Dr. Peter Fernandez, a 1961 Logan College graduate, is past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association, and past chairman of the Chiropractic Knights of the Roundtable, an organization of the world’s most successful chiropractors. His practice, with 5 staff chiropractors and 12 satellite offices, was, at one time, one of the country’s largest all referral, high income chiropractic clinics.
Dr. Fernandez has been a practice consultant for the last 24 years and, in this capacity, has consulted with approximately 5,000 DC’s, as well as in the opening of over 3,000 new practices.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor, Dr. Fernandez describes his latest project, bringing chiropractic continuing education into the internet age on a very unique level.
TAC: With your history of more than 24 years as a practice management consultant, describe the major changes you’ve seen in chiropractic technology over the years and how this technology has helped the chiropractic profession?
Fernandez: First of all, the development and usage of mechanical instruments for the correction of spinal subluxations is revolutionizing our profession. There was a time when only brute strength could make spinal corrections but, now, even the most petite doctor can render care to any size individual.
Computer technology has increased our ability to diagnose and document spinal aberrations, i.e., range-of-motion analysis and muscle testing can now be done by pushing a button. And, since insurance companies believe computers first and doctors second, these instruments are a real plus for validating chiropractic care.
Outsourcing of services, such as insurance billing, accounting services, etc., is made much easier by the electronic broadcasting of data between doctors’ offices and these service providers. This technology frees up the doctor to do what he/she does best—treat patients.
Computerized patient education aids, such as the Neuropatholator, make it much easier to explain chiropractic to our patients; thus, when used regularly, they will increase a doctor’s practice.
There is no question that “Knowledge is Power.” The more knowledge a doctor acquires on how to fix patients’ health problems, the quicker his/her patients recover and the more referrals the doctor will receive. Today, doctors all over the world can research any health problem by clicking a button and logging onto the Internet.
TAC: With this issue of TAC’s focus on Technology, tell us how your latest venture, MBAChiropractic.com, is revolutionizing the way chiropractors access continuing education, license renewal and consulting services.
Fernandez: The strategy of any good pathfinder is to first understand the changing external elements that are affecting his or her industry and then develop a plan to prosper within those changes. Tom Cavanaugh, D.C., M.B.A., and I have researched and understand the changing external environment that affects chiropractic and have assembled the technology to deal with these changes.
Our new technology is a futuristic advance, which helps chiropractors grow their practices in spite of our changing health care environment. Actually, we may be the first company in any profession to bring continuing education, license renewal, and practice building seminars to doctors by video streaming classes over the Internet. As easy and convenient as it is for doctors to view these classes, the process in making it happen was not. Being a brand new concept, it required massive research and development efforts on our part.
Our research was conclusive in that most doctors felt they were in a “Catch 22” situation. They want to attend seminars, but are concerned about expenses, time out of the office and loss of patients from being gone on Fridays or Saturdays. But, if they didn’t attend seminars, they wouldn’t get the knowledge or expertise needed to build and maintain a successful practice. Their concerns became our primary focus. How could we help doctors get continuing educational, license renewal and practice-building seminars without having to close their practices or incur a lot of expense? We also determined that the greatest expense in attending seminars was not the seminar registration fees, but the associated travel, lodging and food expenses. (See Seminar Expense Chart.) Our answer to these legitimate needs and concerns ($250,000 later) was to merge advanced technology with our professional practice building seminars; in other words, put our seminars online. From that, www.MBAChiropractic.com was born!
Now doctors can put the majority of what it used to cost them to attend seminars back in their own pockets. They can also have their chiropractic assistants trained online—no more travel, lodging and food expenses. And, as the reader knows, attending seminars is not only costly financially, it can also put a strain on personal relationships and family matters. By taking our practice-building and post-graduate education classes on line, the doctor’s family will be happier, because the doctor doesn’t have to leave home! That alone is revolutionary!
