There are many wonderful benefits of being a chiropractor. Perhaps the most obvious one is that it gives you the opportunity to help people live higher quality lives: lives with less pain and greater levels of health. It also helps that, unless one of your patients has an emergency, you normally get nights and weekends off, an advantage that a lot of healthcare professionals often don’t enjoy.
However, it takes more than just a drive to help others to keep your business doors open. It takes adherence to a few basic “rules” which, when put together collectively, become the formula for true, lifelong success. Doing this will allow you to help more patients while putting your practice miles ahead of the competition.
A Simple Formula for Success
The formula for practice success is not complicated. It distills down to three basic factors: increase collections, decrease overhead and increase referrals. Focus on this and your practice will go from barely surviving to absolutely thriving.
Let’s talk about the first part of the formula: increase collections. This is the process of getting paid. In today’s digital world, electronic health record (EHR) systems with integrated billing can make the collections process much easier. Such a system will ensure you always have a finger on the status of your patients’ payments and monies due. Plus, doing in-house billing instead of outsourcing the process saves you tons in overhead costs; a potential killer in business profits.
The second part of this formula is to lower your overhead which in turn reduces your costs of operation. This can be done in a couple of ways. First, remove any equipment you no longer use. Second, cancel any subscriptions or contracts that no longer benefit you. And finally, ask your staff for their input as they’ll often have ideas that can help you lower your overhead based on what they see as wasteful spending.
The final part of this formula is to increase patient referrals. Referrals dramatically boost your profits because they cost you nothing to obtain. It’s like free business. One study found that “half of all small business owners get their biggest boosts from customer referrals.” But the best thing about building referrals is easy to do.
How to Build Lasting Referrals
The first way to build referrals is to provide value. Value is simply the result of offering superior products and services that are predictably reliable and at a fair price. Although simple in concept, in reality, achieving great value is hard. Doing so takes a lot of experience in knowing your competition and what the market needs. However, in the end, building great value will certainly result in unlimited patients referring to you. Because in their mind, you’ve already proven they can depend on you and will easily refer others to the valuable care you provide.
The second way to build referrals is to create a trusting relationship. This can be done by exhibiting a high level of professionalism, a solid network of reputable people, and specializing in your area of expertise. This makes you become a healthcare provider whose people are more willing to share with those they love. Simply put, when your patients trust you, they’ll trust you with the ones they love.
Increasing collections, lowering overhead, and building referrals by delivering great value and trust are the three keys to chiropractic practice success. That said, it’s equally important to be aware of any hazards that can potentially derail your business.
How to Avoid Business and Professional Violations
While each profession has its own obstacles to success, chiropractic has three major ones. They are:
- Board violations. The most common of these violations are typically related to false or incorrect advertising, being misleading about your scope of practice, or improper billing.
- Medicare violations. The most common Medicare violations for chiropractors include documentation (or lack thereof), inducement/advertising, and incorrect billing.
- Government violations. You may find yourself in trouble with the government if you don’t adhere to the regulations and requirements in place regarding taxes liabilities, employment regulations, and zoning laws.
As stated, any of these violations can significantly impact your chiropractic practice in a very negative way. In some cases, these violations can actually shut your practice down.
One last point to consider is to automate as many processes as you can to ensure success without violating any business or professional rules. Again, EHR’s with integrated billing keep you on the straight and narrow so you can focus on your patient care in a stress-free environment.