Diagnostics and you
Boosting your credibility — and your income
by Ronald Grisanti, DC
Imagine having an office full of compliant patients who rarely miss their appointments, gladly pay cash for your services, and go out of their way to brag about the value of your services to all their friends and family members.
For most chiropractic physicians this would be a dream come true. And it can happen — if you remember one simple axiom of patient management: The degree of patient compliance is in direct proportion to the degree of clinical diagnostic testing.
In other words: The more comprehensive your examination — including outside diagnostic tests such as blood tests, diagnostic imaging, functional medicine testing — the greater the potential that the patient will follow through with treatment.
THE VALUE OF DIAGNOSTICS
If you think that a great report of findings and a dynamic healthcare class compare to the power of providing excellent diagnostics, you simply have to look at the fact that chiropractic has yet to break the 10 percent mark of public acceptance to see that we have failed miserably.
Patients are trained to accept the written word through blood tests, MRI reports, and lab reports. They consider the objective test paramount in how they view the credibility of their doctor. The lab test with your name on it escalates you to a level equivalent to the “image” of what most patients view as doctor.
WHEN TO TEST?
You would not run a blood test on a patient with a simple neck injury, of course. But you would be warranted to run tests on patients who have not responded to your treatment and may be suffering from a host of other problems that may be compromising their full recovery.
For instance, the following conditions are well known to aggravate a full recovery:
Chronic viral, bacterial, and/or parasitic infection;
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone imbalances or deficiencies;
Environmental and chemical allergies;
Increased intestinal permeability;
Fatty acid deficiencies;
Poor liver function; and
Iron deficiency anemia.
INNOVATIVE LAB TESTS
As chiropractic physicians, we have the opportunity to order a variety of lab tests because of our professional degree and training. The results of these lab tests will many times be the missing piece of the clinical puzzle in helping restore a patient back to health.
Some of the more common lab tests that can help your patients and enhance your credibility include:
• Women hormone panel (estrogen, progesterone, DHEA). The test provides a focused overview of hormonal balance in both pre-and post-menopausal women.
• Male hormone panel (testosterone, DHEA). This profile can uncover disrupted testosterone secretion rhythms caused by aging, chronic illness, infection, toxic exposure, smoking, trauma, and many other factors.
• Comprehensive digestive stool analysis. An advanced, noninvasive diagnostic tool that can help practitioners improve prevention and target treatment strategies for gastrointestinal disorders. The analysis can identify the relationship between digestive symptoms and systemic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue.
• Red blood mineral test. The test provides a convenient and accurate window for gauging both long- and short-term toxic exposure and nutrient deficiencies. The test measures damaging toxins, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, along with crucial mineral nutrients such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
• IgG Food allergy test. This test identifies high levels of antibodies to specific food and environmental allergens that cause immediate allergic reactions. These are called IgE antibodies. The profile also measures IgG antibodies, which are associated with delayed allergic reactions — the “hidden allergies” that do not show up on conventional allergy tests.
• IgE mold allergy test. This profile is used to identify 15 of the most commonly isolated molds.
• Organic acid analysis. This test can reveal metabolic distress-associated generalized pain and fatigue, which may arise in response to toxic exposure, nutrient imbalances, digestive dysfunction, and other causes.
• Adrenal stress index (cortisol and DHEA). This profile evaluates bioactive levels of the body’s important stress hormones, cortisol, and DHEA. It serves as a critical tool for uncovering biochemical imbalances that can underlie anxiety, chronic fatigue, obesity, diabetes, and a host of other clinical conditions.
• Bone resorption test (for osteoporosis). This identifies elevated levels of bone loss before excessive damage has occurred.
• Detoxification profile. This test provides a comprehensive profile of the body’s detoxification capacity and potential susceptibility to oxidative damage.
• Comprehensive urine element profile. This test measures urinary excretion of 15 nutrient elements and 20 toxic metals, including “classic” toxics such as lead, mercury, and arsenic.
• Toxic element clearance profile. This measures urinary excretion of 20 toxic metals.
If you are not using lab testing in your clinical management of your patients you are likely to overlook a key piece of your patient’s health puzzle, and you are also losing a significant amount of income derived from these innovative tests.
Incorporating lab testing will position you and your practice as being unique. You will be recognized as providing the most comprehensive health care in your town.
You may find these laboratories helpful to you as you perform diagnostics on your patients:
You should, of course, check with your state board concerning your scope of practice to perform diagnostics.
Ronald Grisanti, DC, DABCO, MS, is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist with a master’s degree in nutritional science. He has created a Web-based program to help chiropractors develop a nutritional, functional medicine-based practice, called Chiropractic Mentors (www.chiropracticmentors.com). He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his Web site.