Pediatrics is one of podiatric medicine’s best kept secrets. From afar, observers could easily assume that tpodiatric medicine and surgery involves purely adult and geriatric care. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the treatment of children and children’s foot problems should be a vital part of common podiatric practice. Besides the direct benefit to those children impacted by foot problems, from a practice standpoint, podopediatrics can be a valuable source of sustaining referrals in that once the care of children is entrusted to a podiatric physician, the care of other family members will most likely soon follow.
6 Reasons to Treat Kids in Your Practice:
- Genetics: Kids inherit their foot types
- Kids don’t always outgrow flat feet
- Preventing the long-term effects of aging on a neglected pronated foot
- Opportunity to grow your practice
- Kids are not just mini adults: They are more susceptible to injury
- Increased Emphasis On Sports = Increased Incidents of Injury
Benefits of a PodoPediatric Screening Clinic
Benefit 1: Efficiency and Marketing At The Same Time
A Children’s Clinic opens the door to treat many potential pediatric orthotic candidates in a single day. Allows you ability to efficiently screen entire families.
Benefit 2: Build Referrals Through Education
The Children’s Clinic offers opportunity to educate referring General Practitioners and Pediatricians on the benefits of early intervention. Perform community talks to educate parents, coaches and kids on why feet are important.
Benefit 3: Get Your Staff Involved
The Children’s Clinic gets the whole staff involved, particularly the Podiatry Assistants who can effectively manage 90% of the program.
Benefit 4: Affordable Options
Neglect in managing kid’s foot conditions is often due to prohibitive costs. Not all kids need custom devices. Prefabricated kids foot orthotics and/or bracing often offer affordable, yet effective, treatment solutions.
Implementing a PodoPediatric Screening Clinic
Step 1: Pre-planning
- Meet With Your Entire Staff Ahead Of Time And Plan Well In Advance. Allow At Least 4-6 Weeks For Proper Promotion.
- Include Late Appointment Hours After 5pm For Working Parents, Or Consider A Saturday.
- Be Sure Ample Staffing Is Available To Call On If Needed.
- Have Enough Prefabs In Various Sizes In Stock To Dispense During The Clinic (orthotics, braces and splints).
- Set Up A Registration Process For Call In Appointments Or Register On-line.
- Try And Make Appointments, But Accept Walk-ins
Step 2: Advertising & Notification
- Notify the public of the event. TELL EVERYONE! Don’t assume just because you are running a clinic, parents will find out on their own and show up!
- Emphasize “FREE” foot exam for kids. Keep notifications brief.
- News paper or radio ads can be very effective and affordable.
- Don’t forget to post the clinic on your website! Set up a registration page.
Step 3: Get Ancillary Care Providers Involved
- General Practitioners
- Physical Therapists
- Early Intervention Therapists
- Pediatric Shoe Stores
Step 4: Educate Staff on their Roles
- Creating a Kid Friendly Environment
- Preparing Announcements & Notifications
- Booking Appointments
- Talking up the Clinic to Existing Patients
- Handout Flyers at Checkout
- Managing Prefab Inventory
- Processing Custom Orders
- Posting Flyers Around Town
- Assisting in Website Updates
- Teach Them to Foot Type (PA Webinar)
- Keep Adequate Supply of Patient Literature On Hand
- Fax Blast Referring Providers
- Send Out Post Card Announcements to Patients and Their Families
- Keep Kids Occupied While You Are Discussing RX Options With Parents
Step 5: On Clinic Day
- Introduce yourself to both the parents and the child.
- Ask what concerns the child and the parents have, and what brought them to the clinic
- Ask if the child has had any previous treatment
- Inquire about family history for foot related conditions or symptoms and LLD’s
- Briefly explain the purpose of the foot screening (Is the child’s foot structure and gait within normal parameters for their age)
- Look at them standing barefoot, check heel valgus alignment and arch height
- Allow the child to move around, engage in normal activities and play and notice their balance, ability to maneuver / coordination, etc
- Watch and analyze gait
- Determine their functional foot type if child is a teen
Step 6: Decide on Treatment Options
- Bracing for Structural Deformities
- Custom Foot Orthotics For More Pathological or Extreme Cases
- Prefabricated Foot Orthotics to Promote Proper Posture, Injury Prevention, or Less severe Symptomatic Cases
- Gait Plates
- Night Splints
Outside Referrals for Treatment
- Strengthening – Core and Limbs
- Balance Training
- Coordination & Agility
- Proper Shoe Wear
Step 7: Follow Up
- Be sure to contact each parent attendee within a week following clinic, by phone or email.
- Get opinions to help improve the next clinic…. would they attend again, what day/time of day would have been better, etc.?
- Start building parent database for the future. You may want to schedule a Children’s Clinic on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and if you save contact information on an ongoing basis, your email and mailing database will become an effective promotional tool.
- Remember, children who start using orthotics early will return for next sizes several times, and will eventually become part of your adult patient base.
So if you have not been treating kids….WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
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