Our 3rd annual survey had 319 participants answer 11 questions about best practices for 2017.
If you participated this year thank you very much!
Here are some of the most important takeaways from this year’s survey:
As opposed to the previous two years, the number one group in this year’s survey was those doctors who have been in practice five years or less (20.38%). This may indicate that more chiropractic students are turning to upper cervical as a specialty.
Once again the largest group to participate in the survey was doctors who primarily practice NUCCA with 39.17% of doctors saying that this is their primary technique. NUCCA was also the largest group in 2016 with 26.99% and in 2015 with 39.22% practicing NUCCA.
Internet marketing was once again the number one way that upper cervical doctors are attracting new patients into their practices from external sources with 37.79% of doctors indicating that this was the best way that they got a return on investment from external marketing in 2017. This was also the case in 2016 where 36.11% of doctors indicated that Internet marketing was working best. In 2015, professional referrals (32%) and Internet marketing (30%) were the number one and number two responses. It is also telling that each year the number of doctors who indicate that Internet marketing is the best way to get new patients from external sources has increased from 30% to 36% to nearly 38% this year.
Patient education was the number one way that upper cervical doctors were generating new patients from internal sources in 2017 with 54.84%. This was consistent with 2016 where 57% of participants said patient education was best. In 2015 this was not one of the options but was written in by many doctors and is why we added it to the 2016 version of the survey. Every year we look at the write-ins to see what we may have missed and what we may want to add to the next survey.
The majority of upper cervical practices in our survey saw 11 to 15 new patients per month in 2017. In 2016 the number one answer was 16 to 20 (22.49%) followed by 11 to 15 (21.89%). In 2015 the new patient question was not asked. A higher number of practices in the survey who have been in practice less time may be the reason for the lower number of new patients in this year’s survey.
In 2017, the number one answer for upper cervical practices was 76 to 100 patient visits per week (18.89%). In 2016, the number one answer was 101 to 125 (19.53%) with 76 to 100 coming in a close second with 18.34% and in 2015 the number one answer was 50 to 100 (34.29%)
Once again the large majority of upper cervical practices are solo practices with no associates (70.97%) in 2017. In 2016, 75.46% of upper cervical doctors were in solo practice and in 2015 74.77% of the doctors surveyed indicated they were in solo practice. This slight decrease (4%) may indicate that more doctors are hiring Associates.
On the high-end, less than 1% of the upper cervical practices surveyed have more than four associates.
31.80% of upper cervical practices have two employees according to the 2017 survey. In 2016, one and two employees tied as the number one answer with 33.13% of the answers. In 2015, two employees was also the number one answer with 33.64% of the answers.
At the other end of the spectrum, 1.38% of practices in the survey have more than 10 employees.
For the third year in a row, the number one challenge facing upper cervical doctors is obtaining enough new patients consistently (25.69%). In 2016, 33.83% of doctors indicated this was their number one challenge and in 2015 50.62% of the doctors indicated that this was their biggest challenge.
Once again we see a dividing line between the top 20% of upper cervical practices in the industry and the bottom 80%. However, we see a slight shift upwards of the bottom 80%. In previous years the 80/20 split was at $40,000 per month collections but this year it shifted up to 50,000.
Once again the majority of practices approximately 30% collect between $16,000 and $25,000 per month. $16,000-$20,000 (15.60%) and $21,000-$25,000 per month (13.76%).
Here is the top 20%:
The top 20% of upper cervical practices are collecting between 51,000 and $150,000 per month.
For the third year in a row, the majority of upper cervical practices are growing. 61.47% of doctors who took the survey indicated that they have collected more in 2017 than they did in 2016. This was also the case in 2016 with 71.78% and in 2015 with 64.49% of doctors said they collected more this year than the previous year.