Your recommendation matters
Whether you call it compliance, adherence or concordance, it’s clear that your recommendations won’t work if clients don’t follow them. We have five ways to improve the situation:
- For a client to follow a recommendation you actually have to make one. If you suggest, encourage, or ask them to consider, you have already underestimated the power of your professional opinion. Using the words ‘I recommend’ makes a big difference.
- Provide evidence to reinforce your recommendation. We produce support literature for all our products so that clients can go home and reflect on the benefits and understand those in the context of your recommendation. Remember that clients don’t always take in or recall all that you say, so having something to refer to can be really important. In some medical scenarios, especially when dealing with complex or emotional issues, some consultants allow the client to record their conversation on their smartphone so they can review what was said when they are feeling calmer. Is that something you would feel comfortable doing and would it improve the client experience?
- Individualise your recommendation. That could mean changing dose regimes to fit with the client’s lifestyle, or giving a more palatable treatment such as an easy to give liquid that can be added to food rather than a capsule. If the recommendation is made with a view to reducing the barriers to compliance this makes everyone’s job easier.
- Provide ongoing education to help reinforce your recommendation over time. Some clients will want less and some more, so individualise this too. This doesn’t have to add to your workload; many manufacturers offer pet owner websites where clients can sign up for reminders and educational content. Use revisits to recognise the clients’ efforts and provide praise and encouragement if the patient is doing well as a result.
- Maintaining supervision of the case and reviewing whether the recommendation is still relevant is of course good clinical practice. That can be just as relevant when your recommendation has been to give a supplement or special diet. If the client doesn’t have to be seen, a call, email or text every so often is still a good idea and shows the client that you have taken your recommendation seriously enough to follow up on it.