As we finish out 2009, I want to look forward at some possible trends in 2010. Today’s post looks at the first 3 predictions I see for next year. While these are things you should think about, I’m not a prophet and could be proven wrong on some of these. So make sure and get a “multitude of counselors” before completely changing your business. They are simply my best guess at what’s going to happen and I’ll be advising my coaching clients in this direction.
1. More Cash Practices.
The number of cash practices will continue to increase. Having run both a cash-only practice and a more mixed practice, I generally stay away from this argument. It seems in the past, most people making the cash-only choice were doing it for purely philosophical reasons, and not for business reasons. My opinion has been that if insurance is good in your area, why not use it. And based on clients and customers I’ve spoken with, that has worked well.
But things are about to change. As I write this, it appears the U.S. government insists on getting its hands into the insurance game. No matter what some of the articles in chiropractic journals might say, this will not end well for chiropractors (or Americans in general). No matter your political standing, you know this will be true.
Do you currently like the Medicare payments? Well, under this new legislation a proposed $480 billion dollars in cuts to Medicare will be done over 10 years. Do you think chiropractors will be at the top or bottom of those cuts? How well do you enjoy Medicaid in your state? Now even more of your patients will qualify for Medicaid under the new government “health exchanges”.
Because most Americans will have to buy into these exchanges, or pay a $750 fine, more people will have these plans. This likely will not bode well for your practice. I could go one, but have 4 other predictions to cover. You can read a summary of the proposed bill here.
#2. More Focus on Specific Niches
Because of the drastic effects mentioned above, I predict more chiropractors will have to focus on specific niches. This is good because it will allow you to help more motivated patients and you can charge higher case fees.
Niches are subgroups of the overall patient population. Not only will you need to market specifically to them using language they understand and related to (as in the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads), but you’ll need to set up specific treatment plans for them. Examples include spinal decompression, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, etc. As you can see, some of these niches will require you to purchase additional equipment. But this need not be overly expensive, especially if you look at what other people are doing.
For example, Dr. Hayes showed us how he put together his neuropathy treatment program in the recent webinar we did (replay at http://www.neuropathychiros.com).
It’s better to make these changes now before you have to because of lower income. A practice focusing on and marketing to a few specific niches is the key to having a high-income, low-stress office.
#3. Additional Products and Services.
Predict chiropractic offices will focus on selling additional products and services to their patients. This includes additional products and services the patients is already getting somewhere else. Different types of nutritional supplements that help in healing and weight loss. Physical therapy or rehab services that increase that speed healing.
For the patient, this will will be a benefit since they can get more in one place, and have the doctors recommendation too. The benefit to you of course is increased income and patient satisfaction. The more satisfied they are, the longer they are likely to stay a patient in your office.
Look for Part 2 next Monday, where I’ll discuss the 4th and 5th predictions for 2010.