Let’s get started with one big truth – all chiropractors want a thriving practice! Having a thriving practice can be defined in a number of ways:
• Providing incredible patient care
• Developing strong Doctor-patient relationships with generations of the same family
• Developing strong professional relationships with other healthcare and legal practitioners
• Being viewed as a specialist in your chiropractic niche
• Making a robust financial living to support yourself and your family
• Being perceived as a leader in your community
No matter what you were taught in your chiropractic curriculum, your personal skill set can only take you so far in growing the thriving practice you desire. It’s a little-known fact that in medical communities, networking and relationship building will always bring in and maintain a more loyal patient base than any other factors, including your knowledge base or your clinical skills.
Obviously, it’s important to nurture your Doctor-patient relationship, but there are three other professional relationships that can make or break the growth of your practice – especially if you are interested in growing your personal injury patient population.
The first and most obvious, professional relationship you should be building is with Personal Injury Attorneys. Forming strong and lasting relationships with personal injury attorneys is a definite game changer when it comes to building a personal injury patient practice. Anytime you’re able to create a professional business funnel you significantly increase your chances of success. But there are a lot of chiropractors who are reaching out to personal injury attorneys without any positive feedback.
So what do YOU need to do to set yourself apart?
The obvious initial step is to make contact and get a foot in the door. Once in the door, make sure you are prepared to present your knowledge in the area of personal injury.
Arrive with confidential examples of:
• An initial patient exam
• A list of treatment recommendations for a specific injury
• Office notes from every examination, written out clearly and concisely
• Progress evaluations
• Discharge report evaluations
• Your personal deposition training
The goal of your initial meeting should always be to get a second meeting. It should also be to leave a long-lasting impression of the services you can provide to make the personal injury attorney’s practice run more smoothly.
The second professional relationship you should consider building is with your Local Hospitals.
Due to insurance regulations and the patient’s Insurance provider, hospitals will often refer to patients outside of their facility. Depending on how your practices are set up, it can be relatively easy to get on a local hospital’s chiropractic referral list. If your practice is based on an integrated medical model you are more likely than not to be viewed favorably by your local hospitals and clinics. While most MDs do not refer their patients for chiropractic care, integrated chiropractic practices can often find themselves partnering with facilities.
Your goal should be to reach out to one of the business managers in your local hospital or clinic. Developing a relationship on that level will allow you the opportunity to meet with the business side of the hospital to present your offerings – not something that would likely happen if you attempted to reach out to a private physician. Be prepared for this process to take a while to get up and running, as hospitals and clinics have strategic meeting times and agendas. Keep your lines of contact open and be patient.
The third, and perhaps most overlooked professional relationship for chiropractors in the personal injury space to forge, is that of Insurance Agents. As insurance agents will often act as the injured parties advocate, especially when car accidents are involved, they are perfect sources of referrals for your personal injury practice. Establishing this professional referral relationship is likely the most rapid way to build your practice. The insurance agent will typically see 200 fold the number of clients that the personal injury attorney will ever take on as clients. Most car accidents victims will never seek legal representation, but rather work their way through the insurance system to get the care they require. Your job is to get them in the earliest stage of their injury that requires chiropractic care. Insurance companies review chiropractic care favorably because it is more cost-effective and more accessible to track then is care by an M.D.
When marketing yourself as a specialist in personal injury to an insurance agent, arrive at your meeting with a similar set of documentation that you would use when speaking with a personal injury attorney. Insurance agents and the companies they represent view documentation and planned treatment protocol as a way to assess theirs out of pocket costs. The more clear and decisive you can be about this, the more likely the agent and their company is to bring you on as a treatment referral.
So now you know the three professional relationships you should be working to build if you want to grow your practice in the personal injury chiropractic space. It won’t happen overnight, but if you devote time every month to the process, you will see the results.
An additional point as we wrap this up – all follow-up does not need to be done personally by the chiropractor. Many chiropractic practices that specialize in personal injury treatment will utilize their business or back office manager to continue the nurturing process after your initial meeting. This process of building relationships does not need to be, nor should it be, something that takes away from patient care.
For those of you that feel self-conscious about reaching out to professionals in the above- noted industries, remember, you sell yourself, and your skill set multiple times a day – every time a potential new patient walks in your door.
Now, go out and network! You have a unique skill set that can help the legal community, your nearby healthcare facilities, your local insurance agencies and most importantly, your future patients!