chiropractic referrals

Addressing the 3 Big Hindrances to Chiropractic Referrals

Marketing your chiropractic practice can be difficult.

One way to you can immediately improve your marketing is by actively addressing the 3 big hindrances to chiropractic referrals. When you speak with an MD you should have a plan.
As a matter of fact, you should make it EASY from them to refer to your office. Learn an essential chiropractic marketing tip in this weeks episode.

Addressing the 3 big hindrances to chiropractic care will make your marketing more efficient, more precise, and more refined.


How to Dramatically Increase the Impact of Your MD Marketing- by The Evidence Based Chiropractor

Marketing to MD's (and other physicians)  is a topic many chiropractors are very interested in, however, few have any tangible expertise.  Previously, we have looked at the 5 Secrets to MD Referrals and also how to execute a MD Meeting. But, how can you really maximize the effectiveness of your outreach?

Lets look at two scenarios:

  1. Chiropractor A speaks with a local medical doctor and spends an hour exuding the virtues of chiropractic, demonstrates chiropractic technique, gives a history of chiropractic, and delves into the intricacies of neuromuscular rehabilitation.  He never learns the spine conditions which the physicians sees regularly in practice; he has no idea what the doctors current treatment protocols are; and he has not addressed any of the well documented hinderances to chiropractic care.
  2. Chiropractor B speaks with a local medical doctor. By asking questions she finds out that lately the MD is seeing a lot of lumbar disc herniations, and he is currently referring these patients to a physical therapy clinic with a 2 week waiting list. She then presents information regarding the efficacy of chiropractic care for lumbar disc herniations, explains she will evaluate patients from her referral partners within 24 hours, and proactively addresses the MD's concerns regarding referrals to a chiropractic office. 

Which of these two scenarios do you think is more likely to result in a positive outcome (referrals)? Of course Chiropractor B is in a much better place!

Matching your "message to the market" is an age-old adage which is often underutilized in chiropractic/MD marketing.  Make things easier for yourself, and for the referring MD, by learning about their practice (which also develops rapport) and then presenting information on how you may be able to better serve their patients in comparison to their current choices.  Ultimately, we are building relationships to help our friends and neighbors in the community. Let's break this down into simple steps.

Step #1- Learn About Their Patient Base

Ask questions to learn about their patient base.  Maybe golf season just started and the doctor has seen an increase in lumbar disc herniations.  Perhaps football season just started and the pediatrician has seen an increase in cervical spine injuries. This information is worth its weight in gold!

Step #2- Learn About Their Current Treatment Protocols

In order to determine if you can serve their patients better than their current choice you must know what their current choice is.  Ask the physician about their current treatment protocols. Ninety nine percent of the time MD's "treat" spine complaints with: medication, physician therapy, or referral to another MD.  As chiropractors we are fortunate to have distinct advantages over all three of these options.  However, you must know their preferred choice before you can explain the benefits which you clinic can provide. 

Step #3- Proactively Address the Hinderances to Chiropractic Care

We know that over 85% of MD's have been asked about chiropractic care by their patients. We also know that only 11% have made a formal chiropractic referral. Some of the hesitance to make a referral stems from what we have identified as the "3 Big Hinderances to Chiropractic Referral". Quickly, the hinderances are the perception of long term treatment plans, a lack of communication, and the fear for patients who don't return. Doesn't is make sense to address these proactively with a simple statement such as, "We like to let our referral partners know that patients in our office receive an initial trial course of care (no long term treatment plans upfront), you will receive case notes on all patients (communication), and we agree with the research that shows patients receive the best outcomes when their PCP and Chiropractor work together (no patient vortex)."

These 3 simple steps can make a huge difference in your MD marketing. Chiropractic care is one of the most safe and effective healthcare professions in history. It's time to increase our utilization and help more people by building interdisciplinary referral relationships. If you are ready for a simple, elegant, cost effective MD marketing solution click here now. 

-The Evidence Based Chiropractor has assisted hundreds of chiropractors around the globe build interdisciplinary referral relationships.

Have you viewed our FREE Guides?  Download The MD Meeting and the 5 Secrets to MD Referrals today


How to Overcome the 3 Big Obstacles to Chiropractic Referrals- by The Evidence Based Chiropractor

Gaining traction with your MD Marketing

Without a plan, reaching out to medical doctors can be challenging.  Many chiropractors have spent time meeting with MD's only to see little progress in the way of referrals.  Often this is because they don't have a plan!  Like everything in life; when you have a plan and are prepared to execute, you will have far greater odds of success.  Through the years we have found that medical doctors have 3 big obstacles to initiating a chiropractic referral. Today we will touch on these 3 obstacles and how you can overcome them in your conversations. 

