New Approach in Practice Management?

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This afternoon I listened to one of the numerous audiocassettes tapes that come in the mail.  Actually, it probably arrived weeks (maybe months) ago but today I was clearing the top of my desk and throwing out all the “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie” cassettes, along with all of the other tapes I had that were not related to chiropractic.  But this one was a chiropractic one, or at least it was sent to me by a chiropractic consulting firm.  Now it is pretty much common knowledge where on the food chain I place practice management consultants but I hate to throw out anything so I thought I would listen to a few words, probably become incensed and then disgustedly heave it in the trash.  The speakers were two names that I recognized as big fee, money-oriented consultants and I figured this was another attempt to get me to join them so I could make lots of money and be successful.  I was surprised to hear their pitch.  Sure they wanted new clients but their emphasis was not upon charging high fees or seeing how much “service” the patient would pay for.  They talked about wanting chiropractors who had a purpose in life, who wanted to serve, who were thinking about what they could do for the patient rather than what they could get from the patient.  At first I could not believe my ears.  Was one of these guys really the same PMC who ridicules the box on the wall fee system and has publicly said he does not recommend ever compromising on your fee for any reason?  ( I suppose you have to respect a guy who will not compromise.)  I began to think about the new approach that they had.  Ethics, principles, purpose, service, dedication, and commitment were just a few of the ideas they were discussing.  I have to assume this was not just a sales pitch but that they were serious about the kind of chiropractor they wanted, one who based his/her life and practice on integrity and honor.  But  as the tape went on I got the impression that they were willing to teach those character qualities to chiropractors to help them be successful in life.  After listening to the tape and having my consciousness sensitized by them I became more aware of other PMCs saying and doing the same.  I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this whole concept of chiropractors now in quest of meaning, purpose and definition for their lives.  Is this a fad? Have PMCs had some kind of spiritual awakening?  Are they sincere?  Is there a new wave of serving humanity like we saw in the 60’s and early 70’s?  I would like to think so.   However it’s also possible that this is a new practice management gimmick.  Maybe the PMCs realize that the big money-making approach of the 80’s and early 90’s is no longer possible and that they have to sell service and volume rather than high fees.  Whatever the case, it will be interesting to watch.  It will be especially interesting to see if some of these PMCs begin to advocate the ideas of low overhead, simple practice, low fees, and service as the foremost objective, concepts that many of us, including Reggie Gold, the FSCO and others have been advocating for years, even during the me-first period of the 80’s.  In any event, it will be interesting to see if this integrity in practice concept is just a gimmick, a fad that will peak and wane or whether this profession is finally developing a little character.  Keep tuned for further updates. v14n1

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