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Creating a New Partnership ... With the Medical Doctor Down the Street

We've all had the patient with a neck, back or leg pain who came in after trying physical therapy, prescriptions or even surgery.  After a brief conversation, you discover nothing has worked to completely alleviate the pain. Now, the only reason she is here is because her primary care physician finally asked, “What do you think about chiropractic care?”

Yes, to many medical doctors, we are the solution of last resort.  There is nothing malicious at work here, but I believe the vast majority of medical doctors do not understand how we can work together to help our mutual patients live healthier lifestyles. 

While there are examples of D.C.s and medical doctors forming alliances, there are still many misconceptions about how a D.C. diagnoses and provides a treatment plan. 

So how do we change perception? We create a plan for outreach.

  • Research.  As part of your new patient form, many D.C.s request the contact information of the patient’s primary care physician.  If your system allows you, pull a report sorted by physician name.  The names that show up the most often are the best place to start because you can use that as a conversation starter.  Another place to look is the area around your business and identify potential medical practices.
  • Contact.  Once you have identified two or three names, decide how you want to contact them – email, letter or phone call.  Remember, like you, they are busy so you’ll likely have to ask for an appointment.  Most medical doctors are accustomed to making appointments with pharmaceutical representatives and have plans in place to schedule multiple meetings throughout the week that do not interrupt patient care. 
  • Educate.  The medical profession has long successfully referred patients to specialists.  In many regards, this is exactly how we can work together.  When talking to medical doctors and/or their staff, you need to be able to articulate how this might work. However, you’ll likely have to begin at the beginning and explain how the chiropractic care works and how the right approach in diagnosis and treatment can help patients recuperate and live healthy, active lifestyles.  If you have developed relationships with medical professionals, explain how it works.
  • Follow up. Once you’ve had the meeting, follow up with an email or letter reiterating the points of your conversation, as well as any actions you’ve agreed to. If there aren’t any action items such as beginning some type of referral program, then make a plan to follow up in a few months.

A little bit of your time and outreach can go a long way.  Ultimately, the benefits of working with medical doctors are important not only to your mutual patients, but to your practice overall.  

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