W hile most chiropractic colleges do an outstanding job of preparing students in the art, philosophy, and science of chiropractic, unfortunately they fall short in preparing their graduates on the business side of running a chiropractic practice. As a result, many chiropractors turn to management companies to help them run their practices. You may be considering hiring one in the future, so we wanted to pass along some tips to aid you in your search for the right company for you. There are many management companies out there and it’s important that you know what to look for to ensure it will be a good experience for you and your staff.
You should hire a company which will change the focus of how your practice communicates your most important job—changing your patients’ lives through the healing art of chiropractic. This is very difficult to accomplish unless your learn how to effectively communicate with your patients about how their bodies are functioning, what is causing their pain, and what chiropractic can do to restore their ailing bodies to health.
If the focus isn’t about the quality of your life, more money won’t change what ails the practice. It’s important to choose a company that cares about YOU and not just increasing the bottom line of your practice. If they really get to know the doctors whom they are helping, they will understand that “change” doesn’t come easily and it takes awhile to change from the inside out before excellence is processed as the norm.
Research each company you are considering very carefully, but don’t allow a small amount of negative feedback to unduly influence you. Many chiropractors talk about wanting change, but a much smaller number are actually willing to embrace it. There are many companies in the chiropractic management business and, if you dig deep enough, you can find someone who has something negative to say about each one of them. Have you ever looked on the Internet at the many “message boards” out there devoted to chiropractic? There are many hurting doctors who are posting on those sites. Differentiate between those who may be bitter because success was going to “cost” them more than they were willing to pay (and we’re not talking about money here) and those who really did receive sub-par service. (And, keep in mind, busy doctors who run successful practices don’t have time to post on message boards on the Internet....)
Another way to research a company is to schedule a telephone conference with a representative of each company you are considering. There should never be a charge for this type of consultation. You should expect to speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the company, but also takes time to listen to you and the circumstances of your practice. If they don’t have time for you in that initial conversation, they’re not going to have time for you when you become a client. However, if you feel you’ve connected with the “heart” of the company and sense their genuine love for chiropractic and concern for those who practice in this fine profession, then you should further consider adding them to your team. This initial conversation can help you decide if this is a company that helps you achieve goals you have for your practice and are not just focused on cookie-cutter results.
You should hire a company which will change the focus of how your practice communicates your most important job
Another way to determine if this is the company for you is by asking for at least three or four references that are current clients. Every consulting company will tell you that their best compliment is a referral, and satisfied clients are more than happy to tell you about their success with a particular company. Taking the time to speak with these doctors will help you determine if the company is a good fit for your practice. It also is an opportunity to hear a client’s perspective about working with the company. They can familiarize you with the company philosophy and make sure they're compatible with you and your team.
Look for a company that teaches you how to track. Crunching numbers helps you know where you're doing well and where you're doing poorly, and how to make adjustments accordingly. Certain consulting companies teach you and your team how to appropriately monitor the practice week to week. Tracking gives you more answers and allows you to tackle the problem before it escalates. Remember—knowing the "why" is part of finding the solution.
Look for a company which has been around awhile. Older usually does mean wiser in this business. If they have been helping chiropractors 20 years or longer, there is a high probability they have worked with a practice similar to yours and have taken them to where you'd like to go. If they did it for them, they can do it for you, too.
Shopping for a management company to assist you in running your chiropractic office can be an overwhelming decision. Partnering with a consultant is a major investment and should not be made without careful deliberation. Finding and hiring the right company can and will change the quality of your life. We hope these tips will assist you and help lead you to the company that is right for you.
Tom Owen III, President of AMC, lectures extensively from coast-to-coast to thousands of chiropractors and students annually. He is the author of Chiropractic from a Business Man’s Perspective, and has spent the last 25 years in the day-to-day trenches of the chiropractic profession. He lives by his quote that “In the end, all that is left are the lives we’ve touched and to what extent they were changed.”
Dr. Todd Osborne, a 1989 graduate of Palmer College, ran a successful high volume multiple doctor practice, and is currently Vice President of AMC, Inc., as well as an author and lecturer. Visit www.amcfamily.com or call (877) AMC-7117 for more information.