Dr. Kelley Pendleton saw the benefits of chiropractic care when she needed it most. Inspired by its efficacy, she enrolled at Logan College of Chiropractic and graduated in 2005. She has also earned master’s degrees in public health and alternative dispute resolution. Over ten years, she has worked many roles in health care — as an employee, business owner, mentor, healthcare marketing consultant, professional healthcare marketing speaker and educator. Unable to find a book with marketing ideas appropriate for an independent healthcare business, Dr. Pendleton decided to write her own. This led to the Community Connections! series, which she hopes will serve as a road map for healthcare practitioners.
Why did you pursue a career in chiropractic?
Simply put, chiropractic care changed my life. I went from being a person who was sick several times a year to someone with a strong immune system. My chronic migraine headaches disappeared with my first adjustment. I slept better, had more focus and reduced stress. When I had a full-time job in human resources, a part-time position as a victim advocate and an adjunct teaching position, I asked myself what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The answer was I wanted to help people the way my chiropractor helped me. (Thank you, Dr. Michelle Amaral of Tamarac, Fla.!)
What motivated you to write CommunityConnections! [a guide for independent health care providers to market themselves effectively and easily]?
I saw the need for business skills in chiropractic school. When I began outpatient clinic, I saw many of my peers struggling to get the required “numbers” for graduation. I even talked to my clinic director about the need for a book to help new doctors learn how to effectively, ethically and inexpensively market their practices.
After eight years in private practice, my fiancé finally convinced me to sit down and write the book that had been filling my brain for almost a decade. Community Connections! was created. Given my background in chiropractic, higher education and human resources, and the fact that I’ve practiced in three different business models (independent contractor, associate and owner) in three regions of the country, I have a wealth of experience to draw from.
What are some tips you have for chiropractic physicians in effectively marketing themselves/their practices?
First, in order for chiropractic physicians to effectively market themselves or their practices, they have to understand and own their identities. Second, to effectively market themselves and their practices, chiropractic physicians must clearly establish their goals. Included in these personal and professional goals should be a comprehensive written marketing plan – what I call a Connections CalendarTM – to map out their path to practice success.
Finally, and perhaps most important, a chiropractic physician must take action. We can’t sit in our offices just waiting for patients. Get involved in your local community: Join the PTA, sponsor a 5K run, give a free health talk, host a movie screening, harness social media to work for you, volunteer, add a unique service or product line to your practice, etc.
Health care has driven some medical professionals away from private practices into more integrated practices. Can this guide be helpful for doctors marketing themselves as part of a team?
Community Connections! can absolutely help integrated practices market their team successfully. Educational curricula for healthcare providers have traditionally been lacking in business and marketing skills. Given the multiple personalities involved, providers in an integrated practice could actually spend more time and money trying to figure out the best marketing strategy than a sole practitioner. In an office with multiple providers (and possibly multiple specialties), a clear marketing strategy is critical so efforts aren’t duplicated or wasted. Whether your practice is large or small, it requires a steady stream of new patients to flourish. An integrated practice often has more opportunity to get involved with the local community and reach these potential patients.
What is the topic of your next book, Practice Excellence!, and when is it available for purchase?
Practice Excellence! An Integrated Approach to Creating a World-Class Healthcare Practice is expected to be available by fall 2015.
While Community Connections! focuses on external marketing events and activities, Practice Excellence! discusses the integration of community connections with internal marketing, as well as practice management concepts. It begins with general ideas, such as business structures, strategic planning, hiring and retaining quality staff, proper procedures and documentation and practice statistics. Then it delves into the physical layout of the office, the office culture, the wow factor, taking care of yourself, making changes and avoiding self-sabotage. The last section contains how-to information for more than two dozen internal marketing activities and events that can be used to build a successful practice.
What are your hobbies?
I’m a voracious reader of almost all genres, and I’m addicted to continual learning. In my downtime, I love to play with my two rescue dogs, spend time with my fiancé, Michael, cook and explore my world from behind the lens of a camera.
Kelley Pendleton, ACA member and author of Community Connections!. Send suggestions for future member profiles to ACAnews@acatoday.org.