Time to Technologize Your Marketing?

:dropcap_open:G:dropcap_close:enerating new patients is a constant preoccupation for chiropractors. Unlike mainstream medical cohorts who enjoy a steady stream of sick and injured clientele, chiropractors must expend a tremendous amount of energy and resources to secure and maintain a viable patient base. 
techmarketingAccording to a survey conducted by Constant Contact, attracting new customers, engaging existing customers, and obtaining referrals are the top concerns for small businesses. The most effective means of accomplishing these goals required using e-mail marketing.1 As chiropractors, we too are small business owners.
Businesses across the board are changing their marketing strategies to focus on utilizing technology, the internet, and social media platforms. Relying on passive strategies (i.e., business cards or a Yellow Pages ad) worked extremely well in a thriving economy with a population of people who communicated verbally. This simply will not cut it in this tech-savvy smartphone era when patients trust information received electronically more than clever scripts born of the ’80s. The economy is no longer thriving, meaning it is time to adapt. 
The silver lining of our current economic slowdown is the innovation that can come out of it. Industry leaders are creating products and services that mainstream chiropractic into our high-tech, connectivity-dependent society. Do you want to be truly effective? Meet patients where they live: on their smartphones. If you do so in a professional, ethical manner by providing impactful information that the patient considers valuable, then respect and growth will be your rewards. 
The business card is dying, as are other print materials used for self-promotion. If people want to know who you are or find your phone number or address, they will Google you. In addition, direct mail is used less because the associated cost is higher, the return on investment is lower, and it is difficult to track the results accurately. 
The fundamental concepts behind social media platforms have transformed the landscape of marketing. Innovations in technology are driving powerful changes in how individuals engage in health care delivery.2 These marketing mediums, combined with industry innovations, provide the chiropractor with the ultimate power to engage patients in their health recovery process, building stronger, long-lasting relationships. This has enabled chiropractors to cater to the needs of their patients rather than trying to mold patients to fit their practices, thus leading to true patient-centered care. 

A patient-centered care environment inspires causal motivation that results in patients who want to comply with treatment programs and be the best they can be. People will work their hardest for something or someone in which they believe. Causally motivated patients tend to be advocates for their chiropractor and are great referral sources. 
The “cause” in causal comes when providing patients with spinal specific data that they can use to justify the need for care. How often have you seen patients agree with your “paper and pencil” treatment recommendation yet never return or follow through? Too often for most, which is why it is critical to provide prospective patients with the evidence needed to overcome their fears and establish objectively the need for care. This is now commonplace and expected since every other venue of health care does it. Would you seriously let a dentist drill based upon his or her intuition or cleverly scripted “fear tactics”? Of course not, and neither will your untrusting prospective patients. Sadly, chiropractors ranked tenth in a recent Gallup poll rating honesty and ethical standards.3 Now you can use modern technology to combat this image.
Patients benefit greatly from evidence-based communication technologies, whether focused on general patient education, sEMG findings, specific condition information, or health and wellness topics. These tools reinforce the “why” of seeking chiropractic care and put this information in the hands of your advocates so they can easily share the information with others. Mobile devices present a tremendous opportunity to provide patients with even greater access to these powerful tools that support the current dynamic in healthcare delivery.4
To technologize your practice, consider implementing the following:
1.  Retire the posters hung with tape or thumbtacks and invest in displays that can run a continuous loop of health and wellness
information oriented around your specific practice paradigm. Customize the reel to include video snips of the doctor and staff, simplified results of research studies, and pre- and post-exam results from devices like digital x-ray or static sEMG.
2. Incorporate technology into your examination, report of findings, and patient education efforts. Evidence-based, patient-centered tools will boost your credibility and provide your patients with the validation they need. Immediately integrate digital x-ray and sEMG/computerized range of motion. High-tech has become the expected norm within the evidence-based healthcare model. Providing objective data to substantiate treatment is an integral part of modern day health care.
3. Meet your patients where they live: on their smartphones. Take advantage of recent advances designed to help you connect on an entirely different level. Several consumer-friendly mobile applications have bolstered the chiropractor’s technology toolbox, including new applications that automatically send test results directly to patient’s smartphones. 
4. Employ the efficiency of technology in your screenings, either in-house or at an event. By using modern technology like static sEMG to quickly show prospective patients their potential spinal concerns and then sending test data directly to their smartphones with your contact information, you increase the yield from screenings tenfold because they know how to reach you. Furthermore, you can utilize this technology to obtain e-mail addresses for further follow-ups and scheduling. 
5. Make your website simple and clean, but most importantly “smartphone friendly.” The second patients hear about you, they go directly to your website on their smartphones. A site that is not smartphone friendly will be almost unreadable to the patient, possibly ending their interest with frustration.
6. Opt for practice management software that provides patients with a “portal” where they can complete patient forms, access their medical records, make appointments, and pay co-pays. Utilize practice software to the fullest with automated appointment reminders, newsletters, practice announcements, and e-vites.
Our society eats, breathes, and believes in technology. We don’t trust information unless it has been “blessed” by a computer of some sort and 80% of us are visual learners. So it’s understandable why the patient needs and wants visual confirmation. If you do so in a web- and smartphone-friendly manner, your practice will flourish. 
Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy. By finding the best product and support for your needs, you will have a great partner in building your practice. Follow some simple guidelines and you will enjoy all the advantages of technology without the stress.
1. Dornaus, Erika The Health and Wellness of Small Business, Constant Contact White Paper, May 2012. 
2, 4. O’rourke, K., Heckman, J., Elwood, D. Development and Exploration of a Multifaceted Social Platform to Improve Patient Education, Communication, and Activity, Medicine 2.0 ‘12:Boston, USA, September, 2012.
3. Gallup Politics. Congress retains low honesty rating: Nurses have highest honesty rating; car salespeople, lowest. Newport, Frank. Dec 3, 2012
Dr. Nancy Miggins has over 25 year’s clinical experience as a chiropractor. She excelled in the areas of procedures, ethical business practices and management.  After spearheading the development of a integrative health and fitness center, she spent 6 years as director of this clinic.  Although her main focus was in family practice, she also has aided Olympic Athletes and professional cyclists with optimizing sports performance through chiropractic. She is currently the Director of Clinical Applications & Product Development for Precision Biometrics, Inc. Contact at : [email protected] or visit www.myovision.com or call 800-969-6961

