Painters can talk about brushes and canvases for hours, mechanics seek out specialized wrenches for certain cars, and carpenters spend money on expensive tape measures. All specialists need specific tools in order to do their jobs well, and chiropractors, of course, are no exception.
The tools, equipment, and instruments required to operate an effective and efficient chiropractic office vary depending on every DC’s specialty and services offered. In all cases, an investment in (often expensive) tools is required.
Because chiropractors are chiefly concerned with patient care, it can be easy to forget that running a practice means running a business, and maintaining equipment is good business.
Studies have shown that paper barriers are important but not quite enough to keep bacteria off of tables. The use of antibacterial wipes serves a dual purpose, as using a wipe after each patient both cleans the tables and protects the next patient. For other instruments, special cleaning fluid or compressed air may be necessary for cleaning.
Following the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning is absolutely critical because many instruments are calibrated and possibly sensitive.
Equipment with moving parts is, obviously, more susceptible to wear than tables, chairs, or other solid furniture. It makes sense to set aside a little time every month or two to inspect the equipment around the office to make sure that moving parts move as they should and that all springs are tight, hydraulics are smooth, and nothing squeaks.
Some items may have replaceable parts that will lengthen the life of the tool. For example, handheld adjusting instruments often have replaceable rubber tips, which is the most likely part of the tool to wear out. Being able to replace specific parts on an as-needed basis protects the original investment in the tool and saves you from having to purchase an entirely new one.
Some equipment, like low level lasers, is self-calibrating; however, even self-calibrating lasers may need regular maintenance.
With a piece of equipment that represents as large an investment as a laser, following the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance guidelines is critical. It is always a good idea to learn about all required maintenance prior to purchasing a laser.
Computer hardware and software
Computers and all of the equipment and accessories connected to the network may well represent another large investment. Just as hardware must be maintained and cleaned, software also requires care. Depending on the system, regular backups may be required, as well as virus scans and other routine operations.
With the wide adoption of electronic health records (EHR) systems, and the requirements to maintain HIPPA compliance, most chiropractic offices are well acquainted with keeping patient information safe and protected. Keeping the system updated and running smoothly helps meet the requirements for compliance.
Even something as simple as dusting can protect an office’s computer network. Checking to make sure all cords, wires, and plugs are clear of dust and not twisted or otherwise compromised every month or two will help insure the office continues to function efficiently.
It’s easy to think of only radiology equipment, tables, lasers, and adjusting equipment as tools of the trade, but everything from the waiting room chairs to the ice packs make up the overall investment practitioners make in running an office. Protecting that investment to the greatest possible extent only makes sense.