Consider everything that must be in place in order for your chiropractic business to function smoothly: a physical space, a means for patients to find you and make appointments, liability insurance, following federal and state regulations, and so much more. It’s enough to intimidate anyone with limited experience in practice management.
A 2008 study examined the average business skills of 64 chiropractors and found that “the chiropractic profession needs significantly greater business and practice management skills.”1 A practice management checklist may be the beginning of a larger business plan and help get your practice off on the right foot or back on the right track.2 This checklist should be reviewed annually or semi-annually. Following are some suggestions to get you started.
- Your office. Whether you are leasing your space, or you own it, there are important considerations. If you are leasing, do you have a contract and do you know what if any restrictions exist? If you own, are your property taxes current?
- Maintenance. Who handles necessary repairs? Is there a list of who to call should the plumbing malfunction, your table breaks, or the photocopier stops working? Put together a contact list for emergency repairs, along with a list of who should be notified if repairs are required.
- Office atmosphere. Even office decor and furniture is important to help patients feel comfortable. Keep a running list of furniture, hardware, and where items were purchased for reference when you are ready to grow or replace worn-out items.3
- Permits and paperwork. Every business has to have certain paperwork filed in order to avoid fees and penalties levied by local municipal authorities, states, and federal entities. For instance, who is in charge of making sure your business license is renewed each year? List all of the permits, licenses, and other paperwork that must be current in order to operate your business and indicate when they must be renewed.
- Utility bills. Make a list of each of the utilities your office uses. Be sure to include the providers, their contact information, and your account numbers.
- Service providers. You may have or require an accountant, an attorney, or perhaps you work with a business consultant. Having their names, contact information, and role with your business together in one place makes an easy reference.
- Insurance. Do you carry liability insurance that will protect you if a client falls coming through your door? Are the premiums current? List your insurance agent’s name, your policy number and all other information relevant to insuring your physical office.
- Healthcare specific laws. As a DC you are bound by the regulations of HIPAA, HITECH, and other healthcare-specific laws. List all of the regulations that you are subject to follow, and identify who is responsible for seeing that each regulation is followed.
- Resources. What resources do you have to turn to for guidance on risk mitigation? If you have practice management or EHR software, the vendor may provide some support. Associations and professional organizations may offer resources. Put together a list of who can help when you have a problem or a question regarding risk management.
These are just a few areas of practice management. You will have others to consider, such as education, tools and equipment, or employees. Each chiropractic practice is unique, and requires a different practice management checklist. Beginning with these three areas can help you start the checklist that is perfect for your business.
1 Henson S, Pressley M, Korfmann S. Business Training and Education Needs of Chiropractors. J Chiropr Educ. 2008; 22(2): 145–151
2 Stevens D. “How to Develop a Successful Business Plan for Your Practice.” http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/pi/article.php?id=55960. Published June 2012. Accessed July 2015.
3 Houghton V. “The Blank Slate.” American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=2909. Published January 2009. Accessed July 2015.
4 Necela T. “Assessing Your Chiropractic Compliance Risks.” http://www.strategicdc.com/assessing-your-chiropractic-compliance-risks/. Published December 2013. Accessed July 2015.