Our calling as Chiropractors to alleviate human suffering and restore the body’s function and form through holistic-based health care demands a higher and more noble perspective on life.
But today’s sometimes onerous marketplace and the challenges modern chiropractors face elevate that pursuit even further, especially as the window to chiropractic success seems to be narrowing.
What does the future hold for chiropractors? Will chiropractic still exist in the next 20 years? Will future generations have access to chiropractic care?
While those questions are subject to debate, today’s chiropractors have two basic options. One is to continue with the current chiropractic model; the other is medical integration.
Going Back in Time
Daniel David Palmer founded chiropractic in 1895, believing the practice of bone alignment and manipulation would alleviate suffering and cure most of the human body’s diseases. However, since that time, only about one in 10 people have ever tapped into this form of health care.
Fast forward some eighty years; chiropract tors in the 1980s enjoyed the benefits and opportunities the practice provided through very favorable health insurance reimbursements. But over the succeeded decades insurers tightened restrictions and limited treatment options.
The number of people who seek chiropractic care has remained constant: 7 to 14 percent. But with a trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry at odds with more holistic-based approaches to health care and insurers constantly considering their bottom lines in cutting treatment corners, the future of chiropractic may be at stake.
How can the chiropractic survive or even thrive in this environment?
Going Hands Solo
Many successful chiropractors have gone completely cash only. While this approach has produced some healthy financial yields, cash-only practices are at the mercy of sometimes fragile local economies, changing demographics and other marketplace forces such as increased competition.
While chiropractic-patient loyalists are the lifeblood of cash practices, the tenets of chiropractic – to provide restorative and cure-based treatments as opposed to symptom relief – compel chiropractors to generate through marketing outreaches a steady flow of new patients. After all, inflow must exceed outflow.
Many chiropractors run booming cash practices; however, long-range trends based on the profession’s history do not paint a rosy future.
How do chiropractors and industry leaders spread the word that chiropractic is far less expensive, produces far better health outcomes and provides superior function-based treatments?
Come Together, Right Now
With a more informed and focused patient base seeking broader and more comprehensive alternatives to conventional medicine, medically integrated practices are the wave and the promise of the future.
American health care, by most metrics, is seriously ailing and, ironically, remains one of the world’s most costly systems. Whether it continues to nosedive or whether politicians and health-care leaders are able to resuscitate it in time is a matter of debate. But the prognosis doesn’t look good.
The medically integrated model provides a profound fix to a variety of problems facing American health care and to individual practices.
Medically integrated practices enable chiropractors (and medical doctors) to deliver insurance-covered and hyper-focused care to an expanding base of patients who wouldn’t otherwise seek chiropractic treatment.
Under an integrated model, physicians examine patients and determine during consultation with chiropractors and any other health-care practitioners at practices the best treatment plans, which may include alignment, manipulation, physical therapy, massage or any other alternative treatments.
This more well-rounded and targeted approach also affords medical doctors the opportunity to abandon symptom-based treatments that foist drugs on patients as the panacea for everything that ails them.
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