#1 - The Never Ending Long Term Treatment Plan

Almost everyone (including your local MD's) have heard stories of patients visiting a chiropractic office for mild low back pain and subsequently being prescribed a course of treatment which lasts months (or even years).  Certainly there is a place for long term care for certain patients.  Additionally, there are patients who are interested in chiropractic maintenance care.  I don't believe anyone would argue that point.  However, many physicians are under the impression, and ultimately fearful of making a referral, if they believe they are sending a patient to a physician who is going to possibly prescribe a long term plan for every patient.  I like to address this directly and let the MD know that ever patient in my office first goes through a initial trial course of care.  At the conclusion of the trial course of care we will re-evaluate and determine the next step.  Typically the trial course of care can run anywhere between 4-12 visits depending upon the presentation of the patient and the diagnosis.   

#2 Lack of Communication

Research shows us the communication between MD's and DC's is inconsistent at best. Case notes are the foundational tools of physician communication.  By simply sending case notes, it is unlikely that you will immediately receive a flood of referrals.  However, when you combine this with your monthly research brief and periodic meetings, you will have a potent combination of outreach and marketing.  Of course, when communicating patient information you must follow all local, state, and federal laws regarding protected health information.  Chiropractors often overcomplicate their case notes.  Simply, the physician wants to know- who? (patient name, date of birth), when? (date of service), what? (chief complaint), how? (plan of care).  This information should take up only a half page or so.  Nearly every EMR system can be programmed to export this data automatically for every new patient visit.  Some systems even allow the ability to fax directly from your workstation.  

When you consistently sending case notes the physician will become familiar with your name.  Additionally, they will begin to identify the great results you are getting in practice when they follow up with the patient!  Again, we have found that the combination of case notes, monthly MD Research Briefs, and periodic physical meetings are a fantastic way to build referral relationships. 

3# The Patient Vortex

Finally, physicians are fearful of patients being taken from their care.  Simply let the doc know that the research shows that patients receive the best results when their primary care physician and chiropractor are work together.  This simply statement shows that you intend to work in a collaborative fashion. 

A Final Word

By addressing these 3 obstacles you will not only "ease" the mind of the potential referring physician, but also professionally position yourself.  Currently, only 11% of Primary Care Physicians report that they have made a formal referral to a chiropractor.  By using the formula above you will be putting your practice in a great position to receive referrals.

Would you like our complete FREE guide to MD Meetings?

In it you will learn

  • -why should I meet with local MD's?
  • -should I provide lunch?
  • -how to set up the meeting
  • -getting prepared for your meeting

Get your copy HERE.

-The Evidence Based Chiropractor has assisted hundreds of chiropractors around the globe build interdisciplinary referral relationships.

Have you viewed our FREE Guides?  Download The MD Meeting and the 5 Secrets to MD Referrals today.


Still In Chiropractic School? Start Building Your Referral Network Now!

It is truly never too early to start building your network.  If you are still in chiropractic school (and know where you are headed after) then I would encourage you to begin building your network immediately. 

     Once in practice, it takes some time to develop your reputation and presence in a community.  By starting while you are still in chiropractic school, you will have a big advantage upon your start in practice.  Whether you planning to be an associate, independent contractor, or going into solo practice; starting early on your network is a good idea.

     Thankfully, you have access to computers and technology which connects people with a speed never seen before.  I would highly recommend building and establishing a professional chiropractic page.  For an in depth tutorial regarding this I recommend Dr. Riekeman and Dr. Deitch’s series of webinars.  At the most basic level, it is important for you to “like” and interact with businesses in your area.  Additionally, you should post content which will be valuable for the individuals following your page.  This may be inspirational, motivational, health living, fitness tips, etc.  I would recommend not posting daily “pro” chiropractic messages, but rather focus on the current desires of the community in which you intend to practice.  Once you have a following on Facebook, it will be easier to promote and make announcements regarding you office when it opens.  You will hit the ground running. 

    Secondly, I highly recommend immediately starting your outreach and marketing with other physicians near your soon to be practice location.  Developing a list of medical doctors and beginning monthly marketing through research will establish your identity with those physicians.  Ideally, I recommend actively and consistently marketing towards 40-80 doctors, however, even starting with 20 during school will give you a huge advantage once you begin practice.  Starting with specialties such as Primary Care, Orthopedics’, Pediatrician’s, and Internal Medicine is recommended because these physicians see the most patients which would be appropriate to refer for your care.  If you have access to peer-reviewed research journals (SPINE, Annals of Internal Medicine, etc) at school then you should be able to accumulate a substantial amount of content.  However, be careful.  With the speed of social media and publishing, it is essential to use recent and up to date research when marketing.  If you do not have access to these journals, or do not have the time to research, design, test, and implement your findings into powerful research briefs, then please contact me.  I provide monthly research briefs designed to stimulate relationships and referrals.  Currently, I am the only chiropractor actively practicing in a large orthopedic group who has the experience, access, and insight to deliver these “actionable” briefs. 

   Most of all, remember that marketing is a consistent and always evolving art.  By starting early, you will maximize your success.