Although there is debate on whether the two characters of the Chinese word for crisis mean “danger” and “opportunity,” the concept is certainly applicable in respect to how chiropractic stands within the Coronavirus situation.
Obviously, the threat of Coronavirus in chiropractic brings both danger and challenges to our patients, our business and our community. But with it, we chiropractors have a great opportunity to overcome this obstacle as well.
In this article, I’m not here to discuss the accuracy of the reported numbers or the statistical odds of how badly the Coronavirus will impact your city. Instead, I’d like to offer some simple suggestions of how you can positively impact your practice, your patients and the people in your community as a chiropractor.
- Faith Not Fear
While the Coronavirus is real and the problems it can cause are tangible, the magnitude of the fears surrounding it has the potential to amplify the actual damage caused by the virus itself. There are already criticisms that have emerged on the accuracy of the data being reported by government entities. Unfortunately, it’s also obvious that media outlets have a significant financial conflict of interest in keeping you glued to their news updates.
I am not saying “don’t worry” or “turn a blind eye to everything” but I am saying that this is a time for FAITH, not Fear, in respect to Coronavirus and chiropractic.
Regardless of what your religious views are, the Biblical definition of faith is a great one and applicable: Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). And here I am speaking of Faith in several aspects – in yourself and your abilities, in your business, in the efficacy of chiropractic and, ultimately, in the most powerful person of God.
Your patients, your staff, your families and your business need that hope that your Faith brings.
You need to rise to be the Leader in your practice and your community to provide that hope, despite the evidence of fear around you.
- Boost Faith With Facts
To be clear, I’m not promoting “blind faith” or even reckless behavior like jaywalking across a busy freeway and thinking you’ll be ok. Rather, take a look at the facts.
Chiropractic practices and patients have survived and thrived during other epidemics and pandemics. Just to name a few, we’ve made it past Bird Flu, Swine Flue, Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu and more.
Our businesses and our patients have made it through the Great Recession, the Dot Com bubble, various periods of massive inflation, oil crises, World Wars, the Stock Market crash and many economic challenges over the last 100+ years.
In fact, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed over 100 Million people (which was approximately 1/3 of the world’s population at the time) in approximately 6 months time. This was more deaths than in all of the wars in recorded history combined.
What we fail to remember is that, back in 1918, the chiropractic profession was treating a much broader scope of patients that simple neck and back pain cases – and the results had a significantly positive impact on the immune systems and the survival rates of those patients.
Despite the many changes in chiropractic that we see today, the spinal adjustment is still at its core, one of our primary and most powerful tools we can use to help patients.
- Adjust, Not Assume; Educate, Not Escalate
Elementary Latin tells us that the origin of the word “doctor” (docco) means teacher. Here is your opportunity to educate your patients on the nature of viral illnesses from a simple, objective perspective. They don’t need a semester-long course on Public Health, but a quick explanation of how viral-born illnesses can spread or about prevention can be helpful. What’s not so helpful is escalating panic by feeding their fears without giving them any action steps to take.
There’s good news: one of the simplest action steps that you can help them take is to get adjusted. (Don’t forget to adjust your staff who are serving you and your patients – and your family too!)
Don’t assume your patients will ask to be adjusted. Don’t expect that MDs or anyone else is going to speak about positive benefits on the immune system that can come from chiropractic, natural lifestyle changes, exercises, or anything else that doesn’t shout medicine or vaccine.
People will not make these connections to how you can help them nor will others promote your practice at the expense of their approach. So it’s up to you to be the doctor, take charge of your own business and the well-being of your patients (and yourself) at this time.
More importantly, use this as an opportunity to build relationships and bridges that meet your patients’ other needs as well. Some will need to just hear a doctor assure them that they are taking the right steps. Others will need to know what those steps are. Still, others may benefit from seeing the source of your strength and why you are calmly moving forward in the midst of the storms around them. Use these opportunities to educate too.
- Promote Your Practice & Position the Positive
Another harmful assumption that too many DC’s will make is to assume that their practice is going to decline. I guess if your plan is to take your hands off the wheel during this challenging period, then you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy on your hands and your practice will begin to sink. But you’d likely get the same results with or without Coronavirus as the excuse.
On the other hand, if you plan to survive during this time or better yet, take concrete steps to thrive – now you can realize what many “quietly” successful chiropractors already know. Those inside chiropractic who have the worst practices often make the most noise.
Everyone in chiropractic is not struggling. Nor will everyone see a dip in business during this season. Bigger businesses than ours have been built during past recessions, pandemics, and times of great turmoil. And they will continue to do so during this era as well. Make yours one of them.
Instead of moaning in anticipation of the gloom coming your way, dig in and tell your patients to get adjusted (and the reasons for doing so). If you have extra time on your hands, reactivate patients you’ve let slip through the cracks or collect on aging balances that are due for work you’ve already done.
Use the tools that you have today (that were not available during other times of crisis) to promote your practice via social media and online. Give webinars to educate your community and create a more vibrant 21st-century practice in the process that lives beyond the four walls of your office. And, all the while, position your practice as a leader in the community, a safe place that takes proper precautions for your patients.
- Great Businesses & Great Faith Are Both Built in the Valley
Great faith is not built on the mountaintop when everything is easy and going well around you. It is strengthened and solidified when you are in the valley, going through challenging times.
Your business is no different. It’s easy to succeed in chiropractic when times are good. Great practices are built when times are challenging because this is the time that great chiropractors choose to dig in, serve more people, and see themselves get in front of the fearful masses.
If you knew that you could take a few concrete steps to help your chiropractic practice survive coronavirus, you would not regret doing so when this issue subsides and you are still thriving.
But if you sit in panic, fear or faithlessness fo the impact of coronavirus on your chiropractic practice, you will suffer twice:
The first suffering that will occur is the natural decline of your business due to the fact that you are doing nothing to make sure that it thrives. The second regret will be afterward – when you will conclude that you should have done more to make sure your patients and your practice were taken care of well.
Doctor, you have the tools to succeed in this time — with coronavirus and chiropractic – now go and use them!