Most chiropractors find their practice in a transitional stage because of the radical changes taking place in the new healthcare economy. For the past 25 years, most chiropractors have enjoyed the benefit of their patients having some, if not most, of their care covered by their health-insurance benefits. Although these benefits have decreased over the years, the expectations of consumers have not. It’s more important than ever to focus on creating a message that is clear and easily understood by today’s healthcare consumer.
With more people having high-deductible insurance policies, if they have health insurance at all, there has never been a more important time to teach people about the importance of better health through better living. In fact, a growing number of DCs are finding that teaching their community about wellness is an opportunity to expand their practice.
Over the years, many holistically oriented chiropractors have been relegated to following the path of least financial resistance by providing the certain services that are reimbursed at the highest rates and require the least effort. This is why so many DCs have focused their business models around treating auto injuries and workers’ compensation injuries. Not to say there is anything wrong with making money, but for a doctor there is a fine line between providing what a patient needs and providing what an insurance company is willing to pay for.
Welcome to the new healthcare economy.
If you are not already familiar with the term consumer-driven healthcare (CDHC), you should. CDHC describes a rapidly growing part of today’s healthcare economy that will absolutely influence the way you practice, the way you charge for services, and the way you educate your community. It’s a brand-new game, and while many doctors are clinging to the last remnants of the past, new doctors have the advantage of establishing their practices based on this new healthcare economy.
Helping people discover wellness is the way.
Hundreds of DCs across the country are teaching patients (and potential patients) about the risks of lifestyle-related preventable disease and medical bankruptcy. This approach can accelerate a new practice’s growth curve exponentially and create a more stable long-term patient base.
Consider these three ways to grow your practice:
1. Attract more new patients.
2. Increase the amount you collect per visit.
3. Increase the length of time a patient remains a patient of yours.
When you implement strategies that address all three methods, your practice grows exponentially. By positioning yourself as a wellness doctor and your practice as a wellness center, you can market to 100 percent of the population and are not limited to the smaller market that requires the services of a chiropractor.
When you provide recommendations for additional products and services at your wellness center, especially products and services that are consumable, your patients will spend money at your center as opposed to retailers.
Since wellness is a habit that lasts a lifetime, you will retain your patients for much longer. Even though most chiropractors would agree that receiving chiropractic care is something to do for a lifetime, that’s not yet the perception of the public.
Consider positioning your office as a community wellness center that helps people improve their health and quality of life and reduces their risk to today’s most pressing health concerns such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and chronic pain. I’m not saying that you focus on treating these diseases; I’m saying that these conditions are considered preventable, lifestyle-related conditions. People can reduce their risk of these conditions when you help them make better lifestyle choices.
Increasing evidence supports the notion that DCs can make great wellness doctors by focusing on guiding people to make better lifestyle choices and helping them stay accountable to getting results. You’ll be on the fast track to success when you start your practice off the right way.