« May 2008 |
| July 2008 »
June 2008 Archives
A popular advertising technique for automobile dealers is to entice customers by suggesting that their used car has more trade-in value than it actually does. As in, “Do whatever you have to do to push, pull or drag your car in, and drive away in a brand new car.” Apparently, this suggests that if you have some clunker that’s not even running, you have something that the dealership values that will help reduce the purchase price of a new car.
Most of us can see through this ruse. We know that the purchase price of the new car is either inflated or there are such strict credit restrictions that few can actually qualify for the low monthly payments that are advertised. These types of sales overtures tend to seduce only the naïve and least discerning.
Do you use similar low-rent techniques to attract new patients?
Continue reading "Push, Pull or Drag" »
(This is the Summer of Love as Bill explores some of the distinctions of loving patients rather than merely caring for them.)
Love is patient.
When you truly love patients you don't impose your time schedule. After all, the patient is the one doing the healing, not you! They have the capacity to consciously or unconsciously slow or accelerate their healing. That, combined with the limitations of matter, makes investing your self-esteem and value as a chiropractor in something out of your control, is risky business.
Being patient extends beyond the first weeks or months of care. Think eternally. What if it takes two, three, four or more episodes of starting care and stopping care, spanning a decade or longer, before patients "get" the idea that chiropractic care is a lifestyle decision and can be much more than a natural, short-term diet for pain relief?
What if they never get it?
To use love as an adjunctive procedure with the chiropractic adjustment, remove expectations and help patients become more… patient.
I recently had a chance to spend an hour with Dr. Russ Rosen, the coach who teaches a “care not scare” approach to patient leadership. Granted, the hour was an interview, but there was a lively exchange that you might find interesting. Maybe even helpful. Russ has arranged it so you can listen for just USD $27. He has some other cool materials that he makes available to non-coaching clients on a pay-per-listen basis. Check them out.
I have a presentation coming up next week for the CORE Colorado group. I was discussing this speaking opportunity with a local chiropractor friend and asked if he had any ideas about what I should talk about in the hour or two that I’m going to have in front of a handful of Denver-area chiropractors.
“I don’t know if it’s just me or Bonnie at the front desk or what, but recently it seems that our patients are valuing their health less and less,” he confessed. “I don’t know if it’s the economy, gas prices or what, but what you might want to talk about is how we can help patients see how important their health really is. In fact, I bumped into my dentist friend in the grocery store last night and he said his numbers were down too.”
This, from a chiropractor who has been out in the trenches for more than 20 years and who is sitting on thousands (yes, thousands!) of inactive patient files.
Continue reading "Busted! Now What?" »
There’s a game I like to play with friends that I sometimes initiate during those moments of awkward silence after the catching up and small talk are complete. I call it This or That? It’s simple to play. You pose two choices in the form of a question. Let’s play.
Rice or pasta?
Gold or silver?
Friday or Monday?
In other words, if given the choice, which would you prefer?
Uncovering someone's preferences a fun way to get to know them. Sometimes the distinctions can be quite small or reveal nuances that most of us rarely consider, opening up new topics to explore:
Sherbet or ice cream?
Tennis shoes or sneakers?
Dog or cat?
This little diversion and handy icebreaker came to mind as I was thinking about what a typical chiropractor would consider most important in their patient relationships. For example, how would your prioritize the following pairs?
Continue reading "This or That?" »
Love is kind.
I was raised to be considerate of others. Being considerate of others came with specific action steps:
Respect the property of others.
Say please when you want something.
Say thank you when you receive it.
Address anyone older with deference.
How does that apply to chiropractic practice?
It’s the patient’s health not yours. Careful about pressing too much to “help” more than they want. Otherwise, it will be taken as judgment.
“This side up, please.” It acknowledges them as person, not just a spine or the recipient of a procedure you’re administering to their body.
“Thank you for always being on time for your visits.” Right above acknowledgment is appreciation. It usually prompts others to do even more.
“Good afternoon! What’s the best thing that’s happened to Mrs. Smith today?” She may ask that you call her Maryann, put your deference has been communicated.