David Marcarian, MA, founder of Precision Biometrics, and inventor of the revolutionary MyoVision 3G Wirefree PhysioMonitoring™ System. A former NASA researcher, Marcarian was awarded a $450,000.00 NIH grant to develop the MyoVision.  As an expert witness, Marcarian was credited one of the largest PI awards in US history, and established the validity of sEMG in a major State Superior Court Decision. Recently the AMA selected his 3G Wirefree System as the “tool of choice” as presented in the medical text  “The Practical Guid”. Contact at : [email protected] or visit www.myovision.com or call 800-969-6961

How I Turned My X-Ray Room into a Profit Center With My iPhone

:dropcap_open:O:dropcap_close:ne might read the headline of this article and wonder if I somehow developed a miraculous iPhone App that allowed me to take digital x-ray pictures right from my phone. While that technology clearly doesn’t exist, I’ve done the next best thing: Using the digital camera on my iPhone, I’ve made my entire practice digital without owning a single piece of digital x-ray equipment.
iphonedigitalxrayAllow me to take a step back for a moment. Before transferring to a new location, my previous practice benefitted from having access to a complete digital x-ray system – no film, no chemicals, no storage issues. Having the ability to take x-rays and have the results in seconds, and being able to annotate those x-rays, was simply part of how I worked with my patients on a daily basis. 
Once I moved to a new location, I lost access to the digital x-ray environment – and the difference was nothing short of astonishing. Can you picture going out with friends and whipping out a Polaroid camera to take a few pictures? Well, that’s what it felt like losing access to digital x-ray technology. It was like being thrown back into the dark ages! 
Speaking from direct experience, I know that once you’ve gone digital, you simply cannot go back – it’s just one of those technologies where you wonder how you ever got along without it. And yet, there I was with my new practice, sans digital technology. 
While this didn’t seem like a big deal at first, it quickly became a source of frustration because I had become reliant on having the ability to quickly show my patients exactly what their diagnosis was, and then being able to just as quickly illustrate where they could be with proper chiropractic treatment. Without seeing the annotations, the patients no longer had the “a-ha” moments I had become used to seeing, and instead I would take up valuable practice time having to explain everything. 
As we all know, starting up a new practice is an expensive endeavor, and the cost to bring a full digital system into my practice just wasn’t realistic because I was new to the area and just getting my practice off the ground. And while costs associated with implementing a new digital x-ray system have dropped considerably, adopting a full digital system is simply beyond the scope of some practices – especially a new one. That, however, didn’t stop me from finding a digital solution for my practice.
I thought that there must be a hybrid-type solution that would allow me to bring the power of digital x-ray technology back to my practice, but without the added expense – and that’s when it hit me: Why not just take digital pictures of my film-based x-rays with my iPhone and import them into a digital x-ray software program? I also realized that once I had digital x-ray software in my practice transitioning to a full system, complete with hardware, would be that much easier.  
After downloading the software (which took all of a few minutes), I was able to work just as I had in my previous practice, annotating the x-rays and using those annotations as a way to communicate with, and educate, my patients. In fact, I started using my iPad and iPhone to share the annotated x-rays with my patients (something I hadn’t even done when I was using a full digital x-ray system) and it made a huge impact on patient perception. 
:dropcap_open:Why not just take digital pictures of my film-based x-rays with my iPhone and import them into a digital x-ray software program?:quoteleft_close: 
While certainly not as convenient as a true, end-to-end digital x-ray system, taking pictures of x-rays with my phone and importing them into my annotation software was a snap (pun intended).  Also, the software I purchased is fully compatible with a complete hardware system, so I knew transitioning to a turnkey digital x-ray system would be much easier when the time came.
The digital x-ray software I use gives me the ability to export images to multiple formats (more on that later), and I often export the image to JPG without the annotations, and then with them – so I can “reveal” them to the patient right on the iPad. This takes literally seconds to accomplish and allows me to tell the patient’s story back to them in a powerful way, revealing the diagnosis first, and then the prognosis.

Armed with my new digital x-ray “system,” I immediately began seeing increased patient visits, and fewer missed appointments as well. The visual impact of what annotations can do for both a chiropractor’s ability to communicate problem areas with a patient, and a patient’s ability to truly “get it,” cannot be overstated. Most individuals respond to visual stimulation, and if they leave with an annotated picture in their head of what’s causing their issues (or better yet – if you give them the actual annotated picture to take home with them), they are most likely to come back for continued treatment. Please allow me to stress this point: This is not conjecture. The difference I saw leaving a chiropractic practice empowered with digital x-ray technology, and starting one without it, was striking. Once I showed a patient an annotated x-ray, I could count on them returning.

In addition to the benefits listed earlier, having the annotated images increased my capabilities as well. I was also able to mark images and save the markings on storage media. I could also store the images or burn them on DVDs or CDs to give to the patient, or send them via email. And the images could be saved in nearly any format, such as JPEG, JPEG2, GIFF, TIFF, BMP and PNG. Digital images are also easy to send over a network, and I can make as many copies as needed with no additional expense.

