Dr. Boyd Williams is a 1987 graduate of Northwestern Chiropractic College who practices in his hometown, Rochester, Minnesota, with his wife, Cindy, a 1996 graduate of NWCC.
Beginning his practice as a sole practitioner in 1988, Dr. Williams became a certified Chiropractic Sports Physician in 1991 and the first sports chiropractic diplomate in Minnesota in 1994. Then, he enthusiastically set out to develop a successful sports chiropractic practice.
Nearly fifteen years later, though, the Doctors Williams found themselves on the brink of burnout, disillusioned and exhausted from the stress attendant to trying to manage an insurance/pain-based practice, and decided it was time for a change.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. Williams describes a remarkable process of transforming his consciousness, his life, and the lives of his patients by refocusing his efforts on establishing a family-wellness, subluxation based cash practice. As he says, “The amazing fact we experience everyday is that, when we tell the truth (i.e., chiropractic removes nerve interference and, with less interference, comes more life) people will pay cash for long-term care for themselves and their families.”
TAC: What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
Williams: I entered the chiropractic profession at age 14, working as a chiropractic assistant for my uncle, Dr. Robert Jensen, in Stewartville, Minnesota. The experience of seeing first hand the wonders of the chiropractic adjustment compelled me to pursue an education from a young age and a career as a chiropractor.
I entered Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1983, graduating in April of 1987, and returned home to begin practice with my uncle, until I opened my own practice in 1988 with the help of family, friends and a number of “seed-patients” uncle Bob gave me.
TAC: What type of patients do you generally treat or attract?
Williams: Our “practice member” clientele is comprised of adults and children. We have a family wellness practice, which has been our goal and focus in developing over the past 3 years. Our practice family ages range from 3-day-old infants to patients in their 80’s and 90’s under wellness care.
The specifics of our practice members would be a 60:40 split (female to male), predominantly white collar professional, only 5% auto or work-comp and approximately 85% cash (self-pay). Two-thirds of our office visits are multiple family members.
TAC: Which techniques do you use and why?
Williams: Diversified techniques, lifestyle modification/coaching addressing the 3-T or 3 dimensions of life stress (physical, psychological, biochemical). We discontinued being a physiotherapy clinic three years ago and now focus on subluxation removal alone.
TAC: What diagnostic testing procedures do you use and why?
Williams: We utilize the Waiting List Practice (WLP) system for patient testing, report of findings and retention. This includes postural analysis, biostructural evaluation, and X-ray analysis. Also we use neurodiagnostic testing including thermography and surface E.M.G (Insight Millennium Subluxation Station). Also, all of our adult practice members go through the Creating Wellness testing.
TAC: We understand your practice is based on the “Creating Wellness” principles. Can you explain what that means in treating patients?
Williams: The Creating Wellness Alliance (CWA) is the brainchild of Dr. Patrick Gentempo, of the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance, who, with others from within and outside the CLA, had the vision and drive to invest themselves and their resources in positioning chiropractic clinics in a national brand to be at the forefront of the current Wellness Revolution explosion in this country.
The Creating Wellness Assessment is a comprehensive profile of over 25 physiological tests and questions that reveal the level of health in 3 dimensions of negative life stresses: physical, biochemical and psychological. We look at each of these areas and how they are affecting overall health. The Creating Wellness profile is the only program developed that looks at these three dimensions of life and computes a “wellness quotient number,” determining how it compares to normal healthy values, and then develops a plan with our coaching and the chiropractic-care program to help you move to a higher level of health and wellness.
TAC: Tell us two or three of your most amazing patient success stories.
Williams: There are numerous patient success stories all chiropractors are blessed to be part of. Some which come to mind include individuals with multiple sclerosis experiencing elimination in chronic symptoms of numbness, weakness and energy loss; elderly patients in their 70’s, 80’s & 90’s who “hear the message” why not to give up on their health and life and, instead, experience dramatic subjective and objective improvement in their health; and, of course, the numerous pediatric miracles, involving recovery from asthma, colic, ear infection, bed-wetting, failure to thrive and many other conditions. It is always and honor and sacred trust when a parent entrusts their child to you for care.
