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February 2007 Archives


What I'm Reading

made_to_stick.jpgMade to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. Starting with the bright cover and the mock duct tape, this extraordinary little book is filled with real world examples you can use to advance your practice. Why is it that urban legends have lasting power, yet sophisticated, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns (and patient education overtures made in earnest) hardly has an effect? Learn the six elements of what makes ideas stick. Discover the Velcro Theory of Memory, The Sinatra Test, the Curse of Knowledge and countless other insights. Find out why “Where’s the Beef” and the Jared campaign for Subway were so successful. (If you’re allowed to use testimonials in your jurisdiction, the chapter on Credibility will return your book investment 100X.) If you enjoyed Malcom Gladwell’s books (The Tipping Point and Blink), you’ll love this one!


The Chiropractor Patients Love to Tell Others About

chiropractors_patients_love.jpgAre your patients proud of you? Do patients see their own reputations enhanced by revealing their relationship with you? What is it about you that would prompt patients to vouch for you or your practice?

If you think patient referrals come solely from the great results that chiropractic is famous for producing, then you’re simply not enjoying the new patient referrals you deserve. That would be like an airline assuming that transporting you safely from Point A to Point B should alone be sufficient to garner your loyalty and gratitude!

No, great results, like safe transportation, is on the “Expected” side of the ledger. In the minds of patients, results, along with all the other technical stuff most chiropractors hold in such high regard, merely gets you to zero. Practices that enjoy a constant flow of new patient referrals know this. They also know what it takes to inspire patients to become persuasive advocates.

Continue reading "The Chiropractor Patients Love to Tell Others About" »


Monday Morning Motivation

If you've fallen into the common trap of seeing yourself as a patient "fixer," you're likely feeling a bit tired and overwhelmed. Carrying patients, rather than caring for patients, puts an unrealistic burden on you. It overlooks the immutable fact that patients do the healing, not you. At best, you're merely a "releaser."

Being responsible (response able) for something you can't control (their recovery), creates an overdraft on your emotional "checking account." It can produce resentment from patient choices, frustration due to their unwillingness to change, anger from missed appointments and defensiveness when results don't come as expected.

Patients (and their sometimes poor follow-through) aren't the problem. Attempting to practice with poorly defined boundaries and choosing to see their problem as your problem, is. Set clear boundaries. "Here's what you can expect from us... And here's what we're expecting of you..." should be part of every report of findings.

Is it part of yours?


10 Mistakes New Practitioners Make

crocodile.jpgYesterday I had the pleasure to speaking to Dr. Mark Doerrfeld’s class at Palmer College in Davenport. The evening before, I spent an hour or so with the Masters Circle Club. Having never attended chiropractic college as a student, being on the campus of any chiropractic college is always a thrill for me. Spending time with students genuinely interested, who ask great questions, is among my favorite speaking gigs.

Besides the fact that students appear incredibly young (a sure sign that I must be getting old), I was struck by the fact that many chiropractic college students seem to have lost touch with the original dream that prompted them to begin the journey of becoming a chiropractor. Locked deeply into their left brain, most students have their heads down, intent on learning the neurology and anatomy and getting good grades. And while getting high marks may be a source of pride, good grades have little relationship on one’s ability to successfully practice chiropractic. (Often, just the opposite.) A fact lost on most students.

Continue reading "10 Mistakes New Practitioners Make" »


What I'm Reading

words_work.jpgIf you’ve been to one of my speaking gigs, you know that I’m passionate about language and its precision. So, when I heard Dr. Frank Luntz interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, I got a copy of his new book, Words That Work. He’s conducted hundreds of focus groups and has worked as a pollster for politicians, ad agencies, corporations and non-profit organizations. I resonate with his unquenchable curiosity and his love for English. The first chapter, The Ten Rules of Effective Language is brilliant, as are the examples he uses to make his points. (Rule 1: Use small words.) He affirms many of the guidelines I follow when writing brochures and our other patient tools. Pick up a copy if you want to improve your reports, lectures and ability to communicate chiropractic.


For or Against?

for_against.jpgYou can’t win by being against. It immediately puts you on the defensive, which is not only a trap, but it practically dooms you to a marginalized existence. Countless chiropractors find themselves in this predicament, having found themselves in a battle against this or that. You may recognize some of the more common targets. They’re against...

Ritalin Tubes in the ears Vaccinations Fast food Medical doctors Surgery Drugs Symptom-treating Physical therapy Insurance companies HMOs Smoking Aspartame Obesity

You get the idea. You can’t advance yourself, your practice or chiropractic by being against any of these. At best, you may be able to resist or impede them. But you will not win. This is especially true if you find yourself having made your practice about being against subluxations.

Continue reading "For or Against?" »


Monday Morning Motivation

Are you a new patient farmer or a miner?