Patient perception is one of the most important aspects in patient care, and because I am able to communicate with them in a way that earns their trust, I’m able to better help them. It is obvious that my use of annotations, combined with illustrating those annotations on a mobile device, delivers a clear message to my patients: You are in good hands.

Since I’ve been using the iPhone and digital x-ray software in my practice, I’ve realized a significant increase in patient visits, and referrals have increased as well. This has put me in a position to now consider a transition to a full, turnkey digital system complete with x-ray generator and a flat panel. Stay tuned!

Dr. Raphael has an extensive background in science, health and wellness. He has had formal training in nutrition and wellness at the postgraduate level, as well as a deep engagement in study of leading health and wellness research. He uses digital x-ray software from ImaSight (www.ImaSightChiro.com). In addition to his full time Chiropractic Wellness practice out of Port Credit, Ontario, he also maintains his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA, and is a CrossFit L1 Trainer. He is one of twenty Paleo Physicians in all of Canada, and one of a small handfull in Ontario who is a member of the Wellness Council with the ICA.

Get With the Times—Get Visual

Get With the Times—Get Visual

by D. Fernandez


Imagine using X-ray equipment from the 1960’s. Imagine a modern farmer using tractors from the 50’s. Imagine a computer from 1970 handling all the billing and keeping track of your statistics today. Sounds ridiculous, I know. As time marches on, new products are created and invented to make our jobs easier. We can now have digital moving x-rays with incredible quality. Farmers can harvest twice as many fields in the same time as did their 1950’s counterparts. Computers are now lightening-quick, with massive amounts of memory. All these improvements are making jobs so much easier and effective, while yielding better results.

So, why are so many chiropractors using methods from forty years ago to educate patients? As the times have changed, so have your patients’ ways of receiving “education.” Have you ever wondered what your patients see when they come to your office? Do you really think that your patients read posters printed back in the 80’s? I’ve seen chiropractic offices hand out literature that has been photocopied so many times, some words are unreadable. Then, with your words, you try to educate your patients about the benefits of chiropractic care; they’ve tuned you out after about nine seconds. Remember, your patients are living in today’s times. This is a time when texting and instant messaging are daily habits, a time when a cell phone doubles as a computer to surf the web. Obviously, we live in 2008—not 1978. My point is this: What current methods are you using to maximize your ability to educate and retain your patients?

In 2002, the British Broadcasting Corporation issued the following statement: “The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds—the same as a goldfish.” So, as you ramble on about “vertical subluxations” and “dis-ease vs. disease,” your patients have already thought about checking their Blackberries, not just once, but two or three times.

In May, web usability consultant Jakob Neilson found that the more words you add to a page, the more people skim it. In other words, our short attention spans cannot handle long articles, and we end up just skipping to the bottom. Keep this in mind as you provide your new patients with brochures about chiropractic care. Are they REALLY going to read it?



So, what can you do? How can we keep patients’ attention on chiropractic? How can you convey the benefits of chiropractic in a few words and in under nine seconds? Be visual! You need to do something different to get different—yet better—results.

Just the other day, I was at the Advanced Spine & Wellness Center in Rockville, Maryland. There, Dr. Brian Paris has implemented a fantastic way to create not only enthusiasm for chiropractic, but better education. His patients eagerly wanted to have their pictures displayed alongside their seven- to twenty-word testimonials, posted on three flat screen plasma and LCD monitors. What I saw was amazing. Patients are not only seeing their pictures, but dozens of other patients’ pictures, both young and old, exclaiming about how Dr. Paris has helped them with their ear infections, headaches, asthma, and a variety of other complaints. Retention will definitely improve, and the infectious nature of enthusiasm will almost certainly bring in new patients.

Doctors of Chiropractic, as you prepare for a busy morning, remember who you are talking to: a patient who respects you, admires you, and appreciates what you do for them. Also, remember that these same patients think they know what you do—but they don’t. In order for them to improve their understanding, something must change. I suggest you get with the times and discover ways to inspire your patients—visually.


D Fernandez has extensive experience working with chiropractors throughout North America, specializing in bringing in new patients, as well as increasing patient visit averages. Today, people are growing more accustomed to being educated through technology. D gives you a wake-up call on how people perceive chiropractic care and illustrates the importance of not simply educating patients, but transforming their thinking. To learn more about D or to inquire about him speaking to your group, call 1-860-514-8668 or email [email protected].

Communication Leads to Better Results for Practice Growth

Communication Leads to Better Results for Practice Growth

by Dr. Steven J. Kraus, D.C.


In today’s economy, doctors are constantly seeking low-cost methods to market their practices, retain patients and promote referral activity. Many look for traditional options, like advertising and networking activities, which can be effective but tough on the balance sheet.

However, doctors can begin to immediately implement one very effective and cost-conscious marketing approach which, when used correctly, will improve patient compliance and increase referrals. The method involves a very basic activity in which humans engage daily. So basic, in fact, that we often overlook it. The activity: Communication. Communication through strategic dialogue, an extremely productive marketing an today’s economy, doctors are constantly seeking low-cost methods to market their practices, retain patients and promote referral activity. Many look for traditional options, like advertising and networking activities, which can be effective but tough on the balance sheet. However, doctors can begin to immediately implement one very effective and cost-conscious marketing approach which, when used correctly, will improve patient compliance and increase referrals. The method involves a very basic activity in which humans engage daily. So basic, in fact, that we often overlook it. The activity: Communication. Communication through strategic dialogue, an extremely productive marketing in today’s economy, doctors are constantly seeking low-cost methods to market their practices, retain patients and promote referral activity. Many look for traditional options, like advertising and networking activities, which can be effective but tough on the balance sheet. However, doctors can begin to immediately implement one very effective and cost-conscious marketing approach which, when used correctly, will improve patient compliance and increase referrals. The method involves a very basic activity in which humans engage daily. So basic, in fact, that we often overlook it. The activity: Communication. Communication through strategic dialogue, an extremely productive marketing technique, is predicated on listening.




