Academy of Chiropractic

MD Referral Program 

Program Infrastructure – Novice

William J Owens Jr DC DAAMLP CPC

“If you do NOT have a plan, you are part of someone else’s” – Terrance McKenna


Whenever you are implementing a NEW system in the office, it can be frustrating because all the time is already taken up! This is not only going on in your head, but, believe me, it is going through the heads of the members of your staff as well. In fact, they probably talk more about it when you’re NOT around than when you are. That is why it is imperative that you explain to them what the expectations are, but also WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM. Everyone works harder for rewards, so when implementing a new system, especially one that is going to increase practice profit, this is KEY. This consultation is not about staff incentives, but developing your own is important.

The MD Relationship Program is not a DIFFICULT SYSTEM, but it is not a PASSIVE SYSTEM either. Success or failure will be determined by your ability to lead, motivate and stay the course consistently. Before we get into the particulars of organizing this system so that you “keep from FREAKING out,” let me tell you a quick story. Many people see successful people every day. What we don’t often see is someone BECOMING successful…Those are two very different things. Here is a great example.

The surgeon that I work with on a daily basis is a “SURGEON.” That means that in many people’s minds, he is a pinnacle of success and income potential. Here is the twist. He is working insanely hard behind the scenes, building relationships to acquire patients. Many think that surgeons sit in their offices with referrals flooding in. While this may be true later in their careers, working with a younger surgeon has given me some valuable insight. The surgeon I work with is covering a huge area in Western New York to establish himself. This surgeon rotates through a chiropractic office, over 1 hour away, 2-3 times per month, is at a rural Hospital that is 45 minutes away twice per week, and is available at an urgent care clinic 1 day per week for fractures and whiplash injuries. He sees patients at his office and has surgical procedures that he is doing alone or assisting on weekly. Why is this important? It is important for his success and building relationships is also part of YOUR success.

The MD Relationship Program is designed to allow you and chiropractic to be exposed in virtually the same way as medical professionals are to build their practices. Chiropractic has historically marketed chiropractor (business) to patient/public (customer). What makes this program unique is that we marketing chiropractor (business) to MD (business). When business starts referring to business, then you build serious momentum. Even the largest retail and customer oriented businesses have serious behind the scenes business to business relationships.

Back to the task at hand…Organizing this program so you can live a balanced professional and personal life. When I organized this program for my office, I needed to keep in mind that consistency is the foundation. The program can always grow, but you need a starting point, a starting point which takes into consideration the tasks that your staff already has, the patients that you see, and the paperwork and billing demands you have, and can still leave room to address problems that arise because they always do! What has been created (this works well for the Lawyers PI Program as well) is a calendar grid for the MD Offices. These are color coded based on 3 considerations. Are you, the DOCTOR, going to visit, is your STAFF, or will you be scheduling a lunch? You are visiting MD offices ONCE per month, or more as the opportunity arises which would be NEW offices in which you are reviewing important clinical findings. YOU MUST NEVER MISS A DROP OFF BECAUSE YOU SCHEDULED A LUNCH. Building a relationship takes time…Don’t lose it because you found a NEW FRIEND!

You may choose to use this or not. Some doctors like to use their office schedule, I do not. My schedule is for patients, not marketing. The grid should be filled out quarterly and printed out. This is your PLAN for the next 90 days. MD offices can be added, but make sure that you have time to drop the materials off before you put more on your plate. Remember, you don’t need everyone, just a few. This will be on top of increasing your reporting proficiency as referrals come in. Take it slow and steady. The grid will allow you to SEE down the road, not just weekly, and allow you to direct your staff as to where they are going on a weekly basis.

Here is what is handed off at each visit:

1: Lunch – Review of patient information in a co-managed patient or evidenced based chiropractic research to the MD. YOU ARE PRESENT…

2: DOCTOR Visit – Specific chiropractic research – Evidence based provided to the office staff at first and the office manager second. The step AFTER the office manager is the MD at the lunch (#1). This will take you no more than 5 minutes at each stop, so plan your ROUTE effectively.

3: STAFF VISIT – This is the second visit per month. Your staff drops off something FUN, like licorice, coffee, pistachios, mouse pads, etc. EVERYTHING has your clinic information on it. THERE IS NO RESEARCH BEING HANDED OUT AT THIS VISIT!

I have attached a prior grid in the forms section so you can see what I did. I only scheduled May and the first visit in June as an example. This does not have to be on the computer. The blank grid can be printed out weekly for your office to use. I attached a blank one. Just use highlighters instead. I hope this helps you to create your marketing foundation and any corrections, upgrades or comments are always appreciated. There is currently no better way to market business to business. Stay organized and build upward.

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