TAC: What has really impacted your growth as a chiropractor and that of your practice?
Williams: Mentors, teachers and practice coaches are an essential to a successful business. My energy and focus toward the fundamental precepts of chiropractic (i.e., philosophy) is another key to success and enjoyment in my practice. Being purpose-minded and staying on-purpose is a constant exercise. The many distractions of daily life, both in and outside of the practice, will always tend to pull us away from what’s important (my coach calls it making a difference vs. making a living). A strong purpose, rooted in a strong philosophy, I’ve found, is what makes chiropractic separate and distinct from the other health professions; it makes chiropractic great.
TAC: What marketing strategies do you use to attract new patients and to keep current patients?
Williams: Our marketing and advertising consists of primary community exposure through screenings, lectures, and work-site and industrial talks. We follow through with a systematic WLP patient education program, involving daily “table talk,” workshops, and reports…. It’s comprehensive!
TAC: What else makes your practice different from other practices?
Williams: We share most of the common traits and challenges of most DC’s but we are unique in that we have truly clarified our purpose and focus: subluxation based family lifetime wellness.
TAC: With your practice being cash-based wellness care can you tell our readers your advice about setting up and maintaining such a practice in today’s healthcare system?
Williams: Well, my story is a little different, because I didn’t start out to have that kind of practice. In the first many years of practice, it was my desire to develop a sports chiropractic practice.
But, after several years of practice growth, staff additions and clinic expansions, my wife, Cindy, and I had an epiphany. After years of working long and hard to grow the practice, we had hit a wall—a “glass ceiling,” if you will. We, as so many of our chiropractic colleagues were experiencing burnout. We were attending seminar after seminar, pursuing numerous marketing programs and never-ending efforts to motivate staff but, yet, falling short of our goals. The revelation that came to us was this: Working to grow a successful, profitable insurance pain-based practice was NOT fun (or rewarding)!
So, we knew, if things were ever going to change, we had to change. Our change began with a new found purpose. We found our purpose in philosophy. Cindy and I had graduated chiropractic college strong in the “science” of chiropractic; years of practice had made us solid in the “art” of chiropractic; but we had been ever lacking in the “philosophy” of chiropractic. Why is it that the busiest, happiest and most profitable DC’s seem to be those who have deep-rooted philosophy first (and foremost) in their practice?
We met and began learning from purposed-based DC’s What we discovered was a newfound energy, joy and passion for this wonderful profession. We quickly dove in and changed our practice systems, procedures, policies and, most of all, our patient education. We utilized the advice and experience of other successful chiropractors and coaches and we’ve seen a 3-fold growth in our office visits and retention in 2½ years.
The keys to success are Purpose, Passion and Never-ending Training (“Practice makes better!”). Cindy and I are now enjoying the fruit of a step-by-step conversion, from an insurance/pain-based practice model to a family-wellness, subluxation based cash practice. The wellness component became complete in 2004, as we became one of a growing number of Creating Wellness Centers.
The amazing fact we experience everyday is that, when we tell the truth (i.e., chiropractic removes nerve interference and, with less interference, comes more life) people will pay cash for long-term care for themselves and their families.
TAC: So, then, what single piece of advice would you give a new chiropractor just starting out?
Williams: I would encourage new graduates and established practitioners alike, to, first, position themselves away from insurance.
Second, align yourself with organizations that are leading the way into wellness-based family care. Learn from others (D.C.’s, consultants) who are successfully using proven and ethical cash programs. The public wants what we have and they will choose to pay for it!
Finally, don’t be afraid to get out of your office and regularly share the truth about chiropractic. It works! Do talks, screenings, workshops, etc.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Williams: The future of chiropractic is bright! Who else will save the country from its health crisis? Who else will give its “huddled masses” an option other than a lifetime of drugs and surgery? Who else is going to lead the Wellness Revolution?
You may contact Dr. Boyd Williams at [email protected].