Academy of Chiropractic
MD Referral Program
Administrative Pillar – MD Meetings – Apprentice
William J Owens Jr DC DAAMLP CPC
“If you do NOT have a plan, you are part of someone else’s” – Terrance McKenna
Evidenced Based Research and Your Practice
Sometimes breaking things down into smaller pieces can help you get a handle on the task. This is especially true when working with staff. I have discussed introducing chiropractic care to the MD and recently had a discussion with a doctor who had an interesting experience with MD referrals. The short version of the story is that the patient was an adolescent male who had significant scoliosis. Ultimately his condition was corrected with chiropractic care after progression of his curve occurred due to non-response to traditional medical care. When I say “traditional” medical care, I mean that literally.
Scoliosis care in the medical world has not changed for decades and continues to consist of a nasty brace and possible surgery. The patient’s primary care physician was overseeing this patient’s care and witnessed these dramatic results and was impressed. When the chiropractic directly asked if he (the MD) would refer, he said NO. The MD stated (and I can’t really disagree with him on this one) that although this case had a positive outcome, where was the research that showed that chiropractic would help others? The MD said that he was afraid that there would be repercussions to his license for referring for non-proven or experimental procedures, especially if things went wrong. Whether that is the truth or not is not the point; the point is that there is a “perception” of potential issues and a “fear” that what we do has no research. Join me in saying, “THAT IS COMPLETELY UBSURD!” However, in his world, he is right to an extent and wrong in others. As a result, instead of shaking our fists and calling him names, for chiropractic’s sake and the rights of all people to receive care, let’s get him the research and PROVE to him that what we do works. Now, in 2020 there is more than enough evidence to go around to support chiropractic care. Are you familiar with it, are you keeping up to date? Well, whatever answer you provide, it is my job.
Using research and the clinical findings of your patients as a platform to build MD relationships is the key to helping chiropractic realize more access to patients. Once the MD has research and understands the clinical examples you provide, he will know what we do is neither experimental nor dangerous. It has to be done consistently and in a simple way leading with evidence.
There are two main things that this will accomplish. First, it will start to position you as someone who knows what he/she is talking about. Secondly, it will begin to remove the fear in referring to chiropractic from the MD. Once the research is in the MD’s hands, all you will need to do is show him/her how it works using the patients that you already have. That is done through proper reporting, clinical correlation and outreach to their offices. That is it and it is my job to train you to do that. Work hard, be consistent with the research and report your care to the MD properly. That is how you build a huge practice that has a steady source of new patients.