By listening to your patients, you can begin to ask questions based on the information provided. Through these questions, you can lead patients on a path to accepting your care by addressing their concerns more directly and helping them understand the overall treatment goals. Think about this example: Upon being presented with your treatment plan, the patient says, “I don’t think I want to have so many required visits to your clinic.” You may feel compelled to further justify your treatment plan by saying these repeat visits are necessary for the patient to see improvement. This is a one-way communication approach and leaves the patient out of the dialogue equation. And, by not asking why the patient feels this way, you are also jumping to conclusions. Perhaps the patient agrees with the treatment itself, but has scheduling issues that would make it difficult to attend so many appointments, or has concerns over the costs associated with the treatment. Instead of trying to convince the patient to accept the treatment plan as recommended, you can ask the patient, “What concerns you about the number of visits in your recovery plan?” By engaging the patient in this dialogue, you are better able to understand the underlying issue for the objection, and then work with the patient to identify a solution that is amenable to everyone. Ideally, you will continue asking carefully-crafted questions that ultimately lead the patient to suggest an appropriate solution on his or her own. How a product, service or treatment plan is presented is critical. If the topic feels forced or confuses the patient, he or she will likely reject it. But if the patient has the opportunity to express concern and then begins to understand the reasoning behind a recommendation, compliance increases. Consider if your patient actually suggested that he or she would like to engage in a course of care over the next month with a dozen treatments, and then follow up with a progress examination to see what further care might be needed; wouldn’t that send the message that the patient understood your report of findings? Yes, because the patient was empowered through your ialogue to accept the treatment plan on his or her own terms. The best marketing comes from listening more and talking less. Doctors tend to over-sell because they over-speak. They keep talking and talking, long after the patient either has understood the issue or tuned out. And what happens with overspeaking is that, often, issues are brought to the forefront that the patient hadn’t considered. This creates more questions, more confusion and less engagement from the patient. When a doctor listens to the patient first, focusing on carefully constructed questions to elicit a solution suggested by and acceptable to the patient, the relationship is tronger and more productive. Now, I am not suggesting that doctors allow patients to create their own treatment plans or determine what services they need but, rather, open up a dialogue that can lead patients to adoption of a recommended plan and better compliance. In summary, by asking follow-up questions to a given objection, the doctor can identify the true issue, and then begin to guide, not direct, the patient to resolution. Let the patient talk. By listening, the patient’s real concerns are revealed, and you and the patient can work collaboratively to reach a resolution. When patients feel they are part of the solution and are allowed to arrive at their own conclusions, a sense of control and satisfaction results. And a satisfied patient pays, stays, and refers.


Dr.Steven J. KrausDr. Steven J. Kraus is CEO of Future Health, Inc., a company that partners with chiropractors to deliver a comprehensive clinic management solution, including fullyintegrated EHR. Dr. Kraus is a recognized expert in building successful clinics, having developed and sold 18 practices of his own and provided strategic consulting services to more than 400 healthcare businesses. He offers leadership to numerous industry associations and currently serves as the Chairman of the Iowa Board of Chiropractic. Contact Dr. Kraus at skraus@Future- HealthSoftware.com for more information.

Word Power! Newsletters Keep You Connected With Your Patients

Word Power! Newsletters Keep You Connected With Your Patients

by Dr. Len Schwartz, D.C.


Patients who love you and understand what you do and why you do it will refer like crazy to you. And referrals, as youiStock know, make the best new patients.

One of the best ways to nurture a close relationship with your patients is through a monthly newsletter. Your newsletter earns you instant credibility, keeps your name (and face) in front of your patients, and provides the readers with life-improving information on a regular basis. The newsletter can be fancy, but I recommend a simpler approach. Just make sure it is laid out in a way that is easy to read.

Here are some things to consider if you decide to publish a monthly newsletter:

1. Content

What will you say in your newsletter? I recommend you always include information on three different topics: news, information and updates about your practice; chiropractic health and wellness news; and marketing information.

• News and information about your practice. Share news about taking a seminar, new things happening with you or your family, hiring a new staff member, adding a new piece of equipment, new services, etc. Let your patients know about your continuing education efforts as well.

• Chiropractic health and wellness news. Always provide your patients with information they can use to get and stay healthy. Include chiropractic research that supports information about health and function, a particular exercise, vitamin or supplement or another aspect of their wellness.

Americans are hungry for information on how to live healthy, drug-free lives, without depending on medical intervention. We are the leaders of the wellness and holistic movement and you are in a perfect position to be the provider of this information.

• Marketing information. Announce your marketing events for the month. If you host a special health talk or a special event at your office, use your newsletter to let your patients know about it and invite them to bring a friend.

2. Format

A. Print: Slick, four-color newsletters with pictures look good. But color and a sophisticated layout is no guarantee that your newsletter will enjoy a greater readership than one that is done simply.

The most popular word-processing programs (such as Microsoft Word) come with a variety of templates, including a template for a newsletter. If you don’t want to invest in additional software or newsletter services, use your word-processing program to get you started in the “newsletter” business.

