The evolution of technology is shaping the future of chiropractic.
Until the last decade, chiropractors were generally uninterested in technology, but as times have changed, we’ve moved to adopt new software and technical approaches.
For example, my first office was an adjusting room in a clinic belonging to the same doctor who sent me off to chiropractic school. In that room was a hi lo table and a 14-by-36-inch X-ray view box. That was the technology, period.
Fast-forward 40 years and you’ll see today’s clinics equipped with hi lo tables that include on-board micro-processors, allowing the table to adjust to the treating doctor’s height.
We’ve gone from having no computers or even the Internet to patients quickly booking their own appointments online. When patients arrive at the office, they use a touch pad to sign in and then are escorted to a patient orientation room to view a three-minute video describing exactly what they will experience.
One of the main reasons potential patients hesitate to go to a chiropractor is the fear that an adjustment may hurt. Educational videos can show how easy the adjustment is and put the patient completely at ease.
As you begin the examination, you may use surface electromyography (sEMG), another new, wireless technology that gives you a picture of the patient’s muscle patterns. When you’ve compiled your findings and are ready to start adjusting the patient, it’s likely you’ll use a tablet computer to record precisely which adjustments were delivered and assign the correct charge. All this information is either sent to the office server or stored in the cloud.
Technology has befriended us in the research world, too. We now use PET scans to see changes in the brain during an adjustment, offering an ever-clearer picture of exactly why and how chiropractic works.
Thanks to technology, we can even show that adjustments reduce inflammation. Although we may have fought them at first, these advancements in equipment and electronics are now closely integrated into everything we do, spanning from research laboratories to clinician offices.
What was impossible just a few short years ago is now at our fingertips, and is affordable even for new practitioners. Sophisticated Google Analytics make our network a useful marketing tool as well, allowing doctors the opportunity to monitor the number of people viewing their practice websites.
While you can still attend a variety of in-person seminars, you also have the convenience of choice when it comes to continuing education (CE). If distance or scheduling interferes with your ability to make it to an event, you can still earn your CE credits online.
In the instrument adjusting world, mechanical instruments have succeeded quite well, producing a “tuned thrust” for the patient. Yet technology intervened again with a major breakthrough: the electronic, cordless instrument that incorporates a microprocessor and produces the perfect thrust for every patient.
Technology has come a long way and many advantages have emerged in this electronic era. We’re gathering essential data and learning more every day about the phenomena clinicians have been observing in practice for years. This data, in turn, builds trust and confidence in chiropractic, making it easier to accomplish the most important thing of all: providing the best care for our fellow human beings.
Arlan W. Fuhr, DC, is credited with developing the Activator Method Chiropractic Technique, a widely used instrument adjusting technique, and the associated Activator Adjusting Instrument. Recognized worldwide for his contributions to the chiropractic profession, Fuhr is also the co- founder and CEO of Activator Methods International. He can be reached through activator.com.