Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer Talks About Her Practice Experience

Interviewer: I’m here with Tracy who’s a registered dietitian, personal trainer currently working as a wellness coach in the Boston area.  Tracy, welcome.   Tracy : Thank you, thank you for having me.

Interviewer: Tracy, I wonder if you could explain a little bit about your practice?

Tracy : Sure.  I currently work as a wellness coach and what I’m doing is, I think a little more comprehensive than what I did when I was working as dietician.  When I was a dietician, I focused mostly on nutrition and exercise but I feel in the wellness coach division I get to get into a whole lot more than that.  We talk about sleep, we talk about stress, we talk about eating out, all the things that could potentially interfere with somebody reaching their goals, whatever goals they define for themselves in terms of wellness.

Interviewer: OK.  What are some of the techniques you use to get new clients?

Tracy : In this role, it’s primarily marketing in a way that is interpersonal.  I have met with many of the nurses that I work with.  I have spoken with the physicians on the phone.  One of the things that I do is I communicate when a patient is working with me how they’re doing.  I send them like a progress report.  I check in with them and let them know, “Hey, I’m working with this patient.  This is what we’re focused on.”  That seems to work really well.  In past positions, I’ve utilized social media; I’ve done articles, blogs, presentations, newsletters, specials, promotions, things that would sort of intrigue people to want to come in.  Word of mouth is also a big thing, too.  People are successful, they tend to tell other people and it shows too, especially if they’re coming for weight loss.  If they’ve lost weight and other people see it, they go, “Hey, you look great.  Who are you seeing?”  Usually, I’ll get referrals that way, too.

Interviewer: That ties into the next question.  How do you market your business?

Tracy : What I’m doing right now in the role that I’m in, because we’re not necessarily really using a lot of social media, it’s primarily trying to determine which patients are most appropriate for our service and then targeting that physician group so that they can share the information with the patient because a lot of times the physician might be the person whose making the referral to the patient.  A lot of times the patients have a very good relationship with the physician so if the physician feels that they would benefit they often want to follow through on what the physician wants them to do.  I will then reach out to the patient after the physician has reached out to the patient and they’re usually interested in coming on board.

In my past role, it was more I kind of call it cold call versus warm call.  I feel that in my current role it’s more of a warm call because the physician has kind of already told the patient about the program.  In my role in the past it was more cold call.  It would be maybe reaching out to people I don’t know via a presentation, via a newsletter, via Facebook or LinkedIn, somehow introducing them to the service that’s available and then allowing them to maybe come in for a free session so they can get a feel for what it’s all about.  They can maybe establish a relationship with me, build some trust and then they decide they want to become a client.

Interviewer: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of things on the go.  The next question is how do you efficiently manage your time?

Tracy : I find I get bogged down in some of the charting of the notes.  That is my biggest frustration because it’s very time consuming to make sure that legally I’m putting everything in there that needs to be in there.  I’m making sure that it’s dated, that it has the time and sometimes the systems are just slow.  I try to manage my time in terms of I look at my schedule a week in advance trying to figure out what’s upcoming and plan my time accordingly.  Some days are heavier than others and I do have to admit that on the heavier days, I am more focused on the days that are heavier because I know I have to get things done.  Whereas the days I don’t have as much going on, I do find myself jerking a little bit and maybe doing something I shouldn’t be doing and then I have to kind of bring myself back on task.  I’m pretty organized.  I’m a pretty task oriented person so usually once I get into the day, I’m pretty on track.  Sometimes I do find myself working a little later into the evening than I’d really like to.

Interviewer: Got it.  What’s the one thing you could change about your practice if you could?

Tracy : In my current role, it would definitely be the systems.  The systems are slow and I call it clunky, they’re kind of not as efficient as I would like them to be.  There’s definitely some redundancy.  I know the company that I’m working for has no control over that or any say to that but I know they are actively looking at bringing on a new vendor.  In the past, my past roles where I would deal with insurances, that would take up the majority of time so following through to make sure that when we billed, the bill came back and got paid properly.  Trying to drill down and figure out if we didn’t get paid what we were expecting, why the discrepancy?

Sometimes it was coded wrong and sometimes maybe the patient had a co-pay when we were told they didn’t.  Then we have to bill the patient.  The billing piece was what took up most of the time when I was in more of a private practice setting.  That would be one thing that I feel would be, if that could be streamlined to be, if there was some way that the schedule could talk to the billing so that if you have a patient scheduled, you check them in, say yes, they arrived.  If it could automatically generate a bill from that instead of having to manually upload, even if it’s electronic, it’s still another step.  To me that was probably the most time consuming thing.

Interviewer: Well, a lot of fantastic information, Tracy.  Thank you for the conversation and I’m sure everyone really appreciates it.

Tracy : Thank you.


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