Respect. Acknowledgment. Appreciation. Deference. Love is kind.
I’ve been in practice for about four months and having a really hard time getting patients. I don’t have enough patients to rely on referrals. Please help.
Dear Four Months,
Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to do is consult the notes from the class you took in chiropractic college entitled “Your First Year in Practice” to revisit the essential action steps that new practitioners must take in order to generate their first year’s worth of new patients.
Don’t have those notes? Don’t remember taking that class? Right. Because it wasn’t offered. And while this would be the perfect opportunity to launch into a riff about the shortsightedness of chiropractic colleges, who, fearful of being perceived as a lowly trade school, often offer little more than a perfunctory class or two about the dynamics of actual practice, here are some suggestions. My guess is that these ideas could help experienced field doctors who aren't getting referrals just as much as a newbie, thrust into the real world.
Continue reading "Dear Bill" »
Love does not envy
The newest patient drives up in a nicer car than yours. What's your reaction?
If it produces a twinge of jealousy or ignites a sense of insecurity, it can interfere with your ability to accompany your chiropractic care with love. Turns out, your wealth may not be in a depreciating automobile, but in your education, a richly rewarding family life or some other form. Envy suggests that you believe you have a void, lacking something necessary to be complete and whole.
You are already complete. You are fully equipped. You have exactly what you need. In fact, the only thing truly missing is acknowledging that nothing is missing!
Be careful about making judgments about the material world that is so easily detected with our five senses. What you see is merely temporal. It will pass. Instead, attend to matters of the heart where peace can take root and flourish.
The forces interested in suppressing chiropractic are at it again. This time in Edmonton, Alberta. Turns out, an apparently healthy woman who had been receiving chiropractic care for years had a cerebrovascular incident after receiving a cervical adjustment last September. The result is a massive class action suit against all chiropractors in the province of Alberta.
While our hearts and prayers go out to the woman who is now a quadraplegic, the law firm handling the class action lawsuit is operating on the belief that “…there is no scientific basis to the chiropractic theory of subluxations affecting health and the need for routine neck manipulation.” Sound familiar?
Never mind that the deaths caused by adverse reactions to prescription drugs are considered merely the “cost of doing business.”
Would Sandra Nette have had a stroke that day anyway? Without a parallel universe we’ll never know. However, a study in the United Kingdom about “background” strokes is fascinating, especially when evaluated in the context of the 2005 Executive Summary of Current Concepts, Spinal Manipulation and Cervical Arterial Incidents that observed that “incidents following spinal manipulation to the neck is very small and at the same magnitude that occurs in the general population.”
Those in Alberta who have suffered at the hands of a chiropractor are invited to join the lawsuit on a website set up by the law firm, which has already announced its intention to take similar action in other Canadian provinces.
Be ready for another round of “don’t touch my neck” from patients. Do your own research on the risks associated with things most patients would consider safe, comparing them with chiropractic care. And don't forget to compare the malpractice insurance rates that actuaries use, revealing the safety of chiropractic care compared with medicine.
While it appears Alberta is lawyering-up to be the battleground for the safety of cervical adjustments debate, New Jersey has been ground zero for issues surrounding extremity adjusting.
As other jurisdictions (and insurance companies) have watched with interest, the New Jersey Supreme Court today decided that its state’s scope of practice laws “permit manipulation of articulations beyond those of the spine when there is a causal nexus between a condition of the manipulated structure and a condition of the spine.”
Congratulations to the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors, their legal team and especially Dr. Sig Miller who, as Executive Director, has carried the emotional burden to help get the Bedford v. Riello case resolved to the benefit of all New Jersey chiropractors, but more importantly, New Jersey chiropractic patients!
If you haven’t joined the ANJC, doing so right about now would represent a profound vote of confidence and a loud “THANK YOU!” that could help take chiropractic in New Jersey to even higher heights.
I just read your response to “4 months” about how to get new patients. Your suggestions are excellent and I’ll be using many of them. How do you talk to people about chiropractic in line at the bank, in a restaurant, in a store, etc.? I have talked with many of my friends and mentors about this, and most of them say that you just need to do it. Realize that it’s not about you or getting new patients, but it’s about changing and helping these strangers’ lives. Any thoughts?
