I have been reading some of my older blog posts and have been pleased and a bit amazed at how true and relevant they remain today. So I have decided to share some of them with you. Below is one I wrote in October 2007 — one of my very first blog posts. That was before I even had this website. It still reflects my core beliefs. And I still think this is a great time to be a chiropractor.
There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Chiropractor Original Blog Post October 2007, Abaco, Bahamas
There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Chiropractic is the idea and now is it’s time.
I can say this with the perspective of 40+ years of experience in the profession. I entered Palmer in October 1963, and began practice in November 1967. I have had the pleasure and great satisfaction of seeing chiropractic grow and develop into the highly respected profession it is, a force to be reckoned with in the healing arts.
It is very sobering to think of being in practice for 40 years. [Now 50] That means that I am not a kid anymore, even though I still feel like one. This has been a time of reflection and introspection. It is also a time for looking forward to the future with excitement and great expectations.
Sometimes it seems like the blink of an eye, other times it seems like forever. I vividly remember the early years: The fight for licensure in New York, the satisfaction of watching my practice grow from one patient to thousands, striving to grow as a person and a professional. It’s been a great ride. It has been a lot of things, but never boring.
Experience is a great teacher. It is something you can’t buy, you have to live it. Thankfully it is something that can be shared with those who are smart enough to learn from the successes and failures of others.
If you are a chiropractic student, I can tell you that you have made a wise choice, provided you are in it for the right reasons. If you are already in practice or about to enter practice, the world is your oyster. You need only decide what kind of doctor you want to be and what kind of practice you want to have.
If your idea of a perfect practice is to specialize in personal injury, workman’s compensation or to be a provider for a PPO or HMO, or if you want to engage in a DC/MD practice, then read no further. What I have to say is probably not for you.
However, if you want a personal, private, cash practice, with low overhead and high net income, and a high level of personal and professional satisfaction, then you will probably find what I have to say interesting and chock full of the information you want.
My objective is to share with my readers the kind of information that I wanted as a senior student and later as a new doctor trying to find my niche in the profession and my community.
Transitional times are always difficult. There are many unanswered questions, questions one would logically expect to be answered in chiropractic school, but somehow slipped between the cracks, remaining question marks in the mind.
These unanswered questions, and the insecurities and confusion they cause have given birth to an industry and profession within the profession: the Practice Management Consultant.
For a hefty fee you can sign up to learn how to build a practice, draw patients and get paid. There are many “formulas” — some good, some bad, some ugly.
There is a saying in the used car business: “there’s a butt for every seat.” Somehow that seems to apply here. Every consultant can showcase a few individuals who have great success under their guidance. What they don’t talk about are those who are not comfortable with their methods and marketing tactics. Instead of rapid practice growth, they experience inner conflict, confusion, and disappointment. Not unlike the patient who is looking for The Doctor who has the “Magic Bullet” that will fix their all their problems.
No one has all the answers, and I certainly wouldn’t claim that I do. What I do have is a lot of experience. I have built three successful practices. My success has inspired more than a dozen young people to become chiropractors, and I have mentored many recent graduates, helping them to be effective practitioners, building and enjoying their own practices.
What is the point of accruing a lifetime of experience, if it isn’t shared with those who can benefit from it? When I share mine with you, then I not only help you, but the patients you serve as well.
There are so many factors involved in the practice of chiropractic. Chiropractic is a thinking man’s/woman’s profession. There is no “cook book” formula. There is no such thing as a “general adjustment” or “routine adjustment.” Slam, bam, thank you Ma’am — see you Monday, Wednesday and Friday—for as long as you or your insurance company will pay — is not a recipe for success.
Neither is buying all the expensive, fancy, automated and computerized “toys” of the trade. They may add to your impressive “décor” and make your practice look successful. But they will rarely add much to your ability to provide exceptional patient care. They most definitely add to your debt, your overhead and your stress levels as you try to figure out how to pay for it all.
We must integrate our science, philosophy and art. It is of no value to talk philosophy, if we don’t deliver the results. It is up to each of us to provide our patient with the best that our profession has to offer. Individually we must develop our chiropractic artistic abilities, without which our knowledge is simply academic.
I want to share with you what has worked well for me, including the subtle nuances and specialty procedures that can make the difference between success and failure in difficult cases, and help you to get results so fast that you and your patients will be amazed.
Nothing succeeds like success. Fast results, achieved economically, are your best practice builder. Coincidentally, that is what put chiropractic on the map in the first place. Unfortunately it is no longer the norm. Too many chiropractors are seeing their patients too often for too long. As a result, reputation for fast, economical results that the profession once enjoyed has been lost.
Fast results will cultivate a high level of enthusiasm among your patients and encourage referrals. Conversely patients are reluctant to refer their friends and family to a hard sell DC who recommends and tries to commit every patient to a zillion office visits. Patients are reluctant to return to someone they see as just trying to sell them something to make as much money as possible. And they don’t refer their friends and relatives.
