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The global pandemic been hard for health care providers, and building resiliency in your practice and the chiropractic profession is key
The last six months have been trying for many health care providers. Navigating uncertainties around COVID-19, worrying about keeping yourself and patients safe, managing the changes to your personal and home life, as well as managing your business.
In particular, chiropractors are constantly adapting their private practice procedures in response to the pandemic and being responsible for providing patient care through unprecedented times. It’s important to take time from the day-to-day challenges to reflect on your business so that you can continue to build your practice’s resiliency and plan for future success.
How are you communicating with your potential patients?
Right now, potential chiropractic patients are living incredibly stressful lives. They have been at home, lacking social support, some with no access to their gyms and most with their normal lifestyle routines interrupted. In addition, many are in less-than-ideal work-from-home spaces which are creating negative health impacts. Never has the chiropractic profession had an opportunity to educate the public on the benefits of chiropractic care, the restoration of health and the importance of ongoing care to support a true wellness lifestyle.
Chiropractors should be “doubling down” on their marketing and communication efforts to get their message in front of a receptive audience of potential patients. Practice owners need to see this as a huge opportunity to build a practice and draw in more patients through smart and targeted marketing efforts. Focus on your practice’s strengths to create a message that connects with your future patient. For example, does your practice focus on nutrition? Great! Do you know how many people have been living off of fast food and at home delivery services? How can you help them improve their health through your programs? Your future patients need you now, more than ever — they just don’t know it yet.
Is your business ready to handle a resurgence?
When the pandemic hit, many of us were competing with other small businesses for PPE and everyday cleaning equipment. While access to cleaning supplies and PPE has increased markedly over the past few months, you need to keep a line of sight on your future supplies.
As a practice owner, you should anticipate a resurgence of COVID-19 and be ready to have all your clinic supplies on hand to avoid any potential business closures. Make sure to have conversions with your clinic supply vendors to understand what they have in stock and how long your orders would take to fill, and ship, should you have an increased need in the future. Knowing that cold and flu season are right around the corner, you may even decide that having excess stock of these items is necessary.
Having access to supplies doesn’t necessarily solve all of your problems. You should think about any practice modifications you may need should local, state or federal orders impact your daily operations. Do you have a plan to operate with less than 10 people in your clinic? Do you need a dedicated employee for cleaning clinic surfaces and how does that impact your profits and losses? A few states, at the height of COVID-19, placed heavy restrictions on the normal daily operations of a chiropractic clinic. Educate yourself on these changes and make sure your practice can integrate these new processes without interruption of your business.
Are you actively supporting the profession?
This last question is maybe the most important. If we are to build resiliency over the long term, we must be working together to grow and support the profession. Yes, developing your practice is important, and it certainly benefits the patients you serve in your community, but this success also provides you an opportunity to positively impact more than just those who seek your services.
How are we setting up future generations of chiropractors? Are we making education accessible and affordable for them? Are we supporting associations that go to battle on our behalf?
Finally, like marketing to those in your area, there is an even greater opportunity for us to communicate the benefits of chiropractic care to the masses. Chronic issues, poor nutrition, physical stress and traumatic injuries can be costly. However, with the early intervention and guidance of a chiropractor, many of these patients could be provided preventative measures that improve their outcomes and reduces costs.
A unified message
Our ability to work together, support future professionals and educate potential patients of chiropractic is critical to the sustained success of the profession. We must create a unified front, similar to other medical professionals, and consolidate our resources to create messages that increase consumer awareness to the benefits of chiropractic.
Together, we can use the lessons learned over the last year to build a resilient practice and profession.
Steven Knauf, DC, is executive director of chiropractic and compliance at The Joint Chiropractic. He began working at The Joint in 2011, and after spending four years as a chiropractor in-clinic, he took the role of senior doctor of chiropractic for 13 of The Joint Corp. clinics and, subsequently, was elevated to a director position at the corporate office. In August 2017 he was appointed by the governor to serve on the Arizona Board of Chiropractic Examiners, a position which he continues to hold.