One of my favorite movies of all times is Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. At the end of the movie, Woody’s character tells the story of a guy visiting a psychiatrist.
“Doc, my brother is crazy; he thinks he is a chicken!” the guy says.
“Why don’t you bring him in?” says the psychiatrist.
“I would! But we need the eggs!”
In my mind, this story illustrates how our perception of the world we live in can be far removed from reality and how we each operate within different paradigms. Eight years ago, my perception of what chiropractors do was that they treat back and neck pain. I had only visited a chiropractor twice during my travels, in both cases with a hot low back and not without a certain degree of anxiety. I was looking for a quick fix and the idea of going back for regular maintenance care did not even enter my mind.
My perception of chiropractic was not really different from the majority of the population. Chiropractors have been educating patients for the last 110 years but, the fact remains, it has not worked. According to the last Eisenberg/Tindle study on alternative medicine, 7.4% of the population visited a chiropractor in 2002, down from 9.9% in 1997. Enrollment in chiropractic schools is down 35%. The time has come to look for fresh new ways to get the chiropractic message across.
I have traveled extensively in the last 8 years and have attended hundreds of seminars in different cities across the US and Canada. And I have identified 5 key components of running a successful practice.
An effortless shift from allopathic to chiropractic/wellness thinking has to be created.
Patients come into the office in an allopathic frame of mind. They expect a quick fix. The challenge is, if the pain does not go away after a few adjustments, they do not understand why they should keep coming back; and, if the pain does go away quickly, they still do not understand why they should keep coming back.
Explaining, during the report of findings, that health is a process and all processes take time conflicts with the allopathic paradigm, which offers a pill for every ill. This model is featured and advertised hundreds of times a day on TV and in magazines.
Playing a few slides on the TV’s or plasma screens in your reception and adjusting areas of you, yourself, being adjusted, as well as you adjusting your staff and family, will effortlessly and subconsciously change the perception in your patients’ minds and move them toward a desire to explore the idea of making chiropractic care part of the lifestyle of the entire family.
When it comes to Patient Education, repetition is the key.
How many times did you have to read and be exposed to the definition of the vertebral subluxation before you became comfortable explaining it to your patients? Not only should the patients understand what a subluxation is and its impact on their health, but also they will very likely have to try to defend their decision to see a chiropractor to their spouse or another family member. When patients are exposed to clear, simple and highly visual educational messages, they become more fluent in spreading the chiropractic story.
Make every minute spent in the office count.
When the patient is in the office, every minute counts. As soon as they leave the office, they are “educated” by the drug companies.
Get the patients to ask questions!
We might assume that an 82-year-old patient wants to hear about arthritis or high blood pressure, when that patient might, actually, want to hear about pregnancy, because his granddaughter happens to be pregnant! The idea that chiropractic does wonders as far as facilitating a better pregnancy will never occur to them, unless it is triggered by visual messages together with educational and inspiring information showing pregnant women being adjusted.
Build enthusiasm for chiropractic.
Satisfied patients do not always refer, but enthusiastic patients always do! They become chiropractic ambassadors for life! Playing testimonials in your office on an ongoing basis will do a great job of boosting the energy and enthusiasm of your patients and your staff, and will result in an increased number of referrals and a better PVA. We also encourage doctors to get patients to listen to some of the greatest speakers in the profession. Imagine what would happen to your practice if you could take your patients to a Parker seminar!
Laurent Goldstein is president of Brican Corporation. For the last 10 years, Brican has provided thousands of chiropractors with the most advanced Patient Education software combined with seminars and teleclasses for DC’s and CA’s. Brican also supplies the plasma screens and LCD monitors for reception and adjusting areas. For more information, contact Chantal at 800-644-1055, Ext. 28, and receive a $200 gift for free!