Managing Care: The New Functional Triage with Gestalt Education

Functional Triage with Gestalt Education

If you have been lucky enough to watch the top performers in this profession work up patients, you have witnessed their ability to make quick but important decisions. A clinician’s ability to sort through the noise in a case and determine the key link often determines the timeframe of results. This quick decision-making process is usually the difference between a rookie and a veteran clinician.

We do not want to discount the value of experience. However, we think understanding and implementing a functional triage will help bridge this gap in young clinicians.

Have you ever been fortunate to meet with a talented triage nurse in the emergency department? It is his or her job to determine whether or not the chest pain you are experiencing is due to a heart attack, acid reflux, stress, or maybe even tightness in your pectoralis major.

A talented nurse won’t deliver nitroglycerin + pepsin + anxiety meds + a muscle relaxer just because they have it all at their disposal. Instead, they will perform the necessary diagnostic tests to eliminate differential diagnoses and get them in the right ballpark. This thought process is no different than what master clinicians do with low back pain.

They perform a thorough assessment and determine what is driving the dysfunction and deliver the one treatment that will make the most significant difference to the patient. Helping clinicians learn this skill is precisely why Gestalt Education was created!

The Problem

For those that do not have the fortune to shadow and work with clinicians that have this figured out, practice can be daunting and honestly scary!

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We have all been there, you get home from “XYZ” seminar and feel so pumped about the information you just learned from a teacher that made it look wayyyyy too easy up on stage and you have no clue where or how it fits into the 15-minute time slot of your next patient. This leaves us with two choices, throw “XYZ” treatment into this 15 minutes and see what happens, or say screw it and keep doing what you have always done.

The first option usually leads to an extra 15, 20, sometimes 30 minutes spent with this patient without much progress made.

The second option leads to frustration (Why the F%# did I spend $*Insert large sum of money here* on this junk!?), burnout, and sometimes resentment. More than likely that technique wasn’t bad—you simply didn’t have the direction or the encouragement to figure out where it fits!

The Solution

Let me preface this by saying this isn’t an easy solution. Continually striving for integration is the key.

Integration of multiple schools of thoughts, techniques, and ideas into an excellent 15-minute appointment that is PATIENT centered isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes practice; more importantly, it takes guidance.

It is our goal at Gestalt Education to be your portal and resource of this integration. We know we don’t have it all figured out, but we are committed to getting to that point. Gestalt Education will continue bringing the best in the world to Troy, MO, for in-person seminars.

Still, we are even more committed to providing these experts a platform to share their expertise, followed immediately by how we think it fits into our model and how to utilize the information correctly. We hope to make this all mean something and provide an opportunity for all of us to grow together. We are far more powerful together than in isolation.

"We are in our first month of The Smart Chiropractor and so far we have had our greatest amount of new patients in a month."


Dr. Alex Eckert, DC

Performance Health & Integrated Spine Care

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Still, we need a community focused on the education and integration aspect to become powerful enough to make ripples in our practices and across the manual therapy world. See it in action here with an acute ankle sprain!


The first step in implementing this idea is determining your functional triage.

We (Brett + Taylor) each have slightly different triages between us—and that is okay!

However, the top 4 are non-negotiables in our eyes. Are there some things you do that aren’t worthwhile to your patients? Are there things you could add to fill gaps in your patient profiles? Maybe it is time to retake some courses that you haven’t in a while.

Or, perhaps it is time to learn something new! Understanding and being very clean on your functional triage will allow you to see more patients, get better results, make significant income, and sleep better knowing you are growing every day!

Our Challenge to YOU…

  1. Learn something new! Invest your time and money in that course you always wanted to take!
  2. Retake that seminar that got you fired up in chiropractic school.
  3. Take time to think about what you do well and what you don’t do well in the treatment room.
  4. View every patient as a learning experience and as a puzzle. It is up to you to determine when and where the pieces need to fall, have fun with it!
  5. Take a course with us at Gestalt Education. 😉

As always, please reach out with questions or comments. The team at Gestalt Education will help any way they can!

Education + Integration = World Class Results at Gestalt Education

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