A recent new patient in my office described his experience with another Chiropractor like this: “I thought the guy was trying to sell me a time share.”
All too frequently I hear people express reluctance and skepticism about going to a chiropractor, saying something like “I don’t want to start with a chiropractor because, once you start, they keep you coming forever.”
To succeed personally and as a profession, this negative image has got to be reversed. It is the responsibility of each of us to see that we are part of the solution.
The medical model of healthcare is in big trouble. People are thinking for themselves and questioning what was once considered dogma. They are doing their own research on the internet. The unquestioning compliance with every edict of the MD is over. They are starting to question what their doctors prescribe.
Why do you think TV is so full of advertisements for prescription drugs, surgical procedures and even orthopedic appliances, all of them suggesting that the patient tell their doctor what they want? Each advertisement contains at least 6 “see your doctor” and “ask your doctor” and “follow your doctor’s instructions” messages. When the patients are being told by the pharmaceutical companies to tell their doctors what they want and need, something is surely wrong.
And worse than that, the MDs feel pressed to comply with patient requests, whether or not they think it is the right thing to do, simply for fear that if they don’t give the patient what he wants, she will go to another doctor who will.
Medical doctors are having a bad time with their public image and credibility, and rightfully so. Yes, there has never been a better time to be a chiropractor.
Chiropractors who are smart enough to return to the traditional values that made chiropractic successful in the first place will enjoy the ultimate professional and personal rewards.
I am semi-retired in The Bahamas. I have a beautiful wife, a great house, a 50 foot sailing yacht and 26 foot powerboat – with the time and money to enjoy them. I am enjoying life and practice more than ever.
Getting here wasn’t exactly easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is, but I am confident that by sharing my experiences, insights, and lessons learned with you, I can help shorten your learning curve and help you to have the kind of practice and life you want in a lot less time than it took me to do it.
I want to help you enjoy the Joy of Professionalism that is part of what has kept me motivated all these years.
I will help you develop the competitive edge which will distinguish you from the mediocre strip mall chiropractor. You know, the guy with the big yellow pages ad. He takes every insurance plan that will let him in. He does workman’s comp and PI. He offers “no out of the pocket expense.” He will shine your boots, buy you pizza and give you a chance to win a trip to Hawaii compliments of his office, if you will just be his patient.
Your competitive edge will not come from hyperbole, come-ons and gimmicks. It will come naturally from developing a dedication to clinical excellence and with love and genuine caring for your patients. It is what I call “The Patient Focused Practice.” That means delivering on the promise of our philosophy, producing the results the patient comes to you for and doing it quickly and economically.
What kind of chiropractor do you want to be? What kind of practice do you want to have? How do you plan to achieve your personal, perfect practice?
I want to help you. That is why I have created my ChiroPractice Made Perfect blog and seminars. I want to share with you the knowledge, people skills, and technical expertise accumulated and developed in a long professional career.
The educational process necessary to earn your Doctor of Chiropractic Degree and the all that is required prove your knowledge of the basic sciences and clinical sciences are by nature, left brain activity.
Then suddenly, upon completion of the academic part of chiropractic study you suddenly have to turn on your right brain — the part of your brain 8 years of higher education has kept in relative dormancy. You have to get creative about practice and you have to hone your intuitive skills.
If you want to be successful in patient care and to develop the effective doctor/patient relationships which will cultivate a good practice, you need to be predominantly right brained while applying your left brained skills. In other words you need to arrive at the right balance of right and left cerebral integration.
This is not easy for many of us. It is a delicate but necessary balance to achieve. It hinges on your communicative skills. What I call “Patient Focused Communication.”
How do you speak with authority without using extravagant language which to the patient might sound like you are lecturing at a scientific symposium? Way over their heads. At the same time you don’t want to overly simplify or dumb it down. This does not always come naturally. It takes thought and practice.
I use “Patient Focused Communication” tailored to each patient. It is important to be able to communicate with others on their level.
Effective communication is necessary in every doctor /patient encounter and is vital to your success. It is a skill that has taken me years to acquire, and I can help you develop your personal style which will help you better relate to your patients and them to you.
No matter how eloquent we think we are, when the patient doesn’t hear what we are trying to tell them, we have a failed communication.
Come Learn From Me
These days I spend most of my time in the quaint village of Mount Dora in central Florida, not far from Orlando and just over an hour from either coast. It is a lovely community. After 50 years in practice I still love what I do and have no intention of giving it up. Two years ago I started a part time post-retirement practice here, which has grown organically and keeps me as busy as I want to be.
I do a lot of writing for the profession. You can find my articles in The American Chiropractor magazine or at theamericanchiropractor.com
My desire to share the knowledge and experience I have gained in over 50 years in the profession is strong. So I am now focusing a lot of my energy on seminar/workshops for chiropractors. I call them the Koch Protocols — Integrated Advanced Chiropractic Technique.
I hope you will join me for one. The next on is March 23-25 for part one and 26-27 for part two (optional). We are limiting attendance to 8 doctors for this hands on workshop. We still have one or two spots left.