How to Network Effectively With MDs, Part 1
By Anthony B. Morovati, DC, DAAPM
Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part series.
The Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, YMCA and other commonly used networking organizations have already been bombarded by your predecessors for business. So where do you turn for networking? I believe that the best networking source comes from the patient and the patient's primary care physician.
Building a New Network
Begin by requiring every new patient (and even your existing patients) to fill out a form informing you of who their primary care physician is. Once you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, send a letter to that doctor in a brief SOAP note format. I must mention at this point that at this point, you need to have a reasonable treatment plan as well as a follow-up plan.
For example, state that you will treat the patient three to four times then reevaluate their condition. If they are responding favorably, then you will continue for three treatment intervals. If they are not improving, then you will order diagnostics. Based on those findings, you will either continue care or refer to a specialist for a consultation. What this means is that you will still orchestrate the patient's care and not give up your involvement.
Your SOAP note findings must be science-based and in common medical language in order to prevent any confusion. When you reach the point where alterations must be made in management of the patient's care, you then call the primary care physician, remind them of who you are and state your concerns. Ask the physician if they have specialists with whom they work, if the situation with the patient requires it. When you refer the patient to the specialist, you then can use the name of the primary care physician to get your foot in the door. After three or four patients, a pattern will emerge that will then place you in the circle of referrals.
Keep in mind that you have one chance only to audition for the role of the referring chiropractor of choice. You must also try to have a one-on-one meeting with the physicians and specialists with whom you are trying to create a referral network.
Speak Their Language
In these meetings, make sure that your conversation focuses on all the common grounds of both professions and avoid negative remarks. However, you must note the differences of what you as a chiropractor can offer in contrast to a medical doctor, physical therapist and acupuncturist.
For example, you can mention that physical therapists do a great job in rehabilitation and core strengthening. Acupuncturists do an excellent job with herbal treatments and pain management. However, you as a chiropractor can not only act as a primary portal of entry by correcting somatic dysfunctions (medical language for subluxation), you can also use nutrition, x-ray, laser and all diagnostic tools available, as well as physiotherapeutic tools. We can also offer acupuncture-type benefits for myofascial conditions by treating trigger points with the acu-scope and myo-pulse.
You must remember that the medical model has a system for which all physicians follow. If you as a DC want to become a part of this system, you must be clear and decisive in where you fit in this picture as a referral source.
At the end of the day, you must remember that the practice of chiropractic is a business. More specifically, it is a business of health care delivery that is different from what the majority of people are used to. As a service-type business we must deliver a better, more reasonable, safer, and sounder product if we want to attract mass populations.
If you feel as though you need to become a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant, then you are not sure of who you are as a DC. You may be better off being an employee rather than a business owner.
I hope I have briefly outlined that what we can do as chiropractors is far greater than we give ourselves credit for. We must not focus on what we can't do, but instead turn our attention to those things we do well..
Next month, I'll share a story about how effective this approach can be.
Dr. A.B. Morovati, DC, DAPPM operates the Morovati Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center in Glendale, Calif. He is a current member of the American Academy of Spine Physicians and is a graduate of Cleveland Chiropractic College and Loma Linda University. To learn more about Dr. Morovati's practice, visit www.morovati.com.