Word-processing programs have their limits, however. You may want to consider purchasing a desktop publishing program, such as Microsoft Publisher or PrintShop. These are relatively simple to use, not expensive and offer more creative options. (You can use them to design cards, business cards, banners and flyers, too!) B. E-mail: If you are going to deliver your newsletter via e-mail, consider HTML format. This allows you to use graphics, pictures and color, and you are able to create a much more inviting publication. (Although, I admit, I receive some “plain vanilla” e-mail newsletters and I read them from start to finish! What matters most is content!)

Many of the desktop publishing programs allow you to create HTML e-mail without having to master HTML code.

Don’t want to go to that bother? You can always contract the project, or, use an online e-mail service, such as Microsoft’s www.bcentral.com. These services provide easy-to-use HTML templates and send out your e-mails for a monthly fee.

3. Distribution.

You can send your newsletter by mail and/or by e-mail…but I definitely recommend e-mail. It’s very inexpensive, instant, track-able, and you save some trees. And, you should always have them available in your reception and adjusting rooms.

Who should get it? Current, inactive and prospective patients. Also, when you give health presentations, collect mail and e-mail addresses. (Make sure you include a question: “Would you like to receive our newsletter and other periodic mailings?” in order to obtain opt-in permission to e-mail. This is important, for HIPAA compliancy, as well as to avoid being accused of sending out SPAM.)

You may also want to consider sending your newsletter to the local media, especially if you are in a smaller community.

Build up a database full of active, inactive and prospective patients. Send out your newsletter and “breaking news” and you will become known as your community’s wellness expert. You will find that newsletters stimulate referrals, reactivate inactive patients, and keep you connected with your patients.

Len Schwartz, D.C.Dr. Len Schwartz is a Fortune 500 trained marketer as well as the President and CEO of ChiroPractice Marketing Solutions,LLC, a marketing company that has been helping chiropractors build their practices since 1999. CPMS offers chiropractors over 65 turn-key, practicebuilding products and services, which nclude a fully research-based monthly patient newsletter. For more information, go to www.chiropracticemarketingsolutions.com or call 1-866-655-8502

A Healthy Practice Starts with a Cash-Based Practice

A Healthy Practice Starts with a Cash-Based Practice

by Dennis Nikitow, D.C.


Several years ago, when managed care seemed to be the answer to traditional insurance fallout, I saw a doctor advertising a seminar in a journal with the following headline: “Do You Think the Cash-Based Practice Is a Way of the Past? So Do We.” The ad went on to explain the course content of, essentially, diagnostics, neuro/ortho exams, outcome assessments, and insurance coding—all components of a musculoskeletal practice, not a family wellness practice. The truth is a cash-based practice should always be the foundational block of every practice, regardless if insurance, with its limitations, is being billed or not. Patient Education must promote enough value for chiropractic that the patient is willing to pay beyond what insurance covers. This includes the use of orthopedic supports, home rehab, and nutrition.

Chiropractic needs to be REPOSITIONED to the public as a part of the health care team for overall wellness, not as a back pain treatment for musculoskeletal conditions and symptoms. Evidenced based parameters are essential because a subluxation based wellness practice should be geared around restoring the spine to its normal spinal model for maximum nerve integrity and optimum health potential.

The patient first needs to be introduced to the four essentials of health; i.e. food, water, oxygen and nerve impulse. If they are lowered in quality or quantity, health potential is lowered too. This leads to the importance of why they need to correct their spine and how it applies to their overall health and wellness. This comes in a solid explanation of chiropractic principles and philosophy, followed by showing medical research to support it.

Once this understanding is established, the use of orthopedic supports, home rehab and nutrition becomes easy and does not distract the patient from the core of spinal correction. Instead, ancillaries will enhance the ability to reach the spinal correction goal and improve overall wellness and will be embraced by the patient.

Use cervical and lumbar support pillows not only to establish proper curves, but to maintain them. Extension cervical traction units will also aid in reducing forward head posture (FHP) and improving cervical curves. Foot orthotics are essential for overall postural balance and spinal correction and should always be recommended, if foot imbalance is detected. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome supports should also be a part of your practice as well as necessary nutrition.

For years I emphasized the need to reposition the thinking of a cash vs. insurance practice to a “healthy practice.” Insurance will not pay forever and, if history dictates, eventually insurance will get wise to overbilling for rehab, regardless of how justifiable it is in our minds.

Insurance companies do checks on their reimbursement expenditures and go through cycles of cost containment. As procedures are eventually deemed non reimbursable, the doctor is forced back into a model where patients are given the responsibility to pay; i.e., cash-based practice. In addition, doctors get frustrated, and burnt out because they get tired of trying to keep up with the changes in insurance protocols, rather than having the peace of mind of working with quality, committed patients and their families who are willing to pay cash for their care.

The insurance industry is also emphasizing a new “consumer driven” model of insurance, where deductibles are very high ($2000-$5000 per family), premiums are low, and coverage is more limited. This forces the consumer to examine prices closer, because they are being moved to pay for certain aspects of health care out of pocket. With the recent economic downturn, insurance reimbursement has struggled too.

Next, establish a fair fee structure for individuals and families that they could pay regardless of insurance reimbursement. Make sure the patient understands the uniqueness of your treatment and outcomes.

Establish “retail fees” and “prepay cash fee discounts.” If you want to bill insurance for reimbursable rehab fees, bill retail, but establish a fair limit to this kind of practice. Don’t overbill or try to get insurance to pay for everything.

A cash-based practice can never be “a way of the past,” unless insurance reimburses everything 100 percent. It’s better to understand how a cash-based practice fits into your future so you can use it appropriately to develop a “healthy practice.”


