Building trust is a key component of building value. As a provider, one way to build trust is to show patients how symptoms are related to structural health. A 3D posture screening tool is one of the best ways to assess structural health. It supports accurate patient assessments, promotes better patient education, and documents objective results.
Supporting Accurate Assessments
The first and most important step in patient management is to perform a proper patient assessment. This process is essential to creating a successful treatment regimen. One common exam chiropractors use to form a complete and accurate assessment is to look at the patient’s structural health. Although there are many ways to do this, a 3D posture screening tool provides a complete picture of a patient’s structural alignment. Measuring posture instead of “eye-balling it” reduces risk factors associated with inaccurate results.
For some patients, improper posture exams may lead to chronic conditions like upper cross syndrome, lower cross syndrome, osteoarthritis, or spinal radiculopathies. For others, it might lead to relapses, like reoccurring sprains, strains, or other musculoskeletal issues like sciatica. A proper posture assessment can also keep patients from enduring painful and potentially unnecessary surgery. One survey conducted by the RAND Corporation found that “significant proportions of procedures are performed for inappropriate reasons”—with some surgical procedures being unnecessary up to 32% of the time. While this survey focused on several surgeries that were non-musculoskeletal, other pieces of research make the connection between the two. For instance, a 2017 article published in the journal Patient Safety in Surgery reported that the number of spinal infusion surgeries continues to increase, despite the lack of evidence that they improve patient outcomes long-term when compared to less invasive treatment remedies.
Promoting Better Patient Education
In addition to being more accurate, 3D posture screening also promote patient education. Getting a patient’s “buy-in” is impossible if they don’t understand the connection between treatment and improved health or decreased pain. It is up to the practitioner to connect the dots for them and a posture-measuring ability assists in this process. The patient needs to understand how structural issues cause functional issues (such as weak or tightened muscles or decreased mobility) and how functional issues cause symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling, or stiffness). Without knowing how their posture is connected to their pain, they are less likely to care about their structural health. When they do make this connection, however, it becomes easier for them to begin and adhere to treatment programs.
Documenting Objective Results
A major issue that frustrates patients and causes them to lose faith in a practitioner’s abilities is when one practitioner’s result differs from another. Which practitioner should they believe? The answer is the one that offers a more objective assessment through visual, measurable, and accurate results. Visually displaying results using a posture-measuring device is one of the best ways to demonstrate objectivity. The patient must be able to easily see their posture and then compare it to normal posture. In other words, posture screening that measures structural alignment adds diagnostic validity by offering visually comparative assessments. If the patient cannot trust what they see with their own two eyes, they are less likely to believe that there is an issue at all, especially if they have lived with the condition for a long time.
But seeing may not necessarily mean believing. It’s not enough to simply show a forward head carriage or that one shoulder is higher than the other. Patients want to know how much their head falls forward or how high their shoulder is. Then they want to see how these measurements compare to normal values. The process of measuring posture, therefore, serves two purposes. One, it provides a more precise understanding of the patient’s current postural structure. Two, it helps the practitioner identify treatment effects by comparing the initial measurement with measurements taken at pre-defined points in the treatment protocol. Finally, it goes without saying, an assessment must be accurate. In the case of postural alignment, taking measurements that utilize the provider’s skills to locate a patient’s palpation points provides the most accurate assessment. The WunderTrack 3D posture assessment tool uses lasers to mark these bony landmarks instead of other tools that draw lines on patient photos. What’s even better is allowing a computer software program to generate posture measurements without relying on a provider’s input. Patients, in this case, will believe their provider’s results are accurate, true, and without bias.