Academy of Chiropractic’s Lawyers PI Program
From the Desk of :
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
“The Wellness Paradox”
You are just getting started... It gets so much better... just keep reading and call me if you have any quesitons...
1. a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.
Many in chiropractic and medicine are turning towards the “Wellness Model” and both educating and treating deficiencies to prevent human system breakdowns and increase lifespan. Weight loss and anti-aging programs are popping up in doctor's offices from coast to coast and are a highly popular source of revenue for a brtoad spectrum of practitioners. Just turn on Dr. Oz any afternoon and do what 1.8 million viewers do every day… Learn more about wellness. I live and love the wellness lifestyle. I gave up all grain and dairy, exercise regularly, I only drink triple filtered, reverse osmosis water and have made a personal choice to live this lifestyle. I also make similar recommendations to my patients when they ask.
The problem arises when they do not ask and you try to impose this lifestyle on them in a money making formula that will make you some extra cash. That is only a small part of the problem and a larger one looms that is probably eroding your practice in many ways you can’t see, but others do…Your referral sources.
34 years ago, when I opened my first office in my house (I converted my garage because it was all I could afford on my credit card and borrowing from a few family members) I mailed fliers to everyone in my community advertising wellness care. I got one response after mass 3 mailings and it said… I paraphrase: “Dr. Studin, I am a marketing director on Madison Ave in New York City and our accounts are the largest hospitals and doctor groups in possibly the world. We advise our clients that for a doctor what motivates people into their offices are pain and fear and not how to stay well. Although people want to stay well, pain will drive them to you very quickly and it will be money better spent.”
After reading that note, I realized that person was probably looking for me to engage their company and hire them… something I could not afford, but I changed my tactics and started talking pain. Remember, in my formative years I was an ultra-straight chiropractor with not 1 modality beyond my hands.
NOTE: You will read more over time how and why I have evolved during my journey of enlightenment in chiropractic.
When I started marketing pain and fear, I got many patients and when they came into my office, I got to educate them on the wonders of lifetime chiropractic care for them and their family and built my practice because I had patients to educate. Without patients, you get to do nothing.
In conversation with 1000’s of doctors nationally I have asked “how many patients come to you for wellness vs. how many come for reasons related to pain and then you educate them on wellness?” Not one doctor was able to certify that any patients came directly for wellness, unless referred by another wellness patient. This then certifies this a very poor business plan to have expectations to thrive by. Although there are the few who do as eceptions to rules alwys exist, the vast mojority of us will not.
Lawyers literally cringe when thy have to work with wellness providers. Wellness providers by education NEVER have the level of expertise or credentials that is required by the courts. In addition, those doctors NEVER document properly and ALWAYS cause the lawyers to lose their cases. If you don’t believe me, simply ask any lawyer…I have asked 1000’s and that is their perception. Remember, it doesn’t have to be true in your case. All that matters is the perception of the referral source and perception drives both reality and your referrals.
This past week, a group of medical primary care providers and nurse practitioners in a formal educational setting weighed in on the subject. The question of chiropractic was discussed at length, in fact it was the central topic in a formal CME program on chiropractic and mechanical spine pain. The feedback was very telling and I believe “on point.” The medical providers felt that in their region, all chiropractors are into weight loss and wellness with none that they scould find focused on being a spine specialist and helped them with back pain patients.
NOTE: Mechanical spine pain is that which arises from non-tumors, infections or fractures and has spinal biomechanical failure findings.
They all felt that in every advertisement, Web site and phone book ad there was a strong wellness message and they were not comfortable referring their mechanical spine patients to wellness doctors for serious spinal issues.
Therefore if you are a wellness doctor and can handle pain patients is not the issue. It is the perception of the medical community that you cannot and… All that matters is the perception of the referral source and perception drives both reality and your referrals. Their reality is that you cannot and will not get their referrals.
My experience with medical primary's and specialists through the years have also verified what was confirmed this past week. Wellness is a sub-division of what we do, it is not the main thrust of our practices and it will not be the portal of entry that you will get the majority of your cases.
So…As a result of decades of the same experiences and feedback, why would anyone create a business plan around such a failed marketing paradigm? Unless you are a Dr. Oz and have 1.8 million viewers daily, you don’t have the bandwidth to educate your community to get them to understand what you do and who you treat. That has been and will be reserved for your current patients and the wellness converts they send to you.
In addition, the majority of your potential referral sources that can fill your office beyond capacity will not consider you a referral option; the lawyers and MD’s. As a result, I would strongly urge you to continue professing and practicing wellness as an adjunct to treating biomechanical failures of the spine, or chiropractic.
Remove “wellness” or any synonym from the name of your clinic and all documentation, inclusive of business cards, letterhead and email addresses. This is a mixed message that will continue to “shoot you in the feet” and prevent you from growing. If that is the formal name of your office, create a DBA without it. I have previously given you samples of what I consider the best names to attract lots of new case….Follow the advice and win!