The key to ethical, legitimate telephone usage is an honest, straightforward approach. Because of the power of one of the most taken-for-granted business and household items in the world, some telephone representatives and their companies have come under the close scrutiny of attorney generals across America. The ease of profit by deception via telephone has caused this scrutiny.
Legitimate telephone usage can be vital to and impact a practice dramatically. The telephone is the fastest and most personal way to promote a caring contact or follow-up to patients and/or referrals.
In today's society, emphasis is on time and the management thereof. Because of this fact, chiropractors should fully utilize the legitimate telephone program that benefits the office, the person on the receiving end of the call, and most importantly, chiropractic itself. With honesty and sincerity employed, a practice would see through statistics and public feedback -- dramatic growth through public education.
Today, in the realm of chiropractic, there are many programs from which to choose. These programs range from legitimate educational programs to questionable forms of "research" programs. It is my opinion that a volunteer is someone who does not pay and is not paid for services. A volunteer is someone participating free of charge. It is also my opinion that facilities that utilize research volunteers should refer these volunteers to other facilities for treatment after the research, which is of no charge. Any other way, in my belief, undermines the research validity itself. In other words, if your facility is involved in research with the public that does not involve treatment free of charge, your facility should refer those in need of treatment to another office. If this is not the case with your research, you must question if your program is for the enhancement of chiropractic, or a new patient scheme which would have a detrimental effect on the public's levels of confidence with chiropractic.
True legitimate research in chiropractic is needed for the profession. These efforts should contain valid information that serves the philosophy of the logical nature of chiropractic itself, and does not serve only the facility utilizing the research. Perhaps an association-funded and maintained program is the answer to the research question.
Research programs utilizing telemarketing efforts could be legitimately useful for chiropractic if the previously defined methods are employed.
To avoid the controversy involved in the previously mentioned programs, a chiropractor who wants to implement a telephone program to advance his practice and truly help the advancement of chiropractic, and the people of the community, must do so through public education. Only through a legitimate educational program, one which avoids the stigma associated with telemarketing, can a doctor of chiropractic maintain a professional public image with ethics and integrity intact.
David M. Reeves, Director