The Timid Doctor
Dear Dr. Timid,
Initiating a conversation may seem difficult if you unconsciously feel like you’re stalking some helpless prey or going in for a self-serving “kill.” Obviously, with an intention like that, any encounter is likely to have an unsatisfactory outcome.
So first, give up the notion that there’s some sure-fire “pickup line” that can turn a casual encounter in the Nine-Items-or-Less line into a committed new patient. It’s unlikely that there’s anything you can say or do that will prompt a total stranger to abandon their hand basket and beg you to show them the way to your office. Instead, set your crosshairs on a less ambitious target—such as having a conversation with a stranger who doesn’t walk away thinking chiropractors are jerks or weirdos.
Continue reading "Dear Bill" »
Love does not boast.
We probably don’t think of ourselves as one to brag, show off, blow our own horn, talk big or “swagger.” We tend to think of that as being offensive.
“I don’t boast!”
Really? Do you exaggerate? Exaggeration is a more subtle and sinister form of boasting.
Exaggerating the elements of a story to enhance its meaning.
Exaggerating your statistics to falsify your success.
Exaggerating your importance to receive admiration.
Exaggerating the no shows to blame a staff member.
Exaggerating your value by seeing patients after hours.
Exaggerating circumstances so others will do your bidding.
Exaggerating the difficulty so it will produce praise.
Exaggerating the imposition of a request with a heavy sigh.
Next time you find yourself inclined to exaggerate, consider the motive behind it.
Love does not boast. No coloring. No shading. No effort to look good or cover up the flaws. In other words, love is honest, unprocessed and authentic.
*Personality not included, by Rohit Bhargava, is titled after the common refrain seen on various battery operated devices. It brilliantly takes a close look at the importance of rising above the faceless persona that so many businesses project. As I’m going through it, with its countless examples (many that you’ll recognize), I can see how this book could give courage to chiropractors who have suppressed their personality in the hopes of being more appealing to more people. As Bhargava points out, the exact reverse is true. In fact, if you’re in the midst of naming your practice something that doesn’t include your name, think twice. Chiropractic is a highly personal business. Yet, many chiropractors needlessly withhold information about themselves that could enhance their creditbility and influence with patients. I wonder how many chiropractors ever explain to new patients how they had fears and bias to overcome when they tried chiropractic for the first time. If you don’t normally read business books, You’ll enjoy this one!
My dad has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. It’s the same thing my mom died of 17 years ago.
As I contemplated researching his disease so I could suggest some action steps from a natural/vitalistic point of view, it suddenly dawned on me what a trap symptom treating actually is. Finding the “problem” and fixing it, is a mechanistic paradigm.
For example. If your lawn mower or some other mechanical device isn’t operating properly, it makes sense to uncover where the breakdown is occurring and fix it. Is it getting fuel? Is the spark plug producing a spark? Thankfully, it’s a logical checklist and fairly short. Get enough experience with small, internal combustion engines and you can diagnose and repair them quickly.
This strategy doesn’t work well with living organisms. In fact, you can become easily distracted by a patient’s symptoms and come to believe that that is their problem!
Continue reading "The Symptom Sleight of Hand" »
Love is not proud.
The scriptures make it clear that pride is an abomination. Pride is one of the qualities specifically identified as sinful. Perhaps because pride makes us feel like God.
It's tempting to overlook the fact that the patient is doing the healing, not you. Sure, you found the ignition, inserted the key and turned it (adjustment), but what happens next is outside your control. You can take credit (if you dare) but the credit actually belongs to their Maker who installed the capability to self-heal in the first place!
The marketplace quickly ferrets out arrogant, conceited and prideful chiropractors who are revealed by their response to grateful patients:
"Oh, it was nothing." (Really?)
"We got lucky this time." (Lucky?)
"Tell your friends." (So I can help them, too.)
"You're welcome." (I deserve the credit.)
Pride. It can cause you to forget that you're merely an instrument. It's sooooooo tempting to take the credit!
This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.
May 2008 is the previous archive.
July 2008 is the next archive.
Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.