Chiropractic offers more opportunity to engage patients than at any other time in history.
The profession’s diversity of training and its philosophy of wellness have sparked a revolution in care. But now you must fight to maintain your place at the table.
As with other medical professionals, DCs are evolving to change the way their unique healthcare services are delivered. After all, chiropractors started out as outlaws, with many of the early practitioners being jailed and publicly humiliated.
Today, innovative DCs such as Scott Rosa who founded the Trauma Imaging Foundation, Datis Kharrazian who works in endocrinology and the immune system, and Robert Melillo with his work in neurology, have built on and enhanced the work of the pioneers who came before them. Each of them—among others—has established a niche practice in a specialized field. What they share is the chiropractic philosophy of natural healing. For these doctors, it’s less about their adjusting technique, and more about educating the public about what they do.
Increasingly, chiropractors are specializing in a multitude of sub-disciplines. Now, patients are visiting DCs for conditions such as vertigo, scoliosis, metabolic disorders, and concussions.
This is part of why Americans have shifted their views on natural healing versus allopathic approaches, and in response you have an opportunity to shift how you deliver chiropractic in the future. Through the opportunities afforded by specialized services, you can start to work together clinically with other professionals in a way that was more difficult to do in the past.
This may be one reason you are witnessing a shift away from solo practices to multi-practitioner offices; not necessarily multi-credentialed, but multidisciplinary nonetheless. The prevailing trend is for successful offices to co-manage cases within the walls of their own facilities, with chiropractors who have unique subspecialties.
For example: In my New York City office, we have six chiropractors who have different practice niches. We each attract certain types of patients because of our specialties, but often find that our patients tend to have multiple issues and they are happy to find experts in natural healing under one roof.
This is not to suggest that all DCs should form group practices, although there are benefits in doing that. The lesson is that chiropractic co-management is simply better for the patient, and likewise it’s better for the profession.
As my practice is focused on treating scoliosis, and my main interventions are spinal orthotics and postural rehab, I routinely co-manage many of my cases with either an upper cervical chiropractor or a chiropractic neurologist.
My advice is to consider what your niche is (or should be) and how you plan to let everyone know about it. The following are a few steps you can take.
Identify the three Ps
Every practice is made up of three elements: people, processes, and products. Your uniqueness may lie in one or all of these areas. The first P— people—is you.
Identify your unique qualities and market them. If you’re great with kids, or if you’re an athlete, let people know. Patients will be attracted to your practice and other professionals are more likely to refer you if they know your background.
The next P—processes—are the procedures that set you apart. Whether in regard to how you process a new patient or the unique chiropractic analyses you offer, the process is part of your identity.
And the last P—products—is for your chiropractic care and lifestyle instruction. This might also include supplement lines, your technique, or orthotic services.
Market and advertise your niche
You might think marketing and advertising are the same but they are different things. Marketing is the process of preparing your product for the marketplace. It includes things such as understanding your demographic and setting prices.
If your ideal demographic is adults aged 45 to 65, marketing on Instagram and Snapchat may not be ideal. Your materials and wording should be geared toward persons in that age group.
If properly developed, marketing can better target your advertising to your audience. The colors, logos, and designs you choose are all elements you can also align with your target audience’s interests.
Keep in mind that advertising has changed dramatically over the past decade. It is now done almost exclusively online. Local newspapers, radio, and TV spots have their place, but it is your internet presence that is currently king.
Chiropractors are evolving to offer subspecialties that focus on distinct fields of study. Identify your niche and let your colleagues know by being active in your state association and local business groups.
Find out what makes your colleagues unique and be an advocate for their practices as well. Be generous in referring to them; they’ll love you for it, and they’ll return the favor. It’s a win-win situation.
Marc Lamantia, DC is an expert in nonsurgical scoliosis care. In 2006, he earned a diplomate in chiropractic neurology, and in 2008 graduated with a Master’s Degree in Neuropsychology Rehabilitation. Lamantia is the science advisor for the non-profit Scoliosis Care Foundation, and is a certified Schroth Method practitioner and Spinecor bracing specialist. He is a co- founder of Scoliosis Systems LLP, a leader in nonsurgical scoliosis treatment. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through scoliosissystems.com.