Do you see your community as fertile soil for planting seeds, or a place to stake your claim on new patient "ore" to be extracted before another chiropractor moves into your territory and gets it?

Farmers plant seeds, cultivate, fertilize and trust nature. They know there is no reaping without sowing. Miners take what is already there and rely on their self-effort.

If you believe there are a limited number of new patients to go around, you're practicing as a miner. If you tell the chiropractic story to strangers, trusting enough seeds will fall on fertile ground and move them to become new patients, you're a new patient farmer.

New patient mining is risky. You're at the mercy of insurance companies and ever-changing state and provincial laws. Want to help more people? Do more farming.


Say This and Patients Obey

say_this.jpgNow that the metaphysical has all but been drummed out of the curriculum of most chiropractic colleges, students have to leave campus to learn anything that elevates them above mere spine therapists. Reducing chiropractic to biomechanics and the briefest treatment for low back pain is a lot like the allopaths who see the body as a collection of parts, rather an integrated whole. This alarming trend is increasingly visible at seminar programs in which the newest chiropractors hound me for scripts.

“Is that written down anywhere?” They ask after a spontaneously created riff about the importance of keeping appointments or the likelihood of a relapse if care is discontinued as soon as the symptoms subside.

“No, actually I just made it up.”

Thinking that the words I said had some incredible power, and that if they were to say them it would sway patients, is just about as mechanistic as it gets. Assuming that verbal communication can be considered separately from the nonverbal is naïve and unrealistic.

Continue reading "Say This and Patients Obey" »


Monday Morning Motivation

If patients think your adjustments are doing the healing, you've created an unhealthy co-dependency that obscures the truth.

Showing up as a "fixer" is an all too common symptom of underperforming practices. It makes the relationship about you and what you're doing, rather than the patient and the potential their maker gave them to heal from the inside out. What they bring to your table is more important than what you do on the table.

This week, be slow to accept credit for the progress mentioned by patients. Similarly, be slow to become defensive when patients seem frustrated over the pace of their recovery. Instead, be curious about what other factors may be preventing the healing process from manifesting.

In the same way your car keys merely unleash what was built into your car when it was manufactured, adjustments help release what each patient was given by their maker. Taking credit for it is tempting, but unwise.


The One Visit Fix

Q: I’m stuck in an area where many patients have been trained that one or two adjustments are all they need. I’m trying to change that but it is a huge daily struggle. Any ideas?

A: This is a common complaint among chiropractors who see chiropractic as something more than a short-term treatment (diet) for a particular ache or pain. It’s a situation often created by chiropractors anxious to please the patient, bill the patient’s insurance company, prove chiropractic works, validate themselves or prove how much they “care” by jumping in quickly and obscuring the larger lesson. In the process, they inadvertently minimize chiropractic, reduce it to a therapy and create a communication problem that the chiropractor down the street (you) has to overcome. “Well, my last chiropractor only needed one visit to fix this!”

Continue reading "The One Visit Fix" »


Polly Want a Cracker?

polly.jpgThursday I completed a new, one-day program in New Jersey called the Cash Patient. I generally find East Coast seminar audiences generous and attentive, and the program in Saddle Brook was no exception. During this program, I tried to make the point that a cash practice is an effect, not a cause; a symptom of making the practice relevant and meaningful to patients willing to pay for their own care. Proclaiming that yours is a cash practice is often done out of frustration and is more about eliminating insurance hassles for you, rather than making the practice attractive to those who value their health enough to pay you, and if they have a policy, file the claims and wait to get reimbursed.

Naturally, if you don’t see the chiropractic care as something valuable enough that a sufficient number of patients would reach into their own pocket or purse to pay you, then you have a more serious problem than the arbitrary claims cutting that makes it impossible to predict your cash flow.

Continue reading "Polly Want a Cracker?" »


Monday Morning Motivation

Are you toiling merely for the promised reward of retirement?

Remember, we're wired to move, create, serve, right wrongs, alleviate suffering and commit ourselves to the pursuit of something meaningful and bigger than ourselves. Yes, we must rest from time to time to recreate and renew. But the notion that our purpose is to endure a wearisome daily grind so we can finally languish unused, is to trivialize the gift of life.

If you're not experiencing frequent bouts of deep, soul-satisfying fulfillment, an exotic vacation will be a hollow reminder that you're squandering your gift. A month or two of retirement would likely be even more disappointing.

If practice is a struggle, you've either made chiropractic small, reducing it to a spinal therapy, made practice about you or have allowed your practice to become irrelevant or outdated. No wonder it's tempting to look forward to three-day weekends, yearn for do nothing vacations and dream of retirement.

About February 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in February 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2007 is the previous archive.

March 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.