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November 8, 2017

Pulling Chiropractic Out of the Dark -Improving the Quality and Trustworthiness of the Chiropractic Profession (2 min read)

When I completed my doctorate in chiropractic in 2009, I was sucked into a corrupted-capitalism business model at the first clinic I worked in. It was a terrible experience for me and the patients, and it breeds distrust for this industry in general. Many new graduates seek associate positions at established chiropractic offices. Like most, I wanted to learn from someone who appeared to be successful. After a short time, I learned that a practice with a large staff and a full schedule doesn’t always mean they are doing what is best for the patient.

The practice in question, operated much like a factory. Initially, one would assume this practice was full of patients because of quality care and a high degree of trustworthiness within the community, but unfortunately, they were full because of a system that convinced patients that the care provided was the only solution. Staff was taught pre-crafted scripts for most patient interactions, and unique patient conversations were downplayed as taxing the flow of the office.

For each new patient, I carried out a straightforward exam, then recited a script about how I needed time to put together a treatment plan. Upon their return visit, another script covered a report of findings and treatment recommendations. The scripted report of findings was designed to scare the patient to feel a codependent need for the presented solution, which was essentially 36 visits over the next 12 weeks. Most the time these treatment plans were over prescribed. 

I hated doing this for multiple reasons, and I did something about it.

This system made me feel like I was tricking patients into excessive care. When patients started feeling better, a common question asked was, ‘I feel much better, can we space out the visits, or hold off till something flares up?’ We were sadly taught a scripted response, to convince them that we knew best and the patient was not to worry. After 12 weeks, it was common that most patients didn’t return. The scripts couldn’t earn their trust.

After 5 months, I quit and started my own practice. I am forever grateful for a first hand experience with the worst side of this industry, and the catalyst it represents for me into innovating the standards of care that would be worthy of my own family. It’s been seven years since that time, and I still enjoy putting patients before profits, customizing plans, and referring out to other high quality practitioners that test and teach about digestive, allergenic, and energetic needs.

My practice is based on a few key principles in order to give the best possible care; Fully explain each patient’s biological situation, symptoms and problems. Explain the necessary treatment that will get them to stabilization vs. any performance health goals. Educate about acupuncture, or naturopathy if additional testing is needed. In this model, patients are empowered, they get results quicker with less treatment, and they grow to new levels of health norms with greater clarity. Most of my patients report substantial improvements within the first 5 visits. All of this is incredibly validating towards the dream job that I hoped to contribute to my community.

– Nicholas McBride DC

If you live or work on the inner west side of Portland, OR, Pioneer Chiropractic & Wellness offers a complimentary health screening that can be done over the phone or in person. We welcome you to call 503.488.5485, or visit us on 2nd Tuesday mornings 9-11am, or 3rd Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm. It takes 15 min and you get immediate feedback.