Thanks to ACA News for permission to reproduce this article!
By Christina Acampora, DC
They say if you arenít on the Internet, you arenít in business. While a simple contact listing may suffice for some, clinic Web sites are simple and cost-effective methods of reaching your audience.
Just as media and the Internet have evolved, our relationships with medical physicians have also progressed. Utilizing the Web site to help inform your local medical community about your services gives you another outlet of communication to continue to foster this positive, forward motion of MD/DC relationships. Providing information that helps overcome some common misperceptions about chiropractic will help non-chiropractic providers understand how you address patient care. Here are some highlights to consider including on your Web site:
There is a misperception that chiropractic care is not evidence based. Consider posting a summary of your favorite research articles that cover conditions you treat. The research summary should include a brief overview of the study design, findings and a full citation (authors, full title, publication, date, volume, pages). You can find many relevant studies in JMPT or on www.ccgpp.org
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and Dr. Dan Redwood of Cleveland Chiropractic College recently developed a manuscript that includes a thorough review and summaries of chiropractic research. Chiropractors can post a link to
www.foundation4cp.com/files/chiro_res_ practice.pdf on their Web site, so that visitors may download the manuscript for free.
Itís important for an MD visiting your Web site to understand that you provide a thorough examination to rule out red flags; refer out for special studies, when warranted; and create a treatment plan individualized to patients and the examination findings. Those wishing to take their Web site to the next level may want to include the specifics of the examination. This might include range of motion testing, muscle tone and strength, neurological integrity and orthopedic tests, all of which help identify what is causing the patientís pain.
Describing your diagnostic approach helps illustrate to the physician that you donít simply lay each patient down and start adjusting, a perception many MDs have. In addition, it helps differentiate the chiropractic approach from other CAM therapies that donít include examination or diagnosis.
Chiropractors have many different clinical interests, from the spine to the extremities to general health and so on. Listing the conditions that you specialize in and a brief description of treatment considerations that you might use will help define the type of patient that would be appropriate for your care. Briefly describe The symptoms that a patient might present with as that helps place a specific patient in the doctorís mind for referral purposes.
DCs are known for manipulation, and although other professions are now incorporating manipulation as a treatment, it is still primarily associated with chiropractic care. Use your Web site to help educate physicians on what manipulation is, as well as the conditions or symptoms that would be indicated for chiropractic manipulation. List other treatments you provide, along with one to two sentences that describe them. If you are certified in a particular treatment, it will help underscore your commitment to continued training and clinical excellence.
Approaches to Collaboration
When possible, mention opportunities for collaboration (rehab, injections, NSAIDs), as this will emphasize your team approach and your knowledge of all treatment options for patients with this condition. It also subtly suggests that you are willing to refer patients to other providers, if needed.
Provide a sense of working together and team spirit. Discuss when you send referring physicians a report. Emphasize your desire for collaboration of care. Offer to meet with the doctor by including a link to e-mail you for more information.
Another common objection MDs have to referring to chiropractors is endless treatment plans without clinical improvement. Mentioning your treat-and-release philosophy overcomes this barrier in one simple sentence. Medical doctors want to refer patients to a clinic that gets results, so providing a short paragraph on your overall attention to improvement in functional levels, as well as evidence-based and individualized treatments, will help the MD understand your treatment philosophy.
Donít hide from the issue of safety.
We know that some MDs have a concern, as do their patients. Provide literature, research and even a brief overview of the safety concerns related to manipulation. We must address that there is a risk associated with manipulation, no matter how low it is. Help MDs understand how you screen patients, as well as the conditions that might increase the risk. What subjective and objective findings are considered a red flag?
Finally, offer MDs the ability to sign up for a quarterly or monthly medical e-newsletter on your Web site (for more information, read ďEducate Medical Physicians Through NewslettersĒ in the July 2010 issue of ACA News, Pages 18-19) and suggest that they contact you to learn more about your services.
Having a section of your Web site committed to medical providers suggests to your patients that you work with MDs, which may open the door to patient requests that you contact their MDs, as well. It also illustrates that you already work with other MDs in the community. Web site pages are well worth the minimal time and cost investment and go a long way toward educating those who may be searching for you on the Internet!
Christina Acampora, DC, is the author of Marketing Chiropractic to Medical Practices and founder of Aligned Methods, a company specializing in helping DCs establish informed working relationships with medical physicians. Aligned Methods offers discounted memberships to students. For more information, visit www.alignedmethods.com.