From legal to insurance, what is involved before you get the wheels rolling with a mobile chiropractic clinic
The highlight of having a mobile chiropractic clinic is that you can take your office to your patient’s location. Whether they are at home or at work, you are able to bring chiropractic care to them in the comfort of their premises.
From your patient’s perspective, you are bringing the office to them, so they don’t have to sit in your waiting room or be stuck in traffic driving to your office. For the mobile chiropractor this model requires less set up than a brick-and-mortar business and it takes away a lot of the pressure and issues you have in a conventional practice. A mobile chiropractic clinic flips everything you do in a conventional “brick and mortar” practice. This model allows you the freedom and flexibility to design a better lifestyle for you. It allows you to have more work life balance and also take care of the ideal clients you always wanted.
Let’s talk about a few important business components that are required for you to start your own mobile practice.
Mobile chiropractic clinic: legal obligations
Beside a name for your mobile business, one of the key components that you have to consider is what is the best business structure you want for your mobile practice. There are a few business structures to choose from depending on which state you are going to practice in. You can set up a sole proprietor, an LLC or a corporation.
Note that in some states, professionals can only set up a professional corporation. Each business structure has their pros and cons based on legal and financial taxation standpoints. Picking the right business structure is important and it is something you need to decide before you are ready to register for your business. So, consult an attorney that is familiar with chiropractic solo practices when setting up your business structure.
Next you have to get insurance coverage for your mobile chiropractor clinic. You still need to have professional liability insurance (malpractice) and general liability insurance (third-party property coverage) like all conventional practices.
In addition, you will require auto insurance if you are using your personal vehicle for your mobile business and, depending on what percentage of time you use your personal vehicle for your mobile business, you could qualify for a commercial auto insurance policy. Commercial auto insurance can offer you a different layer of coverage. Consult your insurance company and see what they can recommend for your needs.
Technique and tables
How do you translate a conventional practice into a mobile chiropractic clinic? How are you going to bring the mobile office to your clients? Sounds impossible but it is not. Let’s break it down so you see how you can get started with a mobile practice.
The first thing to consider is the type of techniques that you are going to practice. Are you a manual adjustor vs. an instrument adjustor? Consider the specific techniques and if they require a special table. If so, are there portable tables that suit your needs.
If a specific table is not required, think about what kind of patients are you going to see. Are they pediatric vs. sports-related vs. general family patients? Take all these into considerations when selecting the table required for your mobile practice.
With your technique in mind and the selected table, now let’s consider the type of diagnostic or assessment tools that are required for you to bring to your appointments. Think about the type of tools that you need to bring to do a comprehensive full-scope assessment on your clients. It could be a blood pressure cuffs or a handheld equipment or other chiropractic tools that you think are required for your assessment.
I want you to think about the absolute tools that you need to get the job done. Think about the type of patients that you want to work with and the essential tools that you will need to use. Also, think about diagnostic assessment that you can refer out. For instance, do you have an X-ray center that you trust to send your patients to get imaging done.
Treatment tools and accessories
The next component to look at is what you need to provide the actual chiropractic care or services — looking at treatment tools and the accessories required for your patient’s care.
Do you want to do just adjusting, or do you want to incorporate some other services like portable modality, soft tissue tools or rehab equipment? What are the specific tools that you need along with the type of accessories that you can add to your treatment tools? Simple accessories can be hot and cold packs, soft tissue gels, sport tapes, resistance bands, etc. What do you need to provide your services onsite for your patients?
You can also consider offering items for purchase. Things like offering shoe insoles, cervical pillows, dietary supplements, etc.
You will need technology for documentation, scheduling, SOAP notes, billing, etc. You want to think of this as paperless as much as possible. In order to do that, you will need a laptop or some type of tablet as some software does not allow for mobile access.
The tablet or laptop comes in handy when your patient did not fill out their intake form in advance or when the spouse decided to go under your care while you are there. Also, there are times when the clients are not comfortable putting their credit card info on file and you can add them into your software at the end of the appointment.
Another important aspect is to have your own wi-fi or hotspot. This is very important because if you need to access your software portal, you do not want to be asking your patients for their private wi-fi access — it just seems less professional. Having your own wi-fi or hotspot makes your mobile practice look like a professional virtual office. Furthermore, if you are seeing yourself doing documentation and charting between your mobile appointments, having your own wi-fi or hotspot is essential.
Mobile pros and cons
Not only does this model have low start-up and overhead costs, it is also a unique and niche business model, and your potential patients will be able to find you if they are looking for mobile chiropractor as everything today has an app, and virtually every business has moved to mobile to serve their community, especially during this pandemic.
With the mobility and convenience that a mobile practice is offering, you are able to bring your mobile office anywhere your patient’s desire. If your client is working from home, you can go to their home, or there may be times they need you to go to their work office. The most important aspect is that you are spending quality time with them, they trust you and you have become their go-to clinician for advice. Hence, you have higher patient retention, which means you are not constantly having to look for new patients.
The downside of the mobile model is that not all techniques can translate into a mobile practice. Some specific techniques require a specific table to perform the adjustment. Some equipment required also might not have a portable option. It is obvious that this is not a high-volume practice, so if you are thinking of seeing 200-300 patients a week, this model is definitely not for you.
A mobile chiropractic clinic is a premium service for patients, allowing you to create a fulfilling practice you love, and a unique concept for delivering chiropractic care. It gives your patients the experience they may not get in a conventional practice, and you have the freedom and time to build the ideal practice of your dreams.
SIMON TEO, DC, is a 100% cash-based mobile practice entrepreneur and mentor. He is the owner of Get Adjust Now and has been a mobile chiropractor since 2016. He is on a mission to help chiropractic graduates start their own mobile practice and design their ideal lifestyle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through getadjustnow.com/providers.