Visiting the Seattle Boat Show recently, I was amazed to find a perfectly located and great looking booth, with energetic DC’s chomping at the bit to sign up new patients. They were literally following people as they walked by, but everyone kept on walking. I said to the doctor in charge, “Why would you spend all this money on this show, and not be using a Static SEMG?” Although he had never used one, he had no trouble listing a million reasons why it was a waste of time. I suggested we try it for an hour just for grins. He begrudgingly agreed.
Needless to say, with the SEMG setup, potential new patients were literally lining up to be tested. One screener said, “Wow! I can’t believe they are actually coming to us.” After an hour, I was getting bored, so I packed it up when he wasn’t looking and left. I did not even make it to my car before my cell phone started ringing. It was the doctor, of course.
“Where did you go?” he said.
“You told me it was a waste of time to use an SEMG, so I left,” I responded.
“No, No, No…. Please, bring it back!” he said.
What made the huge difference? Technology. Our society eats, breathes, and believes in technology. We don’t trust it unless it has been “blessed” by a computer of some sort. Add to this the fact that 80% of us are visual learners, and it is obvious.
Doctors report a five- to ten-fold increase in number of new patients when using instrumentation in comparison to traditional screenings, and agree that the machines are paid for in their first couple of screenings
1. Instrumentation: Static Surface EMG (approximately $5000): Why? SEMG’s can be used in all environments, regardless of temperature (unlike thermography), and people naturally understand muscle tension, making it simple to explain. Since they can feel it, you establish credibility with them very quickly. What characteristics make an SEMG optimal for screenings?
a. The lighter the weight, the better. Every piece of equipment, including the SEMG, should be as light as possible. A solid, easy-to-use transport case is a nice option, but is not totally necessary.
b. Standing Neutral SEMG tests are optimal for screenings.
i. Load bearing, “chiropractically” sound standing tests bring out more abnormalities, and you don’t have to lug a couple of chairs with you.
ii. You are more visible than when doing seated tests, as you are at or above eye level when testing.
iii.Psychologically, people associate the seated position with making a commitment, as with purchasing a car. People are much more likely to allow you to test them standing, as they feel less threatened.
c. Software should be simple to use, fast and should not require that you enter patient names (both for speed and HIPAA). Systems that use Function keys instead of the mouse allow you to test in sunlight where the screen is less visible. This is particularly important in spring and summer screenings, which are often outdoors.
d. Graphics should be clean, simple and are much more powerful if presenting a sample “ideal” test alongside the results, for comparison purposes.
e. Voice prompts and/or sound is very important, as the more senses appealed to, the more people you will attract.
2. MONITOR: Price: $180 to $3000. Best value: 19” Color Monitor. Most “Punch”: Data Projector or Plasma Screen.
a. Considering that 19” monitors are under $180, it makes more sense to use a monitor than a TV. If you can afford an LCD, purchase at least a 17” screen. 42” Plasma screens are great, but cost upwards of $3000.
b. If you can afford a data projector, they are very powerful when used indoors. (Must be at least 1000 lumens, and 800 x 600 resolution). The best projector screen is the Dalite Instatheater 60” (around $350). The screen rolls itself into a solid carry case, and looks like an expensive big screen TV when setup.
3. SPEAKERS: $20 to $40. Labtec “Spin” series computer speakers are inexpensive, small and work well.
4. MONITOR RISER: Fellowes Premium Monitor Riser (model 91717, approx. $22) allows you to place the monitor on top of the SEMG, not only making the monitor more visible, but saving space.
5. POWER: AC when available (call ahead to secure it). The next best thing is a deep cycle marine battery (120 amp hours) with a 400-watt power inverter (available from West Marine, or auto parts stores). You will also need a part from Radio Shack which provides a cigarette lighter adapter wired to red and black alligator clips (to connect to the battery). Plug the inverter into the cigarette lighter adapter, and you have power! Don’t forget, you need a charger for this. Honda 1000 watt generators are also good, but ONLY if you can place them far enough from your screening to avoid the obvious noise problems.
6. PRINTER: I am very impressed with the new HP 450ci printer ($299). It is fast, rugged, and small. Set it to draft mode for the greatest speed.
Instrumentation makes screenings not only more efficient and effective but, also, more fun. Don’t forget to have a positive attitude, and remind each potential patient that results are not as accurate as they would be in the clinic. This not only is the truth but, also, provides motivation for them to visit your office for a complete exam.
Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy. By finding the best product and support for your needs, you will have a great partner in building your practice. TAC
The author, David Marcarian, MA, is founder and president of Precision Biometrics, supplier of the MyoVision SEMG and Thermoglide systems. He has worked for NASA, and was awarded a $450,000 grant from the NIH for developing the MyoVision. He lectures for Palmer College of Chiropractic, and his course is endorsed by all U.S. chiropractic associations that mandate SEMG training. He has personally instructed more than 6,000 chiropractors on proper SEMG use. Mr. Marcarian can be reached at 800-969-6961, by email at
, or visit his company’s Web site at www.myovision.com.