The Value of Wellness
Do you know the benefits of Maintenance Care in your practice? You may also call it Wellness Care or Enhancement Care. Whatever the term that you want to use for that type of care, there are benefits and value to creating a lifetime wellness culture in your practice. One of the things that frustrates chiropractors today is running a pain practice.
Pain Practices: Short Term and High Turnover
Pain practices are short term care. Pain is the last to show and the first to go. A pain practice is going to average six visits per patient (Patient Visit Average, or PVA). In turn, that short average creates roller coaster practices. Pain practices must produce a ton of new patients regularly. It is a practice that will have its ups and downs all based on the number of new patients generated. This type of “Replacement Practice,” if you will, features constant turnover. 20 new patients came in this month and they’re all gone. Next month you’ve got to chase down 20 new patients to replace them.
These practices are very difficult to grow because the focus is on constantly replacing patients versus a practice that is concentrating on Wellness and Maintenance. In our office I prefer to call it “Enhancement Care,” because our goal and our vision is to continue enhancing people’s health for their entire life, not to just maintain it. We want to enhance that care and help our patients and their families experience true Wellness throughout their life. As a result, I spend a lot of time focusing on that in our practice.
Practice Growth Fundamentals
Now, you still need new patients, especially when first opening. You have to start by generating the new patients and have those patients coming into your practice regularly. Over time, though, you should continue to grow that practice by keeping those new patients in your practice. By having that long-term care in your practice, those patients will stay on not just a year but even two years, three years, five years, or even a lifetime.
Wellness Practices: Stability and Growth
That is true practice growth in my mind. Lifetime Wellness Care allows you to not have the generating of new patients be the sole determiner of what your month is going to look like. This is especially important if you hit a bump in the road and for whatever reason you can’t market. We’ve had practices shut down or closed down because they weren’t out able to go do screenings or talks. If you have that stable maintenance practice (and the referral-based practice that naturally results from that), you can continue going in and won’t have that big roller coaster of big dips and dives.
The key to true practice growth is keeping the patients. The first part of that is in your concepts and understanding that there is something way beyond the pain practice. If you’re running a pain practice, please understand that this is a concept change for you. The only way pain practices gain lifetime patients is when patients come back every time they hurt. That’s like running to the medicine cabinet for the Advil or Tylenol every time that they have a pain or ache.
Next, you can work to create that wellness culture in your practice. Patients want to come in no matter what their symptoms. They want to come in and they want to be Wellness-type patients. Wellness patients want to live up to the best of their health potential. That style of patient takes a culture to create.
Let me share some examples with you to help open your mind up to this a little bit. First, when I look at practices, especially newer practices, I expect they should be gaining a bare minimum of 20% growth a year. How many new patients would that level of growth require in a Replacement Practice? We’ll say they are seeing currently 20 new patients a month (you can substitute whatever numbers want with this example). A Replacement Practice that wants to grow 20% a year would have to average 41 new patients per month in year five to have grown 20% every year. In year 10, that practice would have to average 103 new patients a month! Clearly you can see the writing on the wall with that.
Pain Practice: Unsustainable Growth Required
Number one, you can only process so many new patients in a month. Number two, what marketing can you do to continually produce that type of level of new patients? What if you go 20 years, or 30 years into practice? You would have to be getting hundreds upon hundreds of new patients a month. Now, let’s look at 20% growth a year if you’re running a Maintenance or Wellness and Enhancement Care practice.
We’ll take that same 20 new patients per month. Let’s say you convert 80% of those patients to a care plan and let’s say that average is 24 visits. Those patients are going to end up producing 384 patient visits a month. Year after year, if you get 20 new patients and a 24 visit care plan with 80% of those, then you’re looking at 384 patient visits per month whether you’re in year one, year five, year 10 that’s what it’s going to produce if your new patient count stays stable.
Wellness Practice: Low Stress, Self-Sustaining Growth
Next, let’s look at this if you added a system that can train and educate your patients and help them to understand making the intelligent choice for both them and their entire family’s health. What if you had a system that could conservatively convert 60% of those 20 new patients to maintenance plans? For simplicity, let’s use an average of 1-2 visits a month as your maintenance or Wellness plan. This results in approximately 18 visits over the next year.
Again, these are conservative numbers. If you do that and you continue getting your 20 new patients a month, in year three the practice would be seeing 860+ patient visits a month. In year five there are over 1,000 patient visits a month! Looking further, in year 10 there are north of 1,300 patient visits a month. You can see very quickly how getting new patients in and keeping them not only maintains the practice, but also grows exponentially by keeping the Wellness and Maintenance patients.
Try It Yourself
You can run the numbers yourself to calculate these out. A practice that is only doing 250-400 patient visits a month can move to the 2,000 patient visits per month range very quickly by keeping patients. The key to note here is that this is a lower stress practice that is self-sustaining because you don’t have to continually produce new patients. A Wellness system will produce the new patients for you because this is going to be a referral-based practice.
In a Wellness Practice not only do you not have the stress of going out to get new patients, your practice is also growing on its own by keeping the patients. Additionally, the referrals that come in are going to be patients that are looking for that lifetime Wellness-type care also.
I would encourage all of you to use a system that allows you to operate this type of practice. It can take a ton of stress off you and it can really increase your productivity and your profitability moving forward in your practice.