Q&A with NCLC 2018 Presenters: Jeff Miller

Entrespace technology and development fellow discusses tailoring your practice to millennial preferences

ACA’s annual meeting, the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC), is packed with great educational content and world-class presenters. Join us Feb. 28-March 3 in Washington, D.C., to hear from some of the profession’s most compelling thought leaders. Here we pose several questions to one of our featured speakers: Jeff Miller, Technology and Development Fellow, Entrespace Group

Mr. Miller’s Presentation: “Designing the Patient Experience to Successfully Attract Millennials” on Friday, March 2. (For complete conference information and schedules, click here.)

How did you become interested in the topic you are presenting?

We are a business design firm. In addition to teaching continuing education courses for chiropractors and other health care professionals, we specialize in designing products and services and developing software based on the results of in-depth analyses into:

  • customer extrinsic and intrinsic values
  • customer direct and indirect values
  • customer underlying motivations and drivers
  • most common reasons why customers could reject a product or service
  • potential issues (concerns, worries, fears, etc.) of the target customer
  • alternatives and criteria (customer value metrics) target customers might use to evaluate and compare different options.

If you’d like to learn more about our InnovationAnalytics™ methodology, feel free to review our free course online.

I also have a degree in psychology and I enjoy analyzing the underlying psychological aspects of customer behavior, preferences and needs.

Millennials represent one type of customer we’ve analyzed. We’ve applied our methodology to analyze values of patients who are millennials, as well as other important stakeholders for a chiropractic practice, such as referring doctors and staff members. The millennials have a unique style, a set of preferences, and their behavior is quite different from other generations. They are different in how they learn and adopt technologies, and how they interact with businesses.

The findings, in some ways, are not very surprising. Patients prefer to have a relationship with their chiropractors (as well as with other health care providers) rather than a sequence of transactional interactions–which unfortunately is more typical and common today in the health care industry. They prefer to feel and be treated as an important stakeholder, as opposed to an “object” in their interactions with chiropractors (or any other health care providers).

Our discovery surfaces some interesting findings about the importance of the ongoing relationship and end-to-end perspective of patient interactions with a doctor’s practice. Millennials are interested not just in the actual care and treatment during the appointment, but they also value their experience before and after the appointment, and more broadly their interactions with the doctor over the course of their relationship with the practice.

Ideally, to achieve the goals of a healthy and effective relationship between any two people or any two entities, the interactions should be two-way/bi-directional, ongoing and with a sincere long-term mutual interest. The interactions should span continuously over the course of the patient’s lifecycle.

After conducting a fair amount of research about patient experience (PX) in general, and focusing on the experience of millennials (i.e., patients, caretakers, referring doctors) in particular, we’ve uncovered a formula that will help better address their values.

Based on the findings, we’ve created a course on how to best attract millennials in the context of a chiropractic practice. The course presents and demonstrates findings from that research, our analyses and the outcome of applying our business design methodology.

Obviously, research is research and studies are studies. Before creating the course, we made sure to validate our findings and our approach in real-world settings. Everything we teach is based on what we’ve implemented for our clients, having firsthand experience with how it works with real doctor practices and patients.

Before attempting to implement the presented findings and approaches for our clients, we implemented each of the referenced technologies, services and products in-house at Entrespace. One of our core principles is that we will only recommend to our clients what we have been able to use on a daily basis successfully for our own needs.

If you’d like to receive our tips, discoveries, findings and suggestions in the future, you can sign up for our free Patient Experience (PX) newsletter.

Who should attend your presentation and why?

Our presentation is intended for owners, leaders of chiropractic practices and new or recent DC graduates: specifically, for those who are interested in growing their patient base by attracting millennials as patients and as caretakers of older relatives, and those who want to start a practice from scratch. In addition, the presentation will be interesting to those who want to grow their circle of referring doctors who may also be millennials or influenced by millennials.

Participants will learn what capabilities they can implement in their practices to better match the values, needs and expectations of millennials, will understand what specific steps and actions to focus on, and will learn how to execute each of them leveraging the step-by-step guidance provided in our course.

What about your presentation topic (or you) may surprise people?

The participants will be surprised to discover that the capabilities that help attract Millennials will also help reduce a practice’s expenses and labor costs, while helping to reduce risks due to HIPAA non-compliance. These benefits come as a bonus.

Plus, these capabilities will simplify the day-to-day activities of staff members, especially in respect to manual tasks that are tedious and not particularly fulfilling.

