Creating a Family-Based Practice

Creating a Family-Based Practice

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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Thanks to Today's Chiropractic for permission to reproduce this article!

By Dr. Eric Plasker

If there’s one thing chiropractors have in common, it’s their search for the secret of how to attract and retain a larger share of patients in their communities. Reaching and attaining your percentage of that market can seem like a complex number game, but there is one simple and effective way it can be won, and it starts with a family focus.

Can you imagine the impact it would have on your practice enrollment if instead of marketing your services to singular patients and their individual health problems, you began to focus your efforts on educating and enlisting entire families into a chiropractic wellness model that mirrors your own lifestyle?

You will be amazed at how quickly your bottom line will flourish and the positive impact you can have on the health of your community when you create a family-focused practice. In fact, chiropractors from every political affiliation and practice orientation from rehab to PI and workman’s compensation are adding a family base to their practices because they know it will create a foundation for continuous growth. They have discovered that the secret to building their dream practice and serving their community lies not in limiting their scope and focus to treating one particular type of condition or symptom (such as back pain) but in implementing marketing and office systems that will appeal to multiple generations by meeting the needs of everyone, not just one family member who happens to be in pain.

Isn’t it true that you would never think of allowing your own family members to go through life without regularly checking them for subluxations? So, let’s begin operating our own practices and profession in the same way that we live and participate in chiropractic in our personal lives because it’s this kind of congruency that is so important to your success!

You can start the process of aligning your practice with your personal beliefs by conducting an honest evaluation of your current systems. When you do this, you may discover that one of the reasons why you haven’t been attracting families to your practice in the first place is because you aren’t truly “family-oriented” in your philosophy. In fact, what may be closer to the truth is that you are running a “families as an after-thought” practice where multiple members are coming onboard purely by chance.

To truly maximize your scope and reach in your community, make sure that families form the foundation of all of your thoughts, practice systems and procedures. It’s a subtle change in orientation and operations that can bring huge returns- one that focuses on the family instead of the individual. One of the greatest benefits that you will experience is the enormous satisfaction of becoming the “family doctor” for your patients and making a huge difference in the quality of their lives. Utilize the following simple steps to support you in establishing a “families first” practice:

  1. Adopt a “Families First” Consciousness— When you communicate the benefits of chiropractic to your patients, speak to them as if they were one of your own family members. Share with them the reasons why and ways in which you and your family members participate in chiropractic—as a lifetime healthcare choice instead of just a “quick fix” for fatigued or aching muscles, joint or nerve problems.

    Shift the focus of your communications away from presenting chiropractic as an effective treatment for alleviating unwanted symptoms toward its proactive role in preventing injury and supporting health goals by boosting the body’s immune system and natural ability to heal itself.

    Make this kind of dialogue (about the positive impact chiropractic can have on their health and well-being over a lifetime) a daily part of your discourse during your Report of Findings, health talks and lectures. Explain to your patients how chiropractic can benefit them (and each generation of their family) through every stage of growth and development, and you will attract patients who will make a commitment to chiropractic and to you over a lifetime.

  2. Institute a Family Appointment System— You can enroll your staff and patients in the “families first” mentality with a few simple questions. When a patient calls your office, always instruct your front desk staff to ask, “Are you interested in booking an individual or a family appointment?” Then have them ask, “Is this appointment for treatment of a specific health problem or for general wellness?” When you ask these types of pointed questions, you will instantly convey to your patients the broad scope of your services and the various levels at which they can participate in chiropractic care in your office. Remember, don’t schedule appointments for family members at different times of the day or week. Put them all on the same day, back-to-back. The beauty of scheduling whole families in one time slot is that you can double or even quadruple your capacity with little more effort than you would expend on one patient. When they arrive, escort them to the adjusting area altogether instead of one at a time.

  3. Arrange Your Office Flow for Families— Do an assessment of your daily visit procedures. Are your current systems structured with the goal of serving one person at a time or do you need to alter them to cater to multiple patients? Is your adjustment area large enough to accommodate a whole family? Do you have adjusting tables sized for both children and adults? If not, make sure that you build an office area that is customized for families and when you do adjust, have all of the family members lying face down, relaxed and ready to go as they wait for their turn. Some simple office flow modifications can go a long way without you having to invest in any major construction projects or cost.

  4. Offer Family-Oriented Fee Systems— Remember, you should always implement internal family-oriented efficiency systems first before you adopt a family fee system. Once you establish efficient office procedures for families, it should take you the same amount of time to adjust a family of four as it does just two people. If however, you discover that you are not able to adjust multiple family members in this time frame, do not proceed with implementing a family fee system.

    Make sure that the family is set-up in your computer system under one account, so that checking in and out will be effortless. Once you become efficient in both your family-oriented adjustment procedures and financial structure, your practice income will soar as your cost per visit drops.

  5. Fashion Your Marketing Messages For Families— Many chiropractors mistakenly choose marketing materials that focus on how chiropractic can provide relief for an assortment of symptoms and unconsciously limit their patient base to the individuals who have these ailments.

When selecting your marketing strategy, remember that the type of patient you attract is going to mirror the message that is in your print or broadcast material. Warm up your marketing with messages that talk about health and wellness instead of sickness and symptoms. If your marketing uses verbiage about car wrecks and whiplash, you are going to attract people who have this history (and who will be history in only 3 to 10 office visits) after their symptoms subside. However, if your marketing emphasizes wellness and the long term positive impact chiropractic can have on health throughout every stage of growth and development, then you will start attracting entire families who are willing to commit to chiropractic, you and your practice over a lifetime.

And finally, label your care plans as “family wellness” or “active life plans” in support of this modern wellness philosophy. Have photos of families hanging in your office and a display board showcasing family-oriented success stories that will motivate and inspire your new and potential patients with the message that chiropractic is indeed a “family affair.”

Remember, there has never been a better time for the chiropractic profession to impact our nation’s health and welfare than today. Use some of these strategies and systems to build a first-class family practice, and soar into abundance as you spread health and wellness in your community.

Dr. Eric Plasker is a licensed chiropractor and the founder of The Family Practice, a chiropractic coaching and training organization providing all the systems, tools and support to build a highly successful and profitable family practice. For more information call The Family Practice toll-free at (866) LEAD-DCS (532-3327), ext. 118, or visit

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