Patient Transformation vs. Patient Education

In Newsday, October 17, 2007, I found the headline “Physical and tests which cost $7.8 billion a year in the US may have little value for the healthy, experts say.” The article goes on to say, “There is little evidence, if any, that doing comprehensive exams yearly on patients without symptoms is good for anything. Instead of asking patients to come in every year for a check-up, physicians should be figuring out which patients need what types of preventative care and making sure they get those services, said Dr. Ned Calonge, chairman of the US Preventive Services Task Force.” This is a barely disguised recommendation to send healthy people to chiropractors so that they remain healthy. The times are changing and the ripples from the “wellness revolution” are reaching the allopathic shores!

We often hear that “there has never been a better time to be a chiropractor,” and it appears to be true. The question is, then, why are chiropractors still stuck in seeing less than 10 percent of the population after having “educated” people about chiropractic for 113 years? Maybe one of the reasons is the fact that there is more competition and there are more choices available today in the alternative or complementary field. Attendance to Yoga classes has exploded in the last five years, acupuncture treatments have become more mainstream, spas have opened on every street corner, massage therapy is booming. Another reason might be that drug companies also have jumped on the wellness bandwagon. Let’s look at the following mission statement: “At … we recognize your proactive role in managing your family’s health and we are here to help body, mind and spirit. We dedicate the website to helping you live a healthy life.” We would all agree that this mission statement would perfectly reflect the principles and philosophy of most chiropractors and could be posted on chiropractic websites. In fact, it is posted on the home page of Pharmasave’s website, one of the largest chains of independent pharmacists in Canada. Does that mission statement really represent the purpose of a drugstore? In some cases, drugstores still sell cigarettes at the front counter!

In September of last year, I went back to France for a week to visit with my father who was undergoing surgery. My visit coincided with the world cup of rugby. As I was driving in the countryside, I happen to catch on the radio that one of the rugby players was nicknamed “the chiropractor.” His name is Brian Lima, from the Samoa Rugby Team. When I learned more about him, I found out that his nickname came from his reputation to deliver “monstrous hits and bone-jarring tackles.” Here is the definition of “jarring” in the dictionary: to have a harshly unpleasant or perturbing effect on one’s nerves, feelings, thoughts, etc….

Please sign me up for chiropractic care right now! The sad reality is this perception of chiropractic is anchored in the minds of millions of people, who are simply afraid to get adjusted. All the publicity around neck adjustments and strokes in the last few years did not help either and fear is a daunting obstacle because reasonable arguments and patient education are usually not enough to overcome it.

No more than ten years ago, tea was reduced to very few choices like Earl Grey English Breakfast, Chamomile and Red Rose. Today, hundreds of selections are available in the aisles of a Whole Food store and it is sometimes a difficult decision to pick the right one. One of the companies that has become hugely successful is Numi. It is run by a brother and sister team. The packages are true works of art, hand-painted by her, inspired by photographs he takes while travelling the world in search of organic and exotic teas. On every Numi package, it says, “Tea is liquid meditation, reminding us to enter a time and space to find our own thoughts and visions. We invite you to take the tea transformation.”

We need to create a shift in how people perceive chiropractic, just like the tea industry was able to elevate the experience of drinking tea from just a few choices to an almost spiritual experience and sales stated to explode. My chiropractic transformation experience happened about twelve years ago when I attended my first seminar. At the break, I saw chiropractors adjusting each other and their family members, too. None of them seemed to be suffering from back pain and there was a special energy in the room. They even seemed to enjoy the experience! I wanted to learn more and decided to listen to the speakers. The transformation had started for me and the speaker I heard that day opened my mind and inspired me further.

Eighty-five percent of people are visual learners. We listen with our eyes. Imagine the power of patients watching pictures of yourself getting adjusted on a big plasma TV with a caption which reads that you get adjusted weekly to perform at your peak potential! What about pictures of yourself adjusting your kids with the text that reads you checked them for subluxations shortly after they were born! This will challenge people’s thinking and open up their minds to new possibilities. A once-a-week patient orientation class is another fantastic way to create a shift. When I ask chiropractors why they went to Chiropractic College, I often hear very inspiring stories. Why not share those stories with your patients in the safe setting of a health talk.

My chiropractor, Dr. Patrick Foran, passed away over a year ago. Passionate over chiropractic, he had dedicated his life to it, his family and his patients. After he adjusted me and I was saying goodbye, he would often place his hand over my hand, look me in the eyes and stay silent for a few seconds. In these few seconds, I knew that he truly cared and this caring, attention and presence added another dimension to the entire experience. Chiropractors have a fantastic opportunity to fill in a role people are asking for but we need to communicate the chiropractic message a different way—the way of the new millennium, the patient transformation way. There is a native American saying that goes, “Tell me and I will forget; show me and I will remember; involve me and I will understand.” Let us all work together to find new ways to get people involved in chiropractic.

Laurent Goldstein is the president of Brican Systems Corporation, a company dedicated to helping chiropractors get more patients under care. He has a strong background in marketing and has worked in the past with optometrists, dentists, veterinarians and podiatrists, helping them grow their practices from the inside out. For more information, call 1-800-644-1055, Ext. 30, or e-mail [email protected].


Advanced Citizenry: Civic, Social, and Health Care Leadership is the Result of a Value Based Practice

I want to start the last segment of this series by saying thank you to those of you who have taken the time to call and e-mail me this year about the impact this series has had on the way you look at your practice, life, and professional responsibility.

Many of you are now members of our Learning Curves family and have advanced your practices and commitment to the next level. You have expressed a renewed spirit of contribution and have developed more courage to tell the truth more often, with more certainty, to more people. You have told me about the training you are now doing with your teams to integrate a state of conscious gratitude into your practice as it pertains to the respect and honor you extend to your patients each and every day as you serve them. I have heard stories of doctors at all levels of practice that have taken the ideas of fairness or justice from these articles and built them into their community outreach programs with the intention of creating more value for chiropractic and more trust in their message.

