I tried to show my father how Google works at dinner last night. I was trying to explain to him how patients use the internet to find pizza, current news and healthcare providers. My father practiced back when people went to phone books to find businesses and everyone read the advertisements in one or two newspapers. He has a hard time understanding how the internet works and how people use it for almost everything. I typed in "chiropractor 19014" and showed him how my office is listed on Google maps along with several other chiropractors in the area. As I was explaining to him how there are paid ads, reviews, websites, blogs, Facebook pages and so many other areas of the internet that contain information for people inquiring about a chiropractor, he just shook his head and said " seems like a lot of work".
Yes, sometimes it is " a lot of work".
When a new patient comes to the office I ask them how they found us. I always hope to hear that they were referred by another patient or that they read one of my posts and quite often those reasons are given but I also hear, too much, that they searched " chiropractor near me" and I was the closest, and this saddens me because there are a number of things people should be thinking about when they look for a chiropractor and by expanding their search, they may find themselves unhappy with their choice. Below are some common mistakes people make:
Bypassing reviews: I enjoy hearing from my patients regarding what they like about my practice. I don't "like" hearing about the things they don't like but I need to hear these things because I want to make it the best experience that I can. Reading reviews can help you to learn what patients think and not just what the doctor feels is important. Perhaps you left a doctor in the past because you didn't find that he listens to you or that you spent more time in the waiting room than the treatment room. If a practice has enough reviews that you can see a common theme, most likely you are going to have a similar experience.
Not searching for "chiropractor + (your problem): If you Google " auto repair" you would get general results such as collision centers, auto parts stores and service stations which wouldn't all help if you were needing your transmission fixed. Similarly, goggling " transmission" would yield transmission repair centers but also numerous other definitions and uses of transmissions. "chiropractor + sciatica" or " chiropractor + headaches" may help narrow down your results to someone who has experience with your particular complaint.
Leaving out your financial concerns: Does the chiropractor accept your health insurance and are they in network or out? Do they offer wellness packages, payment plans or accept credit cards? While finances should not be the sole reason you use to decide on a service or provider, the cost and ability to pay for care has to be taken into account.
Overlooking convenience: Does the chiropractor have hours that suit you? Do they have adequate parking, a handicapped bathroom, weekend appointments or online scheduling? Many conditions require frequent visits and any complication in you being able to follow your care plan can delay your progress. If you have a 9 to 5 job, you may find it difficult to get to your chiropractor if they close at 5 or 6 and are not open on weekends. Their office may be open later, but traffic or your distance from the office may prevent you from getting there without rushing.
Not looking over their website: Earlier I emphasized reading reviews to learn what patients think but getting a look at what the doctor thinks is important is also necessary. Chiropractors use many different techniques and procedures to treat patients and their website should give you n idea of what to expect. Do they perform manual manipulations? ( not all chiropractors adjust the spine manually) , do they focus mainly on supplements and nutrition? Do they offer laser therapy? Is there practice focused on pain relief as well as correcting the problem? Many clinics are injury oriented meaning they treat mostly car accidents and work injuries. If you were hit from behind yesterday these clinics can help but if you have a chronic complaint that has bothered you for months, they may not be the place to go. Given that nearly everyone refers to the internet for information, a chiropractic office that doesn't utilize their website or Facebook page to keep the public and their patients informed is, frankly, behind the times. Many chiropractic offices offer the ability to complete your forms online or to download them to be completed before your appointment. My office offers online scheduling so appointments can be made at the patients convenience. A website should not only act as the modern day Yellow Page ad, it should also be a source of information.
Hopefully this post will help you make an informed decision when searching for a chiropractor.