Dynamic Chiropractic - February 14, 1992, Volume 10, Issue 04

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"Marketing Your Practice in the 90s"

Presented By -- Louis Sportelli, D.C., and Robert Levoy

Eight audiotapes -- approximately 12 hours running time

Being a chiropractor can be quite embarrassing -- even to members of your own family. After all, it's difficult to explain to your wife that you're in a respectable profession when she comes home telling you that she was almost mugged on the street corner by a chiropractor insisting she come in for a free x-ray. Or explain to your mother that what you do has great merit when she's just read an ad that some chiropractic office will treat you to a free dinner for every new patient you bring in. Or explain to your children how scientific your profession is when they go to a fair and watch all the chiro-pitchmen giving a different free "spinal analysis" in each booth.

One of the latest and more nauseating pieces of chiropractic literature to hit the "mailways" was a piece of junk that extolled the virtues of a system developed by a chiro-entrepreneur who claimed to use "guerrilla tactics" to get 1,300 to 1,400 patient visits every week. It matters not what this character resorted to to develop this kind of disgusting parody on health care -- the fact that he would be forced to take so little time with the patients, if he saw that many, is what makes such claims demeaning to every member of the profession. Unfortunately, chiropractic breeds thick-skinned, "used spine specialists" and they couldn't care less how they gouge money from their patients, the insurance companies, and their colleagues. All that matters is that their lust for money is satisfied -- but it never is.

So it's with a deep breath that I approach any material that has anything to do with practice management and building.

Then I saw the name associated with this most recent entry -- Dr. Louis Sportelli. From that point on I knew that I had a quality product in my hands. Bob Levoy, the renowned management consultant was also on the tapes, adding additional prestige and legitimacy to this enterprise.

This is definitely not a set of audiotapes for some in the profession. Those seduced by greed have long since abrogated any allegiance to probity. They are the lost souls who try to justify inadequate and shabby practice habits by saying that they're just helping more people. Sure -- "helping" by spending little, if any, time with their patient/victims while draining whatever money they can get from them or their insurance company, and pronouncing everybody "cured" when the money runs out.

We all know the scenario, and I feel that the majority reject such practices in our profession. But how can you survive when the scam artists surround your practice? Everyone is promising this or that and offering all kinds of gimmicks through garish ads in the yellow pages, newspapers, and through the mail that make you want to gag.

What's an honest and dedicated chiropractic physician to do? As far as I'm concerned, the first step in the right direction is to purchase "Marketing Your Practice in the 90s." By the very title you know that this is up to date practice management material. It's made quite clear that today's health practice is light years away from anything that's preceded the 90s and the lectures reflect this fact with common sense and ethical concepts.

Bob Levoy, who acts as a valued consultant to all the healing disciplines, approaches his part of the program with refreshing candor. He's an iconoclast of the first order, knocking down such professional sacred cows as patient news letters and those patient "thank you" notes for referring others. Oh, and those bulletin boards with referring patients on them have to go because it makes the majority, who never refer, feel undue pressure.

After these and many more "don'ts" the listener is treated to the positive side of ethical practice building which includes such things as office location and networking.

As Dr. Sportelli stresses, a legitimate practice takes a little more time to build, but it's there to stay as long as the doctors are sincere and willing to give each patient the best service they can. To this end, he spends hours detailing interesting and useful forms of patient education to increase public awareness of you and your profession.

With such concepts you won't be seeing thousands of patients every week, but you also won't be wasting your money on expensive non-productive and ill-conceived advertising that's been motivated by the fear of competition. You might not be driving the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud within the first month of practice, but you will build a practice that will last and that you and your family and your profession can be proud of.

Not everything on the tapes were ideas I would use, but the majority were and the rest were interesting. Along with the tapes are visual complements to the lectures which makes the whole thing quite a bargain.

So often I become disillusioned and disgusted with all the banging of the gimmick pots and pans from our resident charlatans and have to spew my frustration on the pages of "DC." Then, when my frustration seems to be at a peak, along comes Dr. Louis Sportelli on his white horse firing his silver bullets. My thanks to this rider and his faithful companion "Integrity" for always being there when we need them.