- You can't see me or hear me. You can only read words I wrote almost a month ago.
- Likewise, I can't see you or hear what you have to say.
What is needed is a more immediate medium. In the beginning there was e-mail. As we learned more about the World Wide Web, we saw the potential. It is our goal to bring Dynamic Chiropractic to you electronically, almost three weeks sooner than we can deliver a printed version. (You can already access Dynamic Chiropractic articles back through 1990 on our website -- www.chiroweb.com.)
Interactive opportunities will continue to develop for you. Rather than wonder what columnists meant, you will have access to them. The information won't stop at the end of the article. It will be just the beginning.
Today's bulletin boards and chat rooms will be replaced by audioþvisual experiences that will effectively let us "meet" in the same place. People and information will become more accessible, with data management being the greatest challenge.
Privacy will also be more of an issue. As you read this, DCs around the world are discussing chiropractic issues in chat rooms on bulletin boards for all to see. There is a definite need for secure areas on the Internet where only doctors of chiropractic can enter. These could be used to hold chiropractic association and society meetings, while providing a forum for open and honest discussion.
While most of this technology is available now, let's dream a little bit about what may be possible in the near future. As the modem capacities increase, so will the opportunities. A cable modem can download one megabyte in one second, vs. the 4-5 minutes it now takes. This will make video communications a standard part of your practice. Your patients will learn about chiropractic and their condition from a video presentation provided or prepared for you. They can be monitored to ensure that they do the prescribed exercises correctly or take their vitamins.
You may even discover that your role in their lives goes from provider to "wellness coach." It is not unrealistic to expect to be paid a monthly fee to consult with patients via video conferencing to ensure their continued health and well-being. There may even be certain "attachments" to their computer that are capable of analyzing their spine and providing a weekly report to you.
If you're not going to retire in three years, you're in for some exciting changes. The toughest part of this new world is learning and adjusting. If you aren't on the Web now, you should commit yourself to setting up your office or home computer by the end of the year. If you haven't done so already, begin to ask your patients for their e-mail addresses. This is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with patients you haven't seen in a while, to share important information with them, or just to wish them happy birthday.
Over the next year, our site (ChiroWeb) is going to become more patient and public focused. Besides being a place for DCs to gather, it will be a destination for the public to inquire about health matters. ChiroWeb already has almost 8,000 pages, but that is not nearly enough to tell the whole chiropractic story. The mountains of information that we process every day will be put to use in educating the public and providing educational opportunities for you to use with your patients. Our mission is growing from being the "Chiropractic News Source" to becoming the source for all chiropractic-related information. This is a job someone has to do.
The electronic age will give birth to the partnership age. As more opportunities become realities, we will be looking to "partner" with you for the benefit of your patients, practice and community. If we're going to get our chiropractic story out to the world, we'll have to work together.
As we enter the next century, let's do it holding hands. Let's share our dreams and ideas and work together to make them realities. Let's make chiropractic an "interactive" profession that relates well with the public, our patients, and one another.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.