Over the years in consulting with chiropractors, a common question is whether or not to add or bring in another service. This may include massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, nutritional programs, etc… After 20 years of practicing and working at many offices, I now know for certain it is a distraction and nothing more. Let me ask you a question. You are visiting the dentist and during the visit the doctor asks you about anti-oxidants and if you've had your level checked. Or he asks you about having a massage to help with stress or tension. Regardless of the product or service to increase a point of sale, you are now distracting yourself from the objective, which is: lifetime family wellness!
Why a distraction? First, there is time and effort by you and the staff on training, education, and the development as well as sustaining the procedure and protocol of the service. Second, the cost of this additional service will always encroach on the cost and value of what you offer to your patients. So at some point, the consumer or patient will begin to assess the benefit and value of the adjustment and compare it to the effectiveness of the massage, or acupuncture or nutritional program, etc… Many will start to manage their care frequency or cut out care altogether because their present status of health is good and they derive more benefit from other services in the weekly regimen. I understand there will be an income gained by the product, and the patient may benefit from the service; but they will benefit from better soap, exercise, flossing their teeth, and many other services as well.
Understand me clearly, many of the other services or therapies have merit and benefit the patient. But you have made the decision to be a chiropractor, and by definition a chiropractor locates areas of the spine that have lost movement or position, and by means of an adjustment we improve bone movement and alignment to improve function of the joint and nervous system. This is the general definition of chiropractic and it does not include teeth whitening or anti-aging. Now there is an internal struggle going on with some of you reading this because there are some of you who have added or are thinking of adding other services, and who have profited from doing so.
If it’s about the money, then become a hedge fund manager and make 25 million a year or more. Listen, being a chiropractor can be and should be financially rewarding, but it’s first a position of service. It has been said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. You, as the patient’s doctor, have great power; not only with the adjustment, but equally with your power of authority and influence on the patient and their family. What do you want to create with this new patient? Do you want the patient to think your office provides relief care with many services including chiropractic, and if the chiropractor can’t help, then the massage therapist and acupuncturist can? If not, the weight loss program may be the answer to their health concern, or better yet—they need to up their anti-oxidant level, and miracles will happen.
All this may be true, but in the long term it is always better to identify and refer the patient to one of these people outside your office. The point is, having this service in your office is a distraction to Lifetime Family Wellness and will greatly weaken your message and effectiveness of creating a healthy, strong, and family-based practice.
My last point is the financial one. We charge forty dollars for an adjustment. I will adjust 300 to 400 people a day; these are patients are on health plans that are either pre-paid or electronically withdrawn from their accounts. All of our patients have appointments made out throughout the course of my recommendations and most have their families under regular care.
Now that is an excellent and profitable business model that has little overhead and most importantly, is self-sustaining. Sure people drop out of care, but our PVA is 150 and higher so no more than 30 to 40 new patients per month easily keep the practice at a volume I love. If you want to add another service, rather than adding a distraction, add another chiropractor to increase the service and the message. This is what we teach our clients and it is a dream practice we all deserve and worth having. Unfortunately, as doctors struggle, they too often look outside of what chiropractic is to answer their struggles. I would direct you to look somewhere in your office. The answer is hanging framed on the wall with your name on it. You are a chiropractor. Be proud of who you are and the history of our profession. Know your strength comes from all the chiropractors that struggled and succeeded before you.
Dr. Joe Borio is president of Chiropassion Consulting. For more information about the topics raised in this article and to learn about the company's services, call 866-441-7928. Visit the Chiropassion website at www.chiropassionconsulting.com/.