The response from readers of this series has been overwhelming, and I have had many calls and emails thanking me for helping to clarify the importance of putting integrity and discipline in the forefront of their professional consciousness.

I knew that, as a profession, chiropractic was being weighed down by apathy, but that, once that apathy was broken through, a lot of passion, purpose, excitement, enthusiasm, and action would be uncovered. Well, it appears that, for some of you, this is exactly what has happened—your passion has been rekindled.

The responses I have received have truly reinforced my resolve to continue to serve at the highest level possible. I am convinced that, if I can continue to share my vision and my love for chiropractic with more of my colleagues through the pages of our journals, then more of you will develop a commitment and see it as an absolute professional and ethical requirement to share your vision and your love for chiropractic with more people in your community. Through this commitment, you will reach more people, more often, with more certainty, more passion, more purpose, and more clarity. So, again, I thank you for the encouraging words.

I pray that you will continue to make responsibility, courage, respect, compassion, justice, integrity and discipline an integral part of your practice and become the leader that will help move chiropractic in a new and compelling direction of civic, social, and health care leadership. Please keep writing and calling; you make me proud to call myself a colleague.

Now, where do we go from here?

We’ll go forward. I will be writing a quarterly series in The American Chiropractor in 2008, and will continue to focus on the journey of professional growth and enlightenment. One of my favorite quotes is the following from Henry Ford: “Think you can, think you can’t, either way, you’ll be right.”

Ford knew that the possibility of success in achieving his dream of an automobile for every person was limited only by his thinking, that building in his mind a vivid and compelling dream was the key to realizing his goal.

Having a compelling dream and a clear vision is the key ingredient to success. Without a compelling dream and a clear vision for a better future, you would more likely become engaged in the process instead of being empowered in your purpose.

Having a compelling dream and a clear vision is the base or key ingredient that makes everything else work; it is the something that, if missing, would take away from the quality of the finished product. I absolutely know that, if you don’t currently have your ideal practice, but are willing to invest a small amount of time setting goals, creating your vision of the ideal practice, planning appropriate strategies for its creation, and committing to see it through to the end, you will be rewarded exponentially and so will your community and our profession.

I think that we, as individuals, must be wary of the fallacy that our “leadership” (meaning someone other than you and I) is responsible for our success or our failure. If we engage in the belief that the insurance companies are unfair, or that people just don’t “get it,” we are always going to be placing blame on someone else for the circumstances that dictate our successes or failures. By default, this strips us of our ability to create our own future.

Some of you really love this type of dialog; others are now really upset that I would try to put you in the pilot seat of the plane called responsibility. Either way, I am here for you, and will do anything I can to help anyone who wants more, and is willing to do the simple work that it takes to sit squarely in the pilot seat and take over the controls of his or her personal and professional destiny. Just remember that simple does not mean easy.

I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to write this column, and I thank you for everything you do to make our profession excellent, and applaud you if you are in a constant state of growth as a leader. As a good friend of mine always says, “I am not preaching from the mountain top; I am preaching from the mountain side.”

I wish for you the mindset of responsibility, the courage to speak clearly, the compassion to serve at a higher level, and the discipline to act with respect and integrity. I am with you on this journey, and if there is anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact me.

I leave you with a very powerful thought you have no doubt heard before from chiropractic pioneer Dr. B. J. Palmer: “You never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”

Dr. Slocum is a 1993 graduate of Logan College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a fourth generation chiropractor, the eleventh member of his family to practice chiropractic.

Dr. Slocum and his partner, Rok A. Morin, D.C., are co-creators of Learning Curves™, a three-tier community education and marketing program for the chiropractic profession. Drs. Slocum and Morin lecture on a national basis to chiropractors encouraging them to spread awareness of chiropractic in their communities. Go to www.learningcurves.us, e-mail [email protected] or call 1-800- 613-2528 for more information.


Advanced Citizenry: Chiropractic Leadership in Action

Have you ever heard of The Advanced Citizenry? Chances are you haven’t heard the term, but you have heard of, or know of, people in your community who stand out as Advanced Citizens. They are the people everyone knows. They are the people everyone respects. They are the people other people turn to for information and services when they are in need.

They are the people who, through their involvement in your community, have built a reputation of Trust, and stand outas Valuable contributors to the well-being of those they serve. They may be business leaders, politicians, teachers, or coaches. They may be involved with the ministry, do mission work, or they may have started a community enrichment program for the purpose of empowering citizens to create meaningful change.

They may be the chief of police or the fire chief, or they may be a mother or a father who cares about the neighborhood they live in. They are seen as the cornerstones of your community and they serve at a higher level than most.

To become an Advanced Citizen in your community and achieve this status, you must develop the seven characteristics that all Advanced Citizens have in common:

1. Responsibility—Who is responsible to share your message with those who are literally dying to hear it?

2. Courage—Do you have the courage to tell the truth about chiropractic more often, with more certainty, and more truth about the miraculous healing potential of the body?

3. Respect—Do you respect the privilege, honor, and responsibility that come with the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic?

4. Empathy—Do you feel true empathy for the people in your community who are making very poor decisions because they lack the knowledge to make proper decisions regarding wellness development for themselves and their families?

5. Justice—Do you feel that it is “just” that most consumers make decisions based on information they get from newspapers, magazines, radio, and television which will lead them to choose a sick care system that will cause more harm than good?

