Complementary and alternative medicine has exploded in popularity over the past 20 years.
What once was considered experimental is now often seen as compatible with traditional Western (allopathic) medicine.
Naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal remedies, and yes, even chiropractic care have been included in this diverse group of healthcare options.
Of all the treatments associated with CAM, there is none more well-known, accepted, and respected than chiropractic care. For many, chiropractors exemplify the best of what is possible from a complementary healthcare profession. DCs have professional autonomy, cultural authority, significant evidence supporting our efficacy, and (to a greater or lesser extent) the ability to receive third-party reimbursement.
Collaborating with other CAM providers should be a routine part of your chiropractic practice. Many chiropractors receive a substantial amount of referrals from other CAM providers thanks to the complementary aspects of our care. Fostering this relationship, while keeping a patient-centered focus, will pay you dividends in multiple ways. The relationships you hold with other CAM providers can lead to exposure to new potential patients, new opportunities to showcase your practice, and ultimately better patient outcomes.
Your collaborative process should include both patient and practice communication. These are essential to fostering relationships that are fruitful for patients and providers alike.
Patient communication should be a collaborative process that focuses exclusively on patient care. This can include items such as sending case notes, progress updates, diagnosis and treatment plans, and eventually discharge or referral.
Ensure that all your patient communication remains HIPAA complaint. If you have questions regarding this, it is strongly recommended you consult with a healthcare attorney. Once you have established proper process and procedures regarding the exchange of this information, immediately put it into action.
Focus on the patient
Establishing efficient patient communication between providers creates and maintains an accurate record of the patient’s healthcare. Every DC knows the challenges posed by splintered healthcare communication and record keeping. At best, it can cause confusion for the patient, and at worst, it could result in potentially fatal miscues. This is why doing your part to maintain and communicate an accurate record of the care in your office is so important.
Also, don’t forget the social proof that an accurate healthcare record displays. Fortunately, chiropractic care is one of the most effective and safe healthcare professions. You see every day how a chiropractic adjustment can improve a life. It’s one of the reasons why being a chiropractor is so rewarding. Don’t let the opportunity to showcase your work go to waste.
Communication during your patient’s treatment plan inherently gives you the opportunity to show the progress and results accomplished in your office.
Focus on other providers
Next, take time to focus on provider communication, which is another way of saying relationship-building.
Establishing a strong network of like- minded providers in your area will open a variety of referral options for your patients. It should also increase the number of incoming referrals as your network grows and becomes stronger.
Collaborative marketing opportunities can both reduce cost and improve the quantity of marketing events that you participate in each year. There are likely a variety of marketing channels and events you currently take part in that other providers don’t know about. And vice versa. By partnering, you can increase your presence and showcase your practice to audiences that haven’t been exposed to your message before.
Also, by partnering you have the ability to greatly reduce the costs associated with attending these events and opportunities. Never underestimate the power of a strong local provider network.
Showcasing monthly research updates regarding musculoskeletal care can further position your practice while also providing tremendous value for other CAM providers. You know how difficult it can be to keep up with the latest research. Think of the value you provide when you deliver monthly clinical research updates for other providers in your community. There is perhaps no better way to position your practice and establish yourself as the local leader in chiropractic care than by delivering value to other providers.
By definition, collaboration is the act of working together with someone else. As shown above, there are a variety of ways you can form collaborative relationships with other CAM providers in your community. When you focus on the two avenues of patient and provider communication, you will have the best opportunity to accelerate your practice growth while improving your patients’ clinical outcomes.
Jeffrey Langmaid, DC, is the founder of The Evidence Based Chiropractor, a leader in chiropractic communication and research. He is also a chiropractor with Laser Spine Institute based in Tampa, Florida, with seven facilities across the country. He has helped more than 60,000 people find relief from neck and back pain, and can be contacted through laserspineinstitute.com.