We found that, not only is there a huge savings when attending seminar classes online, there is also a valuable comfort factor, as well. Think of the tremendous convenience for doctors by having expert classes video taped live at actual seminars available to them online—anywhere, anytime.
An admitted “seminar junkie,” I know that seminars typically mean wading through about 80 percent of what you’re not interested in to get to the 20 percent that you truly need or want to hear. In offering video seminars “by the class”, we have solved that problem. Now, doctors essentially customize their own practice building, post graduate and license renewal seminars by selecting only those classes that interest them …and, they get to stay home and save money, too.
Our online video seminar classes also solved two other problems. Every weekend there are dozens of seminars available on a smorgasbord of subjects. Most doctors want to attend a number of these great seminars, but just can’t fit all of them into their schedules. At www.MBAchiropractic.com doctors can take all the classes they want (we currently offer over 145 classes on a wide range of subjects) and never have to leave home.
TAC: Sounds great. What do you think the long-term implications are for chiropractic and chiropractors for utilizing this type of technology?
Fernandez: What we have accomplished is truly innovative and revolutionary. Our site will become the “vehicle” in which practice management consultants, license renewal firms, vendors and post-graduate educators will deliver their courses and seminars. Viewing seminars and classes online is the future of chiropractic education. Just as our profession evolved from manual, intensive labor to computer technology in their offices, so it will evolve from going to seminars to having seminars come to them via their home or office computer.
This new advance will not only make it easier for doctors to enhance their knowledge of the philosophy, art and science of chiropractic as well as their management and practice-building skills, but it will also save them 70-80 percent of the associated travel costs. As doctors increase their personal skills and knowledge, their practices will grow and so will the chiropractic awareness within their communities.
Our www.MBAchiropractic.com site also gives beginning doctors the business skills they will need to run and market their new practices. This site gives them affordable access to the “hows” of the best practice consultants, and allows them to start learning these vital principles months before they actually graduate from chiropractic college. The quicker a doctor can “come out of the shoot” with this knowledge, the less money he or she will lose through “trial and error.”
TAC: Anything else about MBAchiropractic.com you want to add?
Fernandez: Our site includes the talents and expert knowledge of accomplished instructors who teach classes on technique, nutrition, rehab, X-ray, wellness, sports, personal injury, workers’ compensation injury and a number of other subjects. Doctors throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, England, New Zealand, Japan and any other country will now be able to tap into this enormous library of talent for pennies. (Doctors from these countries are already experiencing the benefits of using www.MBAchiropractic.com).
I would like to make another important point. Many vendors have developed great products that can help chiropractors in their practice. However, it is very difficult for doctors to sort through and find those new products that best serve their patients. And, before www.MBAchiropractic.com, it was pretty much impossible for doctors to learn about those great products developed outside of their own country. While some vendors exhibit their products at seminars, they can only talk to one doctor at a time; and the amount of time a doctor can spend at one booth is also limited. Therefore, we are making our site available to companies wanting to demonstrate their products in video format so that doctors all over the world can become more intimately acquainted with them and be able to make better choices.
Many products also require instructions on how to use them. Vendors are using our site to teach doctors how to effectively use their products. This service saves vendors millions of dollars, which results in lower prices for our doctors.
Just imagine these scenarios. Beginning doctors want to know the “A through Z’s” on how to open a practice. Now they can sit on the couch, put their one-year-old in their arms, eat a hot dog and learn how to open their practices…all at the same time!
An established doctor has an important deposition tomorrow, but his/her consulting firm doesn’t teach that particular subject for four months. All the doctor has to do is “click” on our deposition video before going to bed that night and he/she is prepared in the morning. Doctors are always hiring CA’s, but few understand the intricacies of finding, hiring and training them.
In growing a practice, most doctors will also need to eventually find, hire and train an associate. Colleges want and need to expand their post-graduate education programs to all chiropractors worldwide. All of this has been made possible through www.MBAchiropractic.com. The possibilities are unlimited!