Q How should I begin to market my MD/DC practice?
A Some people believe thousands and thousands of dollars must be spent to let everyone know about the new multi-discipline clinic on the block. However, I have found that the most effective marketing/advertising plans are successful based on how they are set up, not on how many dollars are spent.
For practices that are already established in a specific geographic area and are making the transition to a MD/DC practice, the initial marketing dollars should be invested in the “current active and inactive patient base.” These patients are already familiar with your practice, and they like and trust you as a doctor. Your challenge is to show them that you have now developed yet another level of expertise in your clinic for their benefit. By educating this part of your patient base about why you’re making the transition to a multi-discipline practice, your patients will realize your commitment and will be more likely to rededicate all their health-care needs to you. Start by educating these patients through a direct-mail campaign, including a personalized letter, brochures, newsletters, etc.
Q Can my chiropractic patients be seen by my MD?
A Any and all patients can be seen by your MD. Primarily, however, the issue is more a question of medical necessity as well as patient treatment authorization. If a patient has a condition that requires “medical attention” (evaluation, treatment, second opinion, etc.), you are under obligation to refer him/her to an MD. The next question is whether the patient agrees. Your obligation is a legal, professional and moral decision. However, the patient however has the right to refuse the care from your MD.
Q Can my MD demand to have an assistant present during all patient exams?
A Absolutely. Contrary to chiropractic physical exams, which are in the greater majority for musculoskeletal conditions, medical examination can consist of various procedures, which can require a patient to be fully undressed. For example, a patient with a chief complaint of vaginal infection may require a thorough examination from a male physician. To avoid any possible complaints, an assistant should be present. Medical practices in general have full-time assistants (such as medical assistants, RNs, LPNs, etc.) to aid the doctor in physical examinations.
Q My MD would like to draw blood from patients. What supplies will I need?
A The local laboratories in your area will be more than happy to accommodate your needs.
Here is a list of what you will need:
- a centrifuge;
- drawing vile;
- a butterfly kit;
- a tourniquet;
- a refrigerator;
- billing forms;
- needle disposal container(s).