

    12.5 %

    9.3 %

    0.0 %

    6.2 %

    15.6 %

    6.2 %

    21.8 %

    9.3 %

    Wednesday morning

    18.7 %

    0.0 %

    15.6 %

    0.0 %

    6.2 %

    3.1 %

    21.8 %

    9.3 %

    25.0 %

    Thursday mid-day

    27.2 %

    3.0 %

    6.0 %

    6.0 %

    6.0 %

    21.2 %

    12.1 %

    9.0 %

    9.0 %

    Friday morning/mid-day

    14.7 %

    11.7 %

    2.9 %

    14.7 %

    32.3 %

    5.8 %

    2.9 %

    2.9 %

    11.7 %

    Fridays mid-day/afternoon

    30.3 %

    6.0 %

    3.0 %

    24.2 %

    6.0 %

    9.0 %

    12.1 %

    3.0 %

    6.0 %

    Saturday afternoon

    41.0 %

    10.2 %

    15.3 %

    2.5 %

    2.5 %

    5.1 %

    7.6 %

    0.0 %

    15.3 %

    Sunday morning/mid-day

    9.0 %

    21.2 %

    15.1 %

    12.1 %

    3.0 %

    3.0 %

    6.0 %

    15.1 %

    15.1 %

    Sunday mid-day/afternoon

    17.6 %

    26.4 %

    11.7 %

    5.8 %

    5.8 %

    0.0 %

    2.9 %

    5.8 %

    23.5 %

    6.
    Please rate your experience in recommending Acupuncture Together to others

     

    Yes
    No
    I have recommended Acupuncture Together to friends and family

    92.6 %

    7.3 %

    I would recommend Acupuncture Together to friends and family

    95.0 %

    5.0 %

    7.
    About how many acupuncture treatments have you had at Acupuncture Together?

    39.0%

    2-5 (16)

    19.5%

    6-10 (8)

    14.6%

    1 (6)

    14.6%

    More than 20 (6)

    12.1%

    11-20 (5)

     

     

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together

  5. thanks justine,
    i also have

    thanks justine,

    i also have received feedback from some patients who really would like to check in with acupuncturist about how the treatments are going.

    some people creatively figure it out and come in for the first or the last appointments of the day when they need this. i would like to see the option of scheduling a new patient appointment for people who need that few moments to check in. that is the easiet way i could see it happening here. that person could pay the new patient charge also (for the extra time slot), if it were going to become part of the practice.

    love the feedback you got, love the doorbell idea. again, i field a lot of this sort of thing from the front desk. people share with me and i put sticky notes on their file to give to the acupuncturist- then it is a simplified exchange in the treatment room. also some folks have told me they didn’t know if it was allowed- to speak with acupuncturist after the needles were in, or they don’t want to disturb the acu…so as the front desk person i am so happy to hear this sort of stuff so i can assist them in finding a way to get their needs met. 

    deer

    office staff

    community acupuncture on cape cod

  6. re- follow up

    Thanks for both posts, lots of good info and ideas. Interesting to see how respondents rank weekend hours. I wonder if anyone/many currently build a check-in into treatment planning. For instance, asking patients to come for a specified course of treatment (such as 6 treatments over 3 weeks, 10 or 12 treatments in a month, etc) and then reevaluating, maybe having the patient fill out a modified intake form where they evaluate their progress and goals. Maybe instead of booking two slots, the patient could be asked to come early to complete their part of the evaluation. This might be different than what the original respondents had in mind, just thinking through some options.

  7. I ordered 2 Honeywell

    I ordered 2 Honeywell RCWL200A1007/N P1-Portable Wireless Door Chimes and Push Buttons.  Each unit runs on 3 C batteries and can take up to 4 clickers (push buttons).  Each comes with one clicker and you can order more of them to go along with it.  There is a volume control adjuster and you can pick one of 4 chimes.  So far I like the system – I’m keeping the doorbells in my office and the patients have the clickers in the treatment room so they can ring for me if they need me.  They won’t hear it in the treatment room b/c it’s set on low but it’s loud enough for me to hear while I’m in my own office or my reception area.  I believe the clickers work within 150 feet of the doorbell units.

  8. Your survey looks great! 

    Your survey looks great!  You mentioned that you did it online.  Did you use a service or set it up yourself?

     

    I’d like to do a survey as well and would appreciate any guidance you could give in getting one set up.

    Thanks!

    Lisa B

    Meeting Point Community Acu. 

  9. I used VerticalResponse.com

    I used VerticalResponse.com but you can also use SurveyMonkey.com –

    You can email it out to all your patients and/or you can let them know the link to it so that they can do it.

    Justine Deutsch, Lic. Ac., Acupuncture Together