The discussion of Chiropractic success and its varied components has been a major topic of discussion since I can remember. My first exposure was in 1972 when I was sent to Parker Seminars as conducted by Jimmy Parker, D.C. in Las Vegas. The first one I attended was at the old MGM Grand and Elvis was the headliner. The hairdos and dress might be a bit different now, but the prevailing concerns were the same then as they are now, contrary to popular belief of most chiropractors.
To listen to the modern day D.C., the biggest issue they face is non payment of insurance claims, threat of fraudulent practice procedures, lawsuits by litigious patients and increasing overhead. When I listen, I hear that the concerns of the patient lie behind the fears of the Doctor. This is the sad case of affairs for our current profession.
As a person who looks at positive solutions to overbearing problems, the solution seems plausible and simple: Focus on simple patient care with a systematic approach with an affordable price. It always astounds me to visit with a D.C. who insists on being all things to all people and then expects his/her practice to thrive. That is like saying, I bought this car and now I have to learn to do all of the maintenance and repairs from engine to interior; Ludicrous.
There are still patients who need help. They come to the office for solutions that make sense and a plan that is workable. This requires a leader and a team. Sounds simple in theory but, in fact, if the D.C. is taking the films, adjusting, setting the patient up on a traction table, PTLMS preparation, Reports of Findings, Home Care Instruction AND finances, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that practice is no longer FUN. This is why we have so many vitamin salesmen that were former chiropractors. Practice and wellness should be fun and enjoyable.
Some years ago, we put together Team Training. It was to be the vehicle which drove the success of the Pettibon practice. When I set up the criteria it was to insure that everyone in the practice who participated in patient care of ANY kind had to attend. I took a lot of criticism for this attitude but, for the sake of clarity, it is worthy of review. Consider the logic of who should attend:
1. Front Desk: The most important first and last impression of YOUR clinic had better be capable of saying something more intelligent than, "Have a nice day." This person needs to reinforce everything that happens in the back rooms of the office, from spinal molding to head weighting to keeping appointments on time.
2. Insurance Desk: We ask a person to bill for us and collect for us and, other than numbers on a paper, we assume that they do not need to know what they are pursuing other than payment of codes. When a person just does a job, turnover increases because, when it comes down to it, those who remain on the job do so because they love what they do and the people they do it for. Simple enough.
3. X-ray Technician: The redundant act of taking X-rays grows pretty stale when one has no idea why they take them and what they mean. When the X-ray technician understands the spinal model and how to mark the lines on the film, all of a sudden it is an exciting position to enjoy each and every day.
4. Spinal Technician (S.T.)/Chiropractic Technician: In the years gone by, this was a glorified name given to a minimum wage employee who knew how to turn on a plugged in apparatus that squeezed muscles or provided some relief or worked the patient in some way for which the clinic received money. It had little to do with knowledge or practice building and everything to do with the patient feeling like they received a little something more.
The public has changed, times have changed. The general public is used to dental technicians, physician assistants and those who are doing the pre- and post- work alongside of their employer. The thinking person understands the need to have helpers in a clinical setting. Those helpers are readily accepted when they appear to be a trained arm of the professional in charge. The S.T. is meant to be just that. They should be the true helpmate of the Doctor providing assistance in all areas of the practice, from taking and processing X-rays to exercise instruction to preparing the patient for their adjustment/mobilization. That type of individual is NOT a rare find; they can be hired and trained with the proper procedures in place. This is the WHY of Team Training.
Sharon Freese-Pettibon, President of The Pettibon System, Inc, been in the chiropractic trenches for 39 years. She ran a successful staff training and practice development consulting company for Pettibon practitioners and has set up 12 chiropractic clinics. Her passion is seeing people succeed. Sharon can be reached at 1-888-774-6258 or