Seems that chiropractors with the greatest number of “tools” on their belt (nutrition, emotional work, rehab, orthotics, etc.) can go through a stage in which they seem to shun patients who enter the practice lacking the interest in pursuing these “extracurricular” resources.
Forgetting that the patient’s objective is symptom-relief (not wellness) and the patient’s focus is on results (not optimized health), it’s tempting to blame or judge patients for their shortsightedness and limited vision of what you can now do to help them.
Which causes your numbers drop.
Not exactly the affirmation you were expecting after having traipsed off to the weekend seminars, spent the money, bought the equipment or changed your examination procedures!
It’s been said that if you’re a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. As more and more chiropractors extend their repertoire beyond merely knocking down the high spots (a good idea by the way), it’s easy to become almost disdainful of the very foundation of your practice: chiropractic. How do you know you’re bumping up against this practice de-building attitude?
1. A shift in the way you listen to patients. Used to be, you saw their problem as one that could be helped with chiropractic care. Now you see every patient interaction through the lens of how this new tool of yours could solve their problem.
2. Inability to concisely describe what you do. As you incorporate this new procedure, broadening your abilities, you’ve simultaneously created a communication challenge—for you and your patients.
3. Embarrassed by being categorized. Now, introducing yourself as a chiropractor seems so... pedestrian. It creates the need to separate yourself from other chiropractors (like the one you used to be). This professional schizophrenia creates confusion for you, your team and patients.
4. Inability to refer others. Patients, finding it difficult to categorize you, are at a loss for words in attempting to describe you to others, blunting the referral process. Even worse...
5. Feelings of not being “good enough.” Patients who show up, unavailable for your new practice “add on,” pick up on your disappointment. Your new service is now standing in the way of the rapport that you used to enjoy with patients.
As your model of chiropractic changes and you see the value of these other procedures or modalities, you start yearning for patients to show up who want them. In fact, it’s tempting to judge those who don’t, as being unworthy; beneath you and your newly refined skill set! Before long, your pride is rewarded by a serious drop in patient volume. You’re a “miracle-making-machine.” But your reception room is empty.
The solution? You’ve heard it before. Supply what patients want, so you can earn the right to share with them what they need.
You have these new skills, diagnostic tools or insights. Great! You’ve enlarged your model of chiropractic and are leaving the domain of being merely a spine mechanic. Kudos to you! But in the process, you’ve left your patient base (probably even your office team) in the dust. Your newfound passion and focus has created a disconnect.
It’s time to get back to the basics.