San Diego, CA – January 13th, 2011 – ChiroTouch, the nation's leader in chiropractic software, has just released "Creating Alternative Revenue Streams for Your Practice," its latest article in its education series.Creating Alternative Revenue Streams for Your Practice
Now is a formative time in the practice of chiropractic. New medical regulations, tough economic times, and increasing scrutiny from regulatory agencies can make it seem virtually impossible to turn a profit. And in those practices that only rely on a single stream of revenue, this could certainly be difficult.
This is why many leading practices are realizing is exactly how important it is to offer what is known as holistic chiropractic service. This is not meant to be a turn into mercantilism a the expense of good chiropractic therapy, but rather, something that benefits your clients while generating an alternative revenue stream for your practice. There are many ways to offer holistic chiropractic service, including providing nutritional supplements, massage, or even demonstrations, and chiropractors are uniquely placed to provide such services to clients.
As one chiropractic commenter says, "Many chiropractic patients see value in alternative health techniques ... It might make sense to offer these additional services to patients as a holistic chiropractic practice. In fact, surveys of patients have found that they have a higher degree of trust in alternative health techniques that are recommended by their chiropractor."
If that's not enough to convince you, consider this: in the late 1990s, Americans were spending as much on alternative healthcare as they were on primary therapies, meaning that this is a truly golden opportunity for chiropractors to provide a legitimate, efficient service to patients rather than them having to seek it out from less reputable practitioners.
Nutrition and Supplements:
One excellent source of alternative revenue is nutritional services. Chiropractors know just how important proper nutrition is for the body to function properly, which is why over 75 percent of chiropractors already offer nutritional supplements as part of their therapy. Patients are also more likely to turn to their chiropractor for advice about nutrition and supplements rather than their general practitioner, since many primary care physicians are actually uncomfortable recommending such supplements because that's not their primary area of training. In fact, one study found that out of a general survey of health benefits associated with certain supplements completed by physicians, the average score was under 60 out of 100.
Another great benefit of providing nutritional supplements to patients as an alternative revenue stream is that they tend to be a long-term thing. Nutritional supplements are part of a lifestyle and require repeat purchases, so they can be a fairly reliable source of income. Additionally, many patients report having an increased sense of relationship with their chiropractor when they also receive nutritional supplements, which is good for the patient since they receive responsible, long-term care for their health and also good for your practice, since it leads to an increase in referrals and repeat business.
Acupuncture and Massage:
Another natural extension of chiropractic is acupuncture and massage. The body needs holistic care to be truly healthy, and providing alternative options to your patients can be extremely beneficial for both them and your practice. This is because the treatments make the patient feel better, and your chiropractic treatments are made increasingly effective through alternative therapeutic support.
There are two ways that you can do this. First, you can decide to subcontract out to independent massage and acupuncture workers. Of course, you have to do a great deal of background and research before allowing the workers access to your patient base, but once you find a few good ones you can work out a payment split or even a simple referral scheme. Second, you can choose to simply hire the massage workers or acupuncturists outright. With new HIPAA regulations, this can be a smart move, since anyone who has access to your patients' records have to be cleared.
Demonstrations are an alternative revenue stream that many chiropractors tend to ignore since it can have a degree of hucksterism if done improperly. However, this is an opportunity that you should not pass up, since it is not only a reliable source of alternative revenue, but can also serve as an excellent source of free advertising.
Of course, you have to do it with a degree of professionalism. You aren't expected to set up shop on a street corner; rather, you should seek out opportunities to network in your community. Many health food stores, organic grocery stores, and even libraries are starting to seek out health practitioners to give short demonstrations. Although it does take a little bit of work to put together a presentation, once you have several set up, you can bring your "show" virtually everywhere, and reach out to customer bases that you might not have previously considered.
Although alternative revenue streams are one of the most untapped opportunities on the market for chiropractors right now, there is a very important word of warning when it comes to providing them. You must always remember that you clients trust you as a medical practitioner, and you have the responsibility to not abuse that trust. If a patient needs a Vitamin D supplement for their bone health, then by all means recommend one. But if they don't, or even if they could benefit from it but don't actually need it, then you need to make them aware of that. Clients are extremely wary of being continually sold treatments and supplements that they don't think they need, and some professional organizations are also less than thrilled with the idea of chiropractors selling alternative health products.
So when it comes down to it, you have to be aware of your responsibility to your patients. Alternative treatments, special massage therapies and supplements are excellent, but if you always appear to be pushing something on your patients, they are going to lose confidence in you quickly. You should never engage in any hard-sell techniques, you must always provide specifics as to why they could benefit from something and what other alternative sources of such treatment are available on the market, and you should always offer a money-back guarantee if the client is not satisfied with the treatment.
That being said, there are so many opportunities for creating alternative revenue streams today that it is virtually impossible to not use at least one. So take the opportunity to sit back and look at your practice and consider which alternative streams of revenue might be viable for you -- you might be surprised just how profitable they can be.