Are there any new developments in your specialty/topic area that make your presentation at NCLC 2018 especially relevant or timely?

Several types of businesses in different industries are recognizing the unique style, values, needs and preferences of millennials, the overall size of the millennial population and their impact on the industry. These businesses are starting to introduce new products, services, business models and marketing approaches specifically targeting millennials.

For example, Air France launched a new Airline named “Joon” that is designed explicitly for millennials and Wells Fargo unveiled apps aimed at Millennials. This trend will no doubt continue to impact the health care industry as well (e.g., “Millennials are Changing the Face of Dentistry: The Generational Trifecta of Tech, Priorities and Finance”).

Those in the business of providing chiropractic care will also want to learn how to better attract millennials to be more successful and stand out among their peers. And the sooner the better. Nobody wants to end up as a casualty of the same fate that affected many brick-and-mortar stores that were unable to adapt, or end up like travel agents who did not recognize fast-moving trends and changes in technologies and consumer behaviors in the travel industry.

What’s your best advice to a recent chiropractic college graduate (or, alternatively, what is your best advice to someone who has been in the field for several years and is looking for new challenges or ways to expand their practice)?

This is probably the best time ever to graduate as a doctor of chiropractic and the best time ever to start a new chiropractic practice. The cost of starting a new practice is likely the lowest in decades–probably the lowest in capital expense ever. You don’t need to buy computer servers or software, and you don’t need to pay for expensive advertising in print and broadcast media, or for mailing campaigns. To start a practice new graduates only need to rent an office, rent or rent-to-buy furniture, buy minimal capital expense items such as a desktop for a receptionist and a laptop for themselves, join health insurance plans and networks, join the ACA and sign up for online services to cover end-to-end processes (leveraging discounts on the products and services available exclusively to ACA members).

Social media marketing campaigns are cheap and many online services (e.g., Google My Business) are totally free. In addition, there are companies that offer to fund, help set up and enable a practice using a revenue-sharing model with an option for the doctor to purchase the practice after getting properly established.

Today in the chiropractic industry, there are opportunities to effectively and successfully compete against existing practices, even ones with decades of experience. You might even open a practice next door and still be successful, given that many existing practices operate in the pre-Internet, pre-smartphone era, except for social media services and websites that are actively used by chiropractic practices. While many existing practices use contact forms on their websites, these don’t really help much since they’re not interactive and typically aren’t mobile-friendly (try filling out a website contact form on a smartphone).

Some chiropractors still use paper forms for their patients, requiring people to come in 15 minutes early to fill them out. Their patients and referring doctors are only able to contact their offices by mail, phone or fax. This was the common experience in other industries…before the Internet was invented. Back in the 70s and 80s, and early 90s, using paper forms and communicating by mail, phone or fax were the norm in most industries.

Nowadays, in virtually any other industry outside of health care, we expect to interact with companies mostly online, use online forms (instead of paper), contact offices via email and use live chat or texting. (When was the last time you visited a bank branch, or called a travel agent to buy airline tickets or make hotel reservations?)

New chiropractic graduates can now start a practice and start competing very effectively from day one by leveraging the most popular technologies and social media marketing campaigns to attract new patients and develop strong relationships with referring doctors. They can generate good word-of-mouth referrals — both among patients and referral doctors — leveraging the advantage of a better patient experience, and making it more convenient for referral doctors to engage with the chiropractic practice to share records, as well as send notes and orders. This can in turn generate positive online reviews, resulting in even more traffic. As soon your practice achieves five patient reviews, it will start showing up at the top of searches on Google and Google Maps.

For example, imagine if you could use this story in your Facebook Marketing Campaign:

“Our patients can:

  • Schedule appointments with our office using a secure texting app
  • Use your primary email to ask the doctor follow-up questions — without having to create another user ID and password
  • Receive billing statements, calendar invitations, health records, notifications or any other content for which they opt in
  • Receive secure text messages with last-minute updates (e.g., messages about delays or changes: “doctor is running 10 mins late”)
  • Upload their health care records (i.e., X-rays, medical history) securely through our website

With secure email or texting, our patients don’t have to call, leave a message and wait for a call back, play phone tag with our front desk or our doctor, or use envelopes or faxes.”

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Learn more from Jeff Miller about this topic by joining us Feb. 28-March 3 in Washington, D.C. Register for the annual meeting today by clicking here. Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #NCLC2018.