What's in a person's heart determines what they see. A person excited about their future sees opportunity. A pessimistic person sees insufficiency, problems and the likelihood of failure. What do you see as you look at 2013 and think about your practice?
The beginning of the year is a time to stir up forgotten hopes and dreams. Think about where you were five years ago. What did you expect your life to be like now? Is it everything now that you'd hoped for then?
There is a long list of ways you can enhance your practice to better serve your patients and be more successful. Here is a partial list from someone who is not a doctor of chiropractic, but has been a chiropractic patient for more than 57 years:
Focus Your Expertise
You can increase your knowledge and training in an area that will better serve your patients. As a parent, I appreciate DCs who are well-versed in pediatrics and nutrition. With a mom who just turned 80, I value a doctor who is focused on understanding the challenges of getting old. Focusing your practice will require that you spend additional time studying and staying current on the latest research, but it will also bring rewards in patient referrals and better care.
Improve Patient Communication and Education
The more you educate your patients about how to improve their health, the more valuable you are to them. You can use an e-mail newsletter (some services are less than $20 a month), hand out photocopied articles/papers from Web sites (try ToYourHealth.com), pick a specific wellness "fun fact" that you and your staff communicate each week, etc. Sharing wellness information can transform you from a "back doctor" to a wellness doctor in the minds of your patients.
Add New Services / Products
Many of your patients have health needs that are going unmet or inappropriately met. These run the gamut from needing to lose weight to relying on prescription drugs for pain. Who better than you to fill their health needs the natural way? True, this may go a little outside of how a chiropractic practice was defined when you graduated, but it is today's health reality.
Think about what your patients need to improve their health. Then spend some time seeing if you can add services or products to meet those needs in a way that is consistent with our chiropractic philosophy. You may be surprised at how important something like weight loss can be to your patients, and how much they will talk about you to their friends after you help them.
There are literally thousands of people in your community who don't understand or appreciate what chiropractic can do for their health. They may never know if they don't hear from you (or another DC in your area). They may have only heard about chiropractic from people who have a negative opinion.
There are many ways to reach out, from being the "Team DC" for the high-school athletic department (soccer club, etc.) to giving talks about current health news (topics like "Epidural Steroid Injections Linked to 317+ Fungal Meningitis Cases" or "15,000+ Americans Die Annually After Overdosing on Prescription Painkillers"). Anytime your reach out, you have an opportunity to communicate the message of chiropractic and meet potential patients.
This is obviously just the beginning of ideas to make this year unlike the past few. But no matter which idea(s) you choose to pursue, unless you make a change, the chances are good that nothing will be different.
So, what does 2013 look like to you? Will it be a time when you institute a new direction for your practice? Will you make the decision to not let this year be a repeat of last year (or worse)? This year can be your greatest year in practice or it can be just another year. The choice is yours.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.