What effect would an additional 20 new patients a month have on your clinic? How about 50, 75, 100, or thinking big how about over 100?
Does the hard work and time you take attending courses to improve your skills and patient outcomes automatically result in increased referrals?
Does your community have a good understanding of how you can impact their health and well-being?
If you have ever wondered about these things, you are not alone. We have wondered these things as well and would like you to be a part of our journey as we share how North 49 has been able to grow to consistently see over 100 new patterns each month with dizziness and balance issues. Over the next few months we will segment our journey into a series of posts and our goal is with breaking down our journey, we can reverse engineer it so hopefully you can have the same, if not more success, in less time.
John Maxwell said it well, “It’s said that a wise person learns from his mistakes. A wiser one learns from others’ mistakes. But the wisest person of all learns from others’s successes”
Let’s start with our story. In brief, North 49 starts in 2010 when Kregg (physio and North 49 founder) left his stable job of 15 years to open North 49. He had the mindset of setting the clinic apart as a leader in customer service, believing that consistent, great service would lead to better outcomes for the customer, resulting in sustained business growth.
An area that Kregg thought could be better serviced was in the field of vestibular therapy. This area was not new to Kregg and there already were several other clinics in Saskatoon who promoted that they offered this service. However, this type of service stream was not their main focus.
Why Vestibular Therapy?
Vestibular therapy was a field that Kregg believed was not tapped into when he opened North 49. Addressing this need in the community also fit into the goal of North 49 which was to address needless symptoms and disability. There was so much potential to improve the quality of life for residents of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan who were dealing with dizziness and balance issues.
By focusing in this area North 49 has grown. In 2010 the clinic had one physical therapist. Now there are seven and well over 100 new vestibular patients coming through our doors each month, even during a pandemic.
Does the Literature Point To A Problem?
The above is quite anecdotal, so here is a brief summary of the literature:
- The overall incidence of balance and dizziness problems is 5 to 10%. This increases to 40% with those over 40 years of age. (Samy 2017)
- Dizziness accounts for 7 million clinic visits in the USA per year. (Sloane 1989)
- On average patients consult 4-5 doctors before receiving a diagnosis. (veda)
- Estimated that 9% of elderly patients undergoing a comprehensive geriatric assessment for non-balance related complaints have unrecognized BPPV. (Oghalai 2000)
- BPPV costs approximately $2000 USD to diagnose as >65% of patients undergo unnecessary diagnostic testing or therapeutic interventions. (Wang 2014)
A review of the literature is clear. There is a problem with dizziness that health care providers should address.
Barriers For Continued Dizziness & Disability
Over the years we have come to realize that there are two main reasons why people continue to live unnecessarily with dizziness and disability.
- Lack of health care practitioners trained in this field. It is interesting as when Kregg went to university back in the early 1990’s he was taught that dizziness and nystagmus were both red flags that were not to be treated by physical therapy. Now well over half of his clinic’s caseload consists of patients with dizziness and nystagmus.
- Lack of the publics knowledge that trained health care providers can address their dizziness.
Strategies For Care Providers To Improve Their Understanding Of Dizziness
To address the first barrier we outlined above, we will not go into detail of how you can improve your understanding of dizziness. We will, however, highly recommend that you take the Understanding Dizziness Quiz. The quiz will not only give you insight into your level of understanding, but recommend educational opportunities based on your results. To get some good direction towards your educational journey, the quiz will only take you a few minutes to complete. A list of other educational opportunities, such as blogs, webinars and access to a FREE monthly newsletter are also provided after completing the quiz.
Strategies To Market Your Skills In Vestibular Therapy
Moving onto marketing, which we will focus on, we were recently asked by Embodia to provide a webinar on how to market your vestibular therapy practice. We called the webinar, Grow a vestibular Therapy Practice to 100+ New Patients/month and the webinar can be seen on Embodia’s website. For those who missed it here are the four strategies we covered:
- Educating ourselves.
- Educating our customers.
- X factor 1.
- X factor 2.
As this is a series of posts that we will release over time, this post will focus on educating ourselves.
With educating ourselves in regards to improving our clinical skills we covered this already, so check out the Understanding Dizziness Quiz. Feel free to visit our website, blogs, and YouTube Channel for other learning opportunities. VEDA, Embodia, and ERI also provide great courses to take your clinical skills to the next level.
In addition to developing our clinical skills we also need to develop our marketing skills. Did any of you attend any marketing classes while in university? We did not. Interestingly many of us who graduated from physio school had no business background or training yet went on to open our own businesses. Besides learning on the fly and sometimes from the “school of hard knocks” we have also been able to learn through:
- Observing what other business (successful and not successful businesses) are doing.
- Internet searching as there is so much information (and a lot of it is free) on the web.
- Finding a mentor and/or getting professional help.
A great resource for us has been Business Made Simple. They have books, podcasts, webinars, as well an inexpensive yearly subscription that has 10 business courses that you can take on demand 24/7. They also provide one-on-one mentoring services, if that is something you think that you need.
There are so many great books out there. Some of the recent books that we have read and recommend are:
- Hands on Marketing by Daria Malin.
- This I Know by Terry O’Reilly.
- The One Thing by Gary Keller.
- Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller.
- It Starts With Why by Simon Sinek.
Through our journey since 2010 and utilizing the opportunities outlined above we come to understand that the main things we need to focus on are:
- Communicating well.
- Taking the focus off of us and focusing on our customer.
- Providing a solution to a problem.
- Serving and adding value.
In follow-up posts we will review the strategies that we have found useful that include:
- Educating others.
- X factor 1.
- X factor 2.
Sorry, you will have to wait to see what the X factors are.