When you’re back or neck isn’t feeling so great, a trip to the local Chiropractor might be in order. What makes this sector of the medical care intriguing to consumers is that it is seen as being a modern treatment option, yet also part of a natural, more holistic approach to health care as well.
The Chiropractic industry represents a market in the health care industry which represents revenues in excess of $30 billion annually in the United States. The industry has experienced 1% annualized growth over the past 5 years and is forecast to grow at 2.2 percent over the next five years.
There are a number of opportunities for growth within the Chiropractic industry thanks to a shift toward a more holistic approach. Revenues will still be there from patients who prefer the modern health approach from a doctor as well. As long as there are clear definitions in place for what services can be provided, the future looks quite bright for this particular industry.
How the Chiropractic Industry Has Established Stability
- Patient satisfaction is typically very high within this industry and and according to Global Healing Center, studies have shown that, compared to conventional medical care, chiropractic is more safe and financially feasible.
- The Boston University School of Public Health reports that some forms of complementary and alternative medicine such as meditation, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic may be effective as part of a comprehensive approach for treating survivors of torture and trauma.
- In Australia, 1 in 4 adults have consulted with a chiropractor and nearly 40% of the elderly population rely on complementary and alternative medicine like chiropractic care.
- In 2011, the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College evaluated the cleanliness of area chiropractic clinics and found that, while bacteria was a valid concern, most chiropractors were proactive with disinfection and the paper sheet used to cover the table headpieces was an effective barrier.
- Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine conducted a survey of Amish women concerning their use of alternative medicine and reported that 1 in 3 used nutritional supplements, herbal therapies, and chiropractic care.
- There are approximately 95,000 doctors of chiropractic (DCs) in active practice in the world. More than 10,000 students are currently enrolled in chiropractic education just in the United States.
- The practice of chiropractic care is recognized and regulated by laws in 40+ countries right now. In the United States, DCs are licensed in all 50 states.
The bottom line for the chiropractic industry is this: people from all walks of life have embraced it. This gives the industry surviving power, even when economic times may be tough for a certain group. When even the Amish are willing to seek out chiropractic care, this form of treatment deserves to be looked at and many are doing just that. Yet from a global perspective, the chiropractic industry has barely made a dent in the amount of care it can actually provide. 1 in 4 countries right now doesn’t recognize this form of care. That’s why the stability of this industry is so exciting. It is on the brink of being able to grow like few other industries, yet is still able to maintain its current revenues.
Where Are There Opportunities for Growth?
- The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice found that from 2002-2008, 97% of Medicare-covered recipients of chiropractic care were white. Just 8% of Chiropractic services that are rendered on an annual basis come from Medicare-covered recipients.
- According to Thrive Hive, more than half of the chiropractors that do not use social media, which is free, have a tight marketing budget ($0 – $250).
- 42% of patients who receive chiropractic care are covered by private health insurance. 28% of patients are paying out of pocket for their care. Both groups may not visit as often as they wish they could because of financial limitations.
- 96% of chiropractors say that they are currently looking for new patients. Only 1 in 5 chiropractors say that a majority of their patients visit them on a regular basis.
- 84% of chiropractors say that they do their own marketing. Another 9% say that they use the skills of their administrative assistant. Only 7% will use a third party or a marketing service to locate new customers.
- 56% of chiropractors say that they spend fewer than 5 hours per month with their marketing initiatives. 1 in 10 chiropractors still rely on the Yellow Pages as a specific marketing activity.
- 35% of chiropractors do not keep track of how new patients find them. 39% are using fewer than 5 marketing activities to bring in new patients and half of all chiropractors cannot reach new patients with 2 or fewer marketing activities.
- What is the consensus best way that chiropractors are gaining new business? Through word-of-mouth marketing or their website.
When chiropractors are able to actually market what they do to their community, the results can be outstanding. Using social media and other forms of online marketing not only improves their digital voice, but it also increases their local reputation. The only problem is that most chiropractors only employ 1-5 people, so there isn’t much time for marketing. There isn’t much money for marketing either, which is why fewer than 1 in 10 chiropractic specialists actually hire a marketing firm. For this industry to achieve its maximum potential for growth in the next 5-10 years, a push in awareness must take place. This means, like it or not, chiropractors are going to need to find time to market themselves.
The Chiropractic Industry Continues to Move Forward
- According to the American Chiropractic Association, there are more than 31 million US adults that experience lower back pain at any given time. Low back pain is, in fact, the single leading cause of disability in the world today.
- Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives. 1 in 2 working adults in the US admit to having back pain symptoms on a regular basis.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
- Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs. That figure could easily reach $150 billion when all treatment choices are considered.
- The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality recommends that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first.
- According to an FECR annual survey, 73% of it’s members who engage with the Chiropractic industry are receptive at some level to dietary and nutritional counseling. 9 in 10 members say that they would be receptive to exercise prescriptions and lifestyle change counseling if it was offered by their chiropractor.
- Gerald Celente, President of Tends Research Institute, believes that the window of opportunity is open for chiropractic to become more aggressive in helping people seeking professional guidance in how to lose or gain weight, what to eat, and which supplements to take.
Did you know that the average primary care MD only receives 2.5 hours of formal training on nutritional health? Many lifestyle changes can produce better results than prescribed weight loss drugs. Up to 95% of people who lose weight through these prescribed methods will gain their weight back at some point. Under the guidance and supervision of a chiropractor, the industry could see considerable growth if spinal adjustments were combined with lifestyle counseling and prescribed exercises to manage low-back pain. More than 20 million people see a chiropractor at least once per year in the US – that’s a large market which would be receptive to this added growth.
What Can Be Done Right Now?
- 71% of data breaches studied in 2012 showed they occurred in businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Although the movement to go online is strong in the chiropractic industry, care must be taken to secure collected data for it to be effective.
- Electronic medical records are becoming a necessity in today’s world, but many chiropractors only update files when they have spare time and many have no time to spare.
- Placing a focus on the online review sites can help to enhance a chiropractor’s reputation immediately. 62% of people who are searching for a new DC will look at online reviews according to Review Trackers.
- Expenses are something that will deserve another look in the coming years. This is especially true with utility costs, rent, and other commodities. Many chiropractors bring in less than their expenses each month, which will eventually cause the industry to contract if this issue is not corrected.
The chiropractic industry is poised to do something amazing. Now is the time that expenses, marketing, and other factors must be considered so that each chiropractor can take advantage of this potential growth. Preferences are changing and patients are looking for safe health care options. In today’s world, there isn’t a medical practice that is 100% safe, but chiropractic care comes close. By recognizing these trends, there is a good chance that many will find success is right around the corner.
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