6. Integrity—Do the messages you give patients and consumers align with the way you live your life?

7. Discipline—Are you willing to act with consistency and persistency until you have developed the status of Advanced Citizenry in your community? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you are ready to take the next step.

In Dr. Carl Cleveland’s very touching and inspiring video called Simple Justice, Dr. Cleveland did an incredible job of highlighting the struggles, courage, and the commitment that the early pioneers of chiropractic willingly faced head-on to ensure that we could serve the way we do today. The image that had the most signifi cant impact on me was the image of dozens of picketers outside a jail with signs that read, “We want our doctor,” and “We need our doctor.” These signs and efforts were put forth by ordinary citizens in support of their chiropractor who was jailed unfairly for practicing medicine without a license. Due to the Advanced Citizenry of the men and women that came before us, we no longer have to worry about going to jail at the end of the day instead of returning home to our families. These incredible doctors did not have the same security or privilege that we have today but they were able to serve with dignity, honor and integrity, because they believed in the power of the adjustment and the strength of their principles.

The success of chiropractors in the early years came, in large part, from their willingness to get involved in their communities and build trust and value in the hearts and minds of their fellow citizens. Through their commitment to education and relationship building, they realized that most patients shop for chiropractic but they buy the relationship you build with them, and that all good relationships are based on value and trust.

If you want to be one of the people your community turns to in times of need, if you are willing to invest the time, energy, and capital it takes to become that Valued and Trusted person, and you are ready to start now, call today and fi nd out how our multi-tier Community Outreach and Marketing program can help you achieve the status necessary to serve at a higher level and affect more lives in dramatic ways. When you become an Advanced Citizen, you will build the practice of your dreams and you will be rewarded with fi nancial success that comes with the status of an Advanced Citizen.

Dr. Slocum is a 1993 graduate of Logan College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a fourth generation chiropractor, the eleventh member of his family to practice chiropractic. Dr. Slocum and his partner, Rok A. Morin, D.C., are co-creators of Learning Curves™, a three-tier community education and marketing program for the chiropractic profession. Drs. Slocum and Morin lecture on a national basis to chiropractors encouraging them to spread awareness of chiropractic in their communities. Go to www.learningcurves.us, e-mail [email protected] or call 1-800- 613-2528 for more information.

Civic, Economic, and Social Leadership in Chiropractic

Are you the most closely kept secret in your community? How many people do you really think know who you are, where you are, and what you do? Not just that you are a chiropractor and you “snap” necks and “pop” people to “fix” their backs—I mean really know your ideals, your philosophy on health and healing, the high ethics and values that dictate your policies and procedures, know and/or have experienced the incredible life changing events that happen in your practice everyday. How many people walking or driving past your office even recognize that you are there? Of those that do realize your presence in some far reaching corner of their consciousness, how many do you think have, at most, a minimal understanding of your worth and value in their lives and the lives of their families? The answer, at least statistically, is that most people have very little idea how valuable you can be in their lives.

When I took an honest, somewhat self-critical, and professional evaluation of the role I have in my community’s level of awareness of the importance of chiropractic as part of their health care plans, I realized that I felt a sense of absolute responsibility. I’m not saying that I am responsible for every person’s story, or every person’s health paradigm. I’m saying that I feel, in my community, I am responsible for providing opportunities for people to learn the truth about health and well-being and the role a balanced spine and nervous system play in the development of those states. I decided that it was my responsibility to act with consistent and persistent action to share my story and the story of the thousands of people who have benefited from chiropractic in my office. I decided that it was important to get out of the four walls of my practice and begin to become a more valuable resource to my community as a leader, to get involved with civic organizations, schools, churches, Scouting organizations, private businesses and corporations as well as contribute meaningful information to the local press.

What I found was consistent across the board—the people in my community are looking for information that makes sense. They are skeptical of the information they get from television, magazines, and radio advertising. They don’t trust the medical model and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to most. When someone sees their loved ones relying on the medical system, only to witness their deteriorating quality of life and health, it leads to confusion, fear, and discouragement. The other thing I consistently found was that, when I present chiropractic to the general public—true chiropractic—it just makes sense to most and that leads to clarity, hope, and encouragement.

Getting “out” and building relationships through service is the best way to create value and trust in your community. When you show people that you care enough to be interested in them and that you are interested in serving their needs, they begin to want to serve your needs. If one of your needs is to share the story of chiropractic and to serve more people with your skill, compassion, and love, then that is what you will get.

Let me end this segment with the following story. About two years ago, my partner went to the local fire department to give our “Neurology of the Subluxation” PowerPoint, only to find an empty meeting hall, except for one 16-year-old nursing student from the local high school vocational nursing program. Many would have left, feeling as though the program was a bust, expecting an audience of twenty and not wanting to waste the time talking to one 16-year-old girl. Why waste the time talking to her when she can’t legally make health care decisions without consent anyway.

I am glad to say that was not Dr. Rok’s attitude. He spent the next forty-five minutes teaching this young lady about the physiological effects of the subluxation complex. Long story short—she went back to the teacher at the vocational center and shared her story.

In the last two years, we have given more than twenty programs from our PowerPoint library to every high school and adult education nursing class in our community. We are currently helping them change the curriculum from a purely disease-based curriculum to one balanced with wellness education. Until next time, I leave you with this statement and the following question. Your community is looking for its leader to show up. Are you that leader?

Dr. Slocum and his partner, Rok A. Morin, D.C., are co-creators of Learning Curves™, a three-tier community education and marketing program for the chiropractic profession. Drs. Slocum and Morin lecture on a national basis to chiropractors encouraging them to spread awareness of chiropractic in their communities. Go to www.learningcurves.us, e-mail [email protected] or call 1-800- 613-2528 for more information.