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February, 2013

The Modern Office: What's Ahead for 2013

By Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

Whether you are just beginning to practice or have years of experience, today's chiropractor faces challenges and has exciting new opportunities to thrive in today's demanding health care field. We will need full access to our inner and outer resources to help create a healthier world.

Teaching post graduate seminars for the ACA Rehab Council has given me the opportunity to travel around the country and see what is happening on our college campuses and enjoy first-hand discussions of what is happening in the field with practitioners. I have been able to walk the isles of many trade shows and see who is developing the new tools and practices that will equip us to address these challenges in ever new ways and evolve, adapt and lead in an ever shifting, always changing health care field. These are my observations on how to structure, create, balance and access the "modern chiropractic office."

Evolving Trends

The obvious thing I see with chiropractors is a group of healers looking to find ways to heal the physical, psychological and spiritual wounds of their clients.

As such, I see a trend away from those who only use adjustments and manipulation, toward the recognition of the importance of using many of our available resources to meet complex challenges. This is the integrative approach, combining solid craft of your skilled hands with modern technology and experiential discovery, because craft alone is not enough.

I am seeing students and doctors shift away from making x-ray markings and "manipulation only" practices to learning cutting edge nutritional information and functional movement assessments, using remedial exercises to bring breathing awareness to stuck areas, and advanced exercises that improve whole body movement, all the while shifting to the patient's personal responsibility for improvement of their health. I see in young and experienced doctors today with expanding practices that are different from even a few years ago are because they use modern technology and keep evolving with it.

Innovation has 24/7 Impact

Chiropractors need to keep up with the increased pace of innovation. Technology has changed the way everyone communicates. When I look around today, everybody's on some sort of communication tool -- a Smartphone, iPad or laptop. Opening the computer is often the first thing people do every morning. Anyone anytime can contact me and, in general, I do respond: the job is 24/7, 365 days-a-year. Patients have a legitimate demand for access to there doctor.

As such, the modern office will use systems that integrate exams, treatment notes, nutrition diaries, exercise logs and more that allow us to directly interact with clients online.

I personally have software that tracks patient's daily diet and exercise programs online and I can interact with my clients online. When clients know they are being monitored compliance goes up!

We can do much more today than we could ever do before to help influence our clients. The applications of computers, lasers, devices like the OptoJump system for gait and balance, fascial therapy tools, SCENAR devices for pain control, nutrition protocols, corrective exercise, genetics, etc. to the biomedical/chiropractic field are exploding. We are on the verge of being able to decipher your genome for less than $1,000. Although it feels like traditional medicine is moving away from the personal touch of medicine, the people, our chiropractic clients, really are moving to an era of personalized and customized medicine where we will be able to choose the treatment knowing the specific nature of the disease in an individual. In chiropractic, have you stayed advanced in your training? Or is palpation "it" for you?

The Modern Office, 2013 Style

What could a modern chiropractic office look like?

A new or existing client can schedule an appointment online and even make co-pays with a credit card online. The patient can enter the office and fill out signs and symptoms on an iPad. Instead of sitting in a waiting room, the client can walk into an "active care" room where they begin to use the Core Laser Gym (a light laser with a target) to improve lumbo-pelvic-hip motion.

Afterward, they stand on the Thera-band stability pads for balance and sensory-motor training. The practitioner will engage the patient to decide the best treatment for each individual using assessment's like the SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment), the OptoJump gait assessment, and of course, skilled hands that provide further information.

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