I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. With all that is going on in the world, and everything that is on the news, it is hard not to think – about what the world will be like a decade from now — and to re-think how we have been living and how we need to change to accommodate changing times.
I love what I do and I plan to be doing it for a long time. In the 44 years I have been practicing a lot has changed – in the profession and in the world. And certainly, in my private world and in my style of practice.
I am happier now than ever. I love my practice.
I am proud of who I am and what I do.
Every day brings new challenges and the joy of being able to help people feel better. It feels great to have someone come to me stressed and in pain and leave feeling relieved, pleased and eager to see me again.
THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO BE A CHIROPRACTOR!!
But this is not the time for business as usual.
The world as we know it is changing before our eyes. Recession, depression, doom and gloom, all are creating a lot of fear and confusion.
What do I do? How do I survive and avoid becoming a victim of bad economic times?
Remember this: People need Chiropractors in good times and bad. Whether the Dow Jones is at 14,000 and climbing or in the dumpster, they need the care that only you, a chiropractor can provide.
The fact is that in stressful times people need you more than ever. Stress and worry are pain generators, and make people sick in ways that you, more than any other kind of doctor, can help.
But, as I said, this is not the time for business as usual. Chiropractic practice as it has been conducted by most DCs for the past 30 years is in trouble. It is time to rethink old beliefs and habits. It is time for a change.
The Fallacy of “Bigger is Always Better”
The entire world is suffering because for way too long we have been living in a constantly expanding Boom Bubble. The bubble was doomed to burst. It was just a matter of time, and that time has come.
Everyone wanted the “good life” with lots of “stuff,” and they wanted it IMMEDIATELY. In their quest for instant gratification too many people built their castles in the clouds only to find they had built a house of cards and a cloud is not a solid foundation. They forgot common sense cautions against borrowing: borrowing leads to debt and debt is dangerous. It seems the whole world has been deficit spending.
As chiropractors, this approach to life was also applied to the way we managed our practices. Wanting to always be the biggest and the best, we tended to get ourselves into a lot of debt in order to keep up and stay ahead with all the latest, greatest, costliest technological innovations.
This put a lot of extra pressure on us, not pressure to be a really good doctor and take great care of out patients, but to see as many patients as possible in order to service our debt and pay for the huge overhead of the big fancy office we thought we needed to have. As a result, practice, for many of us is just no fun.
The stress of financial worries presses us to increase our numbers, see more patients, work longer hours. And that puts a lot of additional stress on our own bodies. I know, I’ve been there and done that. When I crashed I hit hard. Literally.
One day while adjusting an average-sized woman, my own body caved in and I found myself lying on the floor. (More about that another time.) My point is that I know about stress and I know about hard times. I also know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
And despite the difficult times we find ourselves in today, I still believe THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO BE A CHIROPRACTOR. But we have to make some big changes in the way we work.
TIME TO SIMPLIFY
I am not going to pretend to be able to get you out of debt. I am not a money manager.
WHAT I CAN DO is teach you how to simplify, get rid of excess overhead, make your practice easier, more fun, better for you and your patients, while increasing your bottom line.
I’d like to help you learn to love what you do again. I’d like to help you have the practice of your dreams. I’d like to help you get rid of the stress and increase the fun.
The 21st Century Chiropractor
The happy, successful chiropractor of the 21st century will run an efficient practice with minimal dependence on third party pay. He/She will keep overhead low and invest in personal skills rather than expensive equipment.
Patients are more impressed by your skills and manner than by your office and equipment.
For example, I used to have a big fancy office. I had a large waiting room, reception desk and business office, x-ray with fully equipped dark room, a custom designed x ray reading table and an area designed to do report of patient findings, three adjusting rooms, hi-lo tables, disc traction tables, Pettibon bench tables and a large Pettibon instrument, a receptionist, insurance and billing person, chiropractic assistant, and at various times an associate doctor.
Now I have only a waiting room and one adjusting room. I use a flat bench table that I designed and built myself. Besides my hands, I use SOT blocks, and some simple hand held instruments, the VibraCussor® and ArthroStim® made by IMPAC, Inc. With my hands, my blocks and those two instruments I can do everything that needs to be done to take excellent care of my patients.
In the following pages I will be talking more about my 21st Century “Patient-Focused Practice” and why you might want to follow my model.
In the meantime remember to always –
Work with passion. Work with joy. And be sure to take some time for fun each day.
Right now the surf’s up and I’ve gotta go!
Dr. Bill Koch
The Out Island Chiropractor