Have you ever wanted to see more people in less time but you were afraid your patients would leave?
Perhaps you’ve thought, “If I did spend less time per patient, they will think all I care about is the money!”
Or maybe you’ve asked yourself how it is that other doctors are able to see more people per hour and not only get great results but also have patients who happily stay, pay, and refer?
Seeing more patients in less time can be such a conundrum! We want to serve more people but we also want to make sure that were getting the best results we can.
How many patients should you see in an hour?
I personally spent 45 minutes per adjustment when I got out of school and thought anyone spending less than that was ripping people off. I then got to two per hour and eventually settled at about 23 per hour (doing NSA when the average NSA doc was seeing 20 per day) and of course by then I recognized that it was not the amount of time I was spending but it was the results I was getting.
Now this might sound strange but my worst day in practice was actually my busiest: the day I saw 179 people in one day!
You see, I believed that if you were not seeing 200 patients per day you were not a real chiropractor (crazy hey!) At the end of the day I literally thought I was going to die! I ran an hour over and I was completely wiped out.
I cried that night knowing that I would never be a “real” chiropractor.
So when doctors tell me that they want to see more people, I like to rephrase that for them and say in reality: we want to serve more people in less time getting as good or better results.
Finding a Balance Between Time and Experience
This can be such a challenging problem for so many reasons. First we have to figure out how much time we actually need to spend with each patient to get the desired results and second we need to figure a way to help our patients be happy with that much time and that experience.
I ask doctors: if I were to duct tape your mouth AND duct tape your patients mouth, and all you did was give them a great adjustment, how much time would it take? (Duct taping your patient’s mouths is not a recommended strategy for practice growth!) I also ask them how much time they spend adjusting their family members.
I then ask them: how much time do you actually spend with your patients? The answer is usually 2 to 3 times more time spent then what the doctor really feels they need.
In other words, the doctor may say I truly need two minutes to give a great adjustment but I’m spending 5 to 6 minutes per person right now.
When I ask them why they are spending so much time the two most common answers are first that they need to talk with the patient in the extra time to “educate” them and second that they don’t feel the patient will be happy unless they spend that much time with them or they will think it is all about the money.
Does any of this ring a bell for you?
So what is the answer?
Establishing Goals for Your Adjustments
First I recommend getting extremely clear about what you want to accomplish with your adjustment.
Now I realize what I’m about to say is highly controversial and will offend many but from my experience we can either go deep or we can go wide. We hear the super high-volume doctors make fun of doctors spending more time and they say something like, “You only saw 50 people per today? I saw 50 people in the first half hour, what are you doing with the rest of your time?”
Don’t kid yourself – there are all kinds of tremendous styles of chiropractic out there that get different types of results. Some doctors need to spend more time doing specific things with their patients and they will get deeper and better results. I personally saw Scott Walker (NET Fame) eight hours a day, for four days in a row and I was his only patient for the week. He literally saved my life.
So first: get clear about the type of results you want to get AND the technique that will get you there. Do NOT hope to see 30 people per hour using a technique that takes 10 minutes per person. It will not work.
But the truth is most doctors do not spend more time because their technique requires it; they spend more time because they are insecure and they feel if they spent less time their patients would not be happy.
Three Important Steps
- Clarify exactly what you want to accomplish each and every visit.
- Figure out how much time that truly takes assuming you are not talking.
- Make sure that you are only talking when your hands are on your patients. So if you need five minutes to give an adjustment you want to be able to talk while you are giving your adjustment and literally spend five minutes with your patient.
You must cultivate patients so that they understand how you do things in your office. You are not here to talk about all of their symptoms every time, you are not here to talk about the weather or sports, you are here to make sure that their nervous system is getting the best adjustment it possibly can and along with a great spine adjustment you are giving them a great mind adjustment.
Record an hour of your adjusting time and listen to it. You will find you are repeating certain concepts over and over again. I.e. I found I talked about retracing, subluxation vs. compensation etc. with a lot of patients throughout the day. So as soon as I recognized this I made up a handout for my patients.
Remember the only way to get amazing results in the shortest amount of time is to be able to stay in the zone or in present time consciousness! This is where magic happens. THIS IS A HUGE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE! And we spend quite a bit of time helping our docs find the zone and then stay in the zone! Automate your process as much as possible. Do killer health care talks, have handouts do whatever you need to do so you can be 100% present with the person in front of you, give them the best spine and mind adjustment possible and move on! I promise you it is NOT about the amount of time you spend. Instead it is about their perception and their experience of what just happened and it is about their results! People are happy to pay for a great experience and great results. The odds are you CAN spend less time and get way better results!
Hope this helps, I’d love to know your thoughts.
Much love and aloha