I like asking chiropractors what they enjoy most about practice. It’s an insight into the person and typically starts an enjoyable conversation. The most common answers are when the house is packed, the energy is upbeat and the doctor’s “in the zone” – going from one table or room to the next, confident, having fun and taking great care of patients and hearing about their progress. I call these times power hours.
During a similar conversation with a seminar guest, he told me that “those times are all too rare. I wish it could be like that all the time.”
“I think I can help that,” I said as I called a client over to join the conversation. After introductions I said, “Tell our guest about your power hours.” My client’s eyes lit up as he described his busy, high energy and most enjoyable hours in the clinic.
“Power hours used to happen by accident, then Noel showed me how to plan for and create them. Now there are four times as many power hours in the practice as when we started,” he said.
“That makes practice a lot more fun, doesn’t it?” said our seminar guest.
“It’s better than that – we added 120 visits a week and cut our stress in half – all due to power hours.”
I was quick to add that it did take some thought, planning and discipline to make the change, but my client was just as quick to say that it was well worth the effort – times 10!
My guest looked straight at me and said, “If I get this one thing and nothing else out of the weekend, it’ll be worth the trip. Will you teach me what you taught your client?”
“You’re exactly right and I’d be happy to,” I said.
The following is what I told him and if you want to help more people, have more fun and make better money using power hours, read on:
First, lets get our thinking straight: The best chiropractors can do for someone is find and remove subluxations and that doesn’t take very long. If you want to know what a real adjustment time is, tell me how long it takes to adjust your spouse, kids or best friend? Much of the time spent in an office call is due to lack of training for staff, doctor and patient, and to off-purpose socializing. You know – the weather, sports, your upcoming vacation or new car. Patients want you focused on chiropractic and them. When the exchange degenerates into peer chitchat you’re not only wasting time, but ruining the doctor patient relationship.
Second, find out how many patients you can see in an hour by timing an office call. I’m not advocating that you rush people through – never rush your technique – but don’t lollygag either. Ask your CA to time you. There is no judgment here, just feedback. We don’t want to over-or-under book your power hours, just replicate the same pace as when you are “in the zone.” We’ll call this your power hour rate.
Reality Check: Before you ask your CA to time you, ask her how many patients she feels comfortable booking for you in an hour. If you know you can do great work on 10 to 12 (or more) patients an hour and she says five or six, she may be telling you that you waste time.
Now select the three busiest hours you currently have, pack them at capacity and create your first three power hours.
Here’s the key to effective power hours: stay disciplined in your first three power hours by following the rules. Here are the rules:
- You will stay on purpose, on task and on time.
- You are just doing adjustments – book other procedures at other times.
A big enemy of staying on time is over-adjusting too many segments too many times. When a patient says “I don’t think you got it, Doc.” Tell them you did, smile, and confirm their next appointment.
When you learn to create and perfect a power hour you’re training yourself primarily, but also training the patients and training the staff. When you get really good at doing a power hour, not only you and your CA but your patients will enjoy power hours too. A client in a large city tells me that his patients request power hour appointments by name because they know they can get in and out on time.
Another reality check: You may be thinking, “I see patients that come from a big practice up the road and they tell me they left that practice because the doctor didn’t spend enough time with them.”
I’ve heard that too – typically from a patient who wants to train me to spend a lot of unnecessary time rubbing this, checking that or telling me that I need to adjust something again. Frankly, I’d rather have the big practice up the road and have those people see someone else.
Now the game starts: Work with your CA to see how many power hours you can schedule in a week. Ask her questions like: How are my times? How would you grade our power hours? How’s the energy in the office during power hours? When the new power hours fill up, add more. Set a goal to add one to two new powers a week.
Here’s a short list of the benefits of creating power hours: give better care, help more people, have more fun and make more money, have a higher sense of purpose, better leadership and organization, AND by guiding patients toward power hours, it leaves other time slots open for more new patients! Here’s to your success!