by Dr Malcolm Rudd
The holy grail for many chiropractors and their teams is creating and maintaining a wellness practice. Unfortunately for many, this objective seems quite elusive.
The constant chase for more new clients (patients) is often uppermost in the mind of many practices, who have a revolving door of new people coming in, with the hope that they will stay.
So, what constitutes a wellness practice?
A wellness practice is defined as a practice whereby the bulk of clients stay long term and incorporate the chiropractic lifestyle as part of their ongoing health plan. It can be measured in several ways, the most common of which is a the Client Visit Average (CVA). A CVA of 60 or higher is the lowest threshold for a wellness practice and, typically, it will be above 100 in a strong wellness practice. Remember this number is the average number of visits that a new client to your practice has in their lifetime.
If you measure your average client visits for a week and divide it by the average number of new clients, you arrive at your CVA. The longer the time frame you can calculate these averages, the more accurate the results. The minimum should be at least 3 months.
If you do this calculation and it comes up short, don’t despair. Anyone can create a wellness practice if they want to.
The first step is to look in the mirror and ask yourself some great questions:
“Do I incorporate the chiropractic lifestyle into my own health plan?”
“Does my family incorporate the chiropractic lifestyle?”
“Does my team incorporate the chiropractic lifestyle?”
“Do I and my team have a schedule of care in the appointment book including progress and comparative examinations?
You cannot sell what you and your team don’t own.
And how often do you recommend on an ongoing basis the frequency of chiropractic that you utilise yourself?
Because many times I come across chiropractors and their teams who have weekly adjustments themselves, yet are keen to get all of their patients to 4 to 6 weekly check-ups.
There is a major contradiction here. As chiropractors and our teams, are we keeping chiropractic the best kept secret around?
If you are recommending more care than a person needs you are being unethical, and if you recommend less care than someone needs you are also being unethical. It is far more common in my experience to see chiropractors recommending less care than they know the person in front of them needs. This commonly occurs because the practitioner fears rejection or loss, or they only recommend what they ‘think’ the person can afford. Ultimately, if they are not scheduled frequently enough or for long enough, the results are not as good and this leads to poor retention as clients drop out of care. This then leads to a constant need for more new clients and the merry go round continues.
When you make recommendations based on the clients’ goals and your clinical findings, and these are the same recommendations that you would recommend to yourself if you had the same goals, findings and lifestyle of the person in front of you, then you are being ethical.
Your retention in the long term is a direct reflection of your clarity and the clarity of your team. If the clients coming into your practice have mixed messages from you and your team, there is some work to do here. An in-depth look into your philosophy and belief systems and that of your team will be covered in future articles. For now, let’s look at some basic strategies to move towards a wellness practice.
The cornerstone of any wellness practice is a schedule of care that involves progressive and comparative examinations.
This schedule of care is normally booked ahead and there is often a prepayment for sections of care , the length of prepayment depending on the laws of your state and country.
The schedule of care is outlined at the outset and will be updated and adjusted depending on the clients ongoing health goals and objective findings, rather than just on whether or not they have experienced pain relief.
Throughout the ongoing schedule of care, education occurs to create an understanding that there is more to Chiropractic than merely the treatment of pain and symptoms.
More specifically, there are five paradigm shifts necessary for those clients participating in a wellness practice. These need to be constantly reinforced through education by the entire chiropractic team.
These paradigms are:
That pain and symptoms are not the best indicator of their health.
They have a health problem, not just a back problem.
That they have had this problem a lot longer than what they originally thought.
Doing nothing about it would have their health deteriorate more over time.
That it takes time to heal.
The education of these principles starts in during the initial consultation, is further reinforced in a dedicated report of findings on a separate visit, and then again through a chiropractic health workshop. The workshop is often done in a group format on an evening in the practice.
In addition, educate your practice members with specific table talk during regular visits.
Discuss concepts related to the five paradigms and also around the concept of subluxation.
Specifically, you can educate on:
What is a subluxation?
What causes a subluxation? (physical, chemical and emotional stress)
What does subluxation cause? (the effects on their health)
How do you know if you have subluxation? (checked by a chiropractor)
What do you do about it if you have subluxation? (only a chiropractor can find and adjust a subluxation)
In summary, the mainstay of any wellness practice is a congruent team who understand the benefits of living the chiropractic lifestyle and they embrace it fully. They then, with clear intention, give clear education to every client about this.
Do you want to learn more on creating your own Wellness Practice? Click here to see which module in our latest online learning program will support you to kick these goals!