Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Public Trust

Do chiropractors wonder about the level of trust the public has with our profession? Various organizing bodies in the profession have been very vocal about cultivating continued growth in this area. But does this concern enter into the typical practioner's mind? If so, how often? To what degree?

An individual chiropractor will probably argue that he is doing his part in nurturing this trust by helping his patients. I have no arguements with that. But let's take a step back from the trees and look at the forest as a whole. If only 10% of the population are seeking care in a chiropractic office, then are the sentiments of the other 90% being changed? Not every single patient is going to be happy with your care. So among the 10% who's seeking care, how many will actually sing praise for the profession? How many are so ecstatic about your care that they will serve as your chiropractic ambassador? How many will crucify after a bad experience?

Here's something else I noticed. There are patients who are very vocal with their chiropractic support. They support the profession across the board. Any chiropractor they meet will be held in high esteem. They will refer anyone to any chiropractor they know. Just the "DC" behind your name is sufficient information. But is that a typical sentiment found amongst pro-chiropractic individuals?

I would guess that those individuals are an extreme few. The more typical chiropractic supporter goes about fanning the chiropractic message with these thoughts in mind:

I have a very good chiropractor, my chiropractor stands out above the rest. I would refer others to my chiropractor.

The difference in sentiment is subtle, but profound. Any and all goodwill this individual is helping to spread carries a caveat. The caveat is that the message carried by your ambassador applies to only one specific chiropractor. If this message is received by others, then a very subtle yet dishearteningly message is also passed along. If your ambassadors say you can be trusted above all other chiropractors, then the reverse of that statement must be true: Other chiropractors can not be trusted.

So the cycle continues, multiplied by the millions that visit chiropractic offices annually. This thought that only some chiropractors can be trusted lays in the subconsicous of the public. So is the public's trust in chiropractic as a whole growing under this method of chiropractic conversion? (I will spare you the chiropractic pun, but I'm tempted.) Will chiropractic services always be tagged with "Buyer Beware"?

I recommend reading an article by William Morgan, D.C. in the May issue of ACA News for more on the subject.


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