I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this specific question. I was trying to come up with the ideal way to package what I offer so that my message would be completely congruent when talking to clients and people in my community about what it is that I provide as a chiropractor. Was I a back and neck pain doctor? Was I a family doctor seeing people from womb to tomb? Was I a wellness or subluxation-based doctor? I had so many questions about my identity as a doctor of chiropractic that I didn’t know where to turn for my answers.
I remember hearing speakers from the stage talking about having large wellness-oriented practices. They described practices that had attracted individuals and families that were interested in living the chiropractic lifestyle and were staying for wellness care. At the same time I heard the message that you have to meet people where they are. If they came in with their complaint of whatever was ailing them, it was best to try and relate this back to a subluxation and explain how we were caring for the cause versus treating the symptom.
I would leave seminars very excited with visions of how I was going to return to my community and create this paradigm shift within my practice. I truly believed and still do that I could make this shift and create the wellness-oriented practice of my dreams. The challenges that I have had, however, have been quite large and I don’t feel that I am alone when I say that. I have spent a great deal of time talking to doctors and visiting their offices and many other doctors share my quest to deliver this bigger vision of what we—as chiropractors—have to offer.
Here are some observations that I have made that may be a benefit to those of you who are trying to make this same transition and also have stumbled along the way. What ever your message is, it has to be consistent in order not to confuse the people that you attract into your office.
- The name of your office – Whatever name you choose for your facility will reflect the type of people that you attract. If the name is “XYZ neck and back pain clinic” it will attract someone different than “XYZ family chiropractic.” Neither one is better than the other, but they certainly will send a vastly different message to the public.
- The types of posters, brochures and literature in your office – The text of the materials that you present in your office will only serve to enhance whatever image that you are trying to present. The materials people read while they are within your space have to reflect the same message that you would like them to understand about the product that you are delivering.
- The communication from both you and your staff – What you say both verbally and non-verbally will also speak volumes about what your mission is within your office. What kind of exam you are performing, lectures you are giving, elevator speech your saying or table talk that you are using will very clearly define the kinds of people that will come to see you and stay with you.
- The presentation of yourself and your office – Do you use technology such as patient self check in procedures, electronic health records, digital x-ray, chiropractic software, sEMG, thermography etc.? Is your adjusting room open or closed? Is your furniture modern or contemporary? Do you have a website? Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Do you wear a clinic jacket or are you in jeans?
Take the time to truly define what it is that you would like to see for the long term vision of your practice. Whatever your ideal picture is for your future, begin to assess all of your procedures and see if they are compatible with this ideal scene. After much reflection, it is my true belief that whatever the people perceive about your service is what they expect you to deliver. If you need any help please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know how difficult this can be.
Dr. Meinhofer is a customer sales representative for Integrated Practice Solutions; the makers of the ChiroTouch ChiroPractic Software, a complete practice management software system designed to make your job easier and your patients' experience better.