A few months ago, Life Time fitness centers decided to detoxify its gyms. It made the decision to drop "CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC from TVs in front of various workout machines." As reported by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minn., spokeswoman Natalie Bushaw said the decision was based on "many member requests received over time across the country and in keeping with our overall healthy way of life philosophy and commitment to provide family-oriented environments free of consistently negative or politically charged content."1
A Toxic Environment for Patients
About a year ago, CBS News reported that the pharmaceutical industry spends $5.2 billion annually on direct-to-consumer advertising alone. If you're doing the math, that works out to almost $600,000 in advertising per hour or about $10,000 per minute every day of the year.2
By media type, this breaks down to about $3 billion annually for TV ads and another $1.5 billion in magazine ads; or about $340,000 per hour on television ads and an additional $170,000 per hour on magazine ads – every day of the year.
The bottom line is simple. Consumers are hard pressed to watch 15 minutes of television or flip through a few pages in a magazine without seeing an advertisement touting the wonders of drug therapy, many of which are designed to mask pain rather than address the cause.
So, why are most DCs playing into the hands of the drug companies by placing drug-ad-filled magazines in their reception areas? What do their patients think when they read about how a simple pill will relieve the pain that motivated them to make a chiropractic appointment in the first place? Seems like unnecessary confusion to me.
Taken a step further, why are doctors showing news stations, general-interest programs or (worse yet) soap operas on their reception-area TVs? Again, television is dominated by drug ads; why spend money to bring that propaganda into your office and inflict it on your patients?
Time to Detox Your Office
It's time for doctors of chiropractic to follow the example set by Life Time fitness centers and detoxify their offices. Anything that doesn't fit a chiropractic wellness philosophy has no business in your office or in front of your patients.
Take a few moments after your last patient today to sit in your own reception area. Look around and see what your patients see when they first come into your office.
The time your patients spend in your office are golden minutes away from the usual pressures of life. It's their time to think about their health and consider what they need to do to improve it. How are you educating them about chiropractic and wellness before you see them?
The Ideal Patient Experience
- Ideally, you have interesting information about the value of chiropractic for all types of ailments during all the various stages of life.
- Ideally, this information is causing patients to think about family and friends who will also benefit from chiropractic.
- Ideally, you are also educating patients about the various additional services you offer.
- Ideally, this information is prompting patients to have conversations with you about people they want to refer and additional care they want and need, but didn't know you offer.
As you sit in your reception area, how "ideal" is your patient experience? If it's less than you want, it's time to make some changes. There are many things you can do to communicate the above points to your patients while they wait, and they are a much better investment than a magazine subscription or cable television that repeatedly touts the power of drugs. You can start by putting up chiropractic posters and replacing the magazines with chiropractic (print) patient newsletters, etc.
The Power of Digital Signage
If you're serious about detoxifying your office and educating your patients, you can look at adding (if you don't have one) a television in your reception area. This will facilitate more entertaining ways of educating your patients about the value of chiropractic and equipping them to refer. This is called digital signage. It has been shown in studies to reduce the perceived wait times as it educates.
There are several good programs you can look at in your quest to create a pro-chiropractic, pro-wellness environment in your reception area. One of these is GoChiroTV, which we began offering last year. GoChiroTV utilizes a very small media player to run short HD presentations designed to educate your patients about the importance of chiropractic every time they come to your office. The silent programming is updated every week and tailored to include the various additional services you may offer in your practice (nutrition, orthotics, laser, etc.).
We've received great reports that the GoChiroTV content is driving more patients to request additional services from their doctors. For DCs who've chosen to try GoChiroTV, the programming is already paying for itself.
Please take a look at some samples of the GoChiroTV content. We have two formats: Chiropractic & Patient Health or Chiropractic Intense: www.GoChiroTV.com/sample. If you like what you see, give us a call (888-748-3462) and we will set you up with a free 45-day trial without any cost or obligation.
If the program works for you, we'll give you a special rate just for trying it out. If it doesn't work for you, simply return the media player and cords.
Imagine the paradigm shift that can take place in your community if each of your patients received just five minutes of high-quality chiropractic information every time they came into your office. They would be much better equipped to communicate with you about health and wellness, not to mention better equipped to share chiropractic with their friends and family. Now that's a win-win for your patients and your practice.
- Walsh P. "Life Time Fitness Tunes Out All-News TV Outlets From Its Big Screens." Star Tribune, Jan. 4, 2018.
- Picchi A. "Drug Ads: $5.2 Billion Annually - and Rising." MoneyWatch, March 11, 2016.
Read more findings on my blog: http://blog.toyourhealth.com/wrblog/. You can also visit me on Facebook.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.