A collaborative approach focusing on both clinical strategies and business strategies allows chiropractic interns to move forward with clarity and confidence
If you’ve never worked with chiropractic interns before, but would like to mentor a chiropractor — we’ve got you covered on what you need to know. If you haven’t already, first read Part I to this series.
Thomas Tozer, DC, and Robyn Tozer, clinic director, are co-owners of Imperium Chiropractic, a chiropractic group located in northern Wisconsin. What follows is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
What are the keys to developing chiropractic interns?
Experience has taught us that expectations must be set prior to the beginning of the internship. Meet with the student in advance of agreeing to become a preceptor. What does the intern hope to accomplish as a result of the process? What does the training doctor expect from the intern?
Once the expectations are defined, develop a training schedule with weekly objectives, a clear training structure, and measurable goals. This allows the training to be detailed with a purpose.
You want to create a learning environment that motivates and inspires. An internship is the last leg of the chiropractic school race, and you want to create a positive experience that transitions the intern from student to doctor.
What are the biggest mistakes that DCs can make when working with or developing their interns?
Chiropractic interns are not free or cheap labor; they are students looking to learn and continue to improve upon their skills.
Working with interns is not a way to buy or save time within your practice, it is rather a time commitment that should be approached with a well thought out, step-by-step plan.
Does the business side of chiropractic come into the equation for interns?
While the focus of an internship is often geared towards obtaining clinical experience, an area that is often overlooked is education and exposure to the business side of practice. Without a practice, there is no business, and without a business, there is no practice.
They are one and of the same and equal amounts of focus, attention, and a willingness to learn should be given to each. Just as you would not teach someone to bake without training them how to use the oven, you should not teach a doctor without training them how to build and grow a business.
An approach we have implemented that has proven to be successful is an added business tract that requires all of our chiropractic interns to train with me, our clinic director. This business tract is a hands-on step-by-step approach that brings clarity to the complicated and sometimes scary world of business. It is designed as a plug-and-play to fit either an intern who has already made decisions and commitments to the next steps in their career, or the intern who is still uncertain and seeking clarity around their future.
This tract dives into:
- How to identify your ideal community and ideal location
- How to identify and find your ideal patient
- How to identify opportunities within your community
- Identifying clinic hours that support the needs of the ideal patient
- Laying out the cost of starting a practice, from identifying equipment needs and wants to building square footage and costs
- How to approach financing
We look at developing a marketing approach on a limited budget and how to track marketing data to identify the best use of time, money, and resources. We tackle the benefits and draw backs of determining whether a cash practice, insurance practice, or a blend of both would be the best fit for the ideal patient identified within the ideal community. We address how to identify insurance networks within the ideal community and how to obtain the necessary information to determine whether the network can provide a mutually beneficial relationship between the doctor, patient, and payer.
We identify data and metrics that must be tracked beginning on day 1 that paint a clear picture of the health of the business. We identify how to calculate a collected dollar visit average and what that number means in relation to revenue, profits, overhead, and earning potential, just to name a few.
Over the course of several years, we have learned that a collaborative approach focusing on both clinical strategies and business strategies allows chiropractic interns to move forward with clarity and confidence.