4th Annual Upper Cervical Practice Survey Results

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4th Annual Upper Cervical Practice Survey

As part of the upper cervical community, we love knowing how UC practices are doing. Well, the data is in from our 4th annual Upper Cervical Practice Survey of UC docs. We see certain trends that we believe will help you gauge how your practice is doing and set your course/goals moving into 2019.

A big THANK YOU for those who participated in this year’s survey!

Here are some of the most important takeaways for 2018 (we’ll unpack each survey question further below):

  • Most doctors who participated have been in practice 6-10 years (roughly 60% have been in practice 15 years or less). Let’s keep empowering and equipping great new chiropractic students to focus on upper cervical as a specialty!
  • NUCCA once again appears to be the largest upper cervical technique group (40%)
  • 3 years straight, internet marketing has demonstrated to be the best investment in external marketing
  • Patient education remains the most significant form of internal marketing
  • The typical upper cervical practice sees about 140 patient visits/week, gains roughly 18 new patients/month, collects around $30,000/month, and operates a predominately cash practice.
  • 57% of UC doctors have 1-2 employees
  • 2 out of 3 practices have no associates
  • 63% of upper cervical doctors are seeing more collections this year compared to last
  • For the 4th year in a row, the #1 challenge facing upper cervical doctors is consistently obtaining new patients


Now, let’s dig into each question and see what this means for Upper Cervical Care. Also, the knowledge in this Upper Cervical Practice Survey can help you in 2019.


Question 1: How long have you been in practice?

Survey question 1














The number one group in this year’s survey was those doctors who have been in practice 6-10 years (22.22%). 58.48% of doctors have been open 15 years or less. We should all keep doing our best to promote UC specific care and encourage and equip students to follow this path!


Question 2: Which upper cervical technique do you primarily practice?

Survey Q2

















Once again the largest group to participate in the survey was doctors who primarily practice NUCCA (39.77%). NUCCA was also the largest group in 2017 with 39.17%, 2016 with 26.99%, and in 2015 with 39.22%. We’re all an upper cervical family and it’s always good to see each technique flourish.


Question 3: What has been the most effective form of EXTERNAL marketing for your practice in 2018 (not referrals)?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q3
















Internet marketing was once again the #1 way upper cervical doctors are attracting new patients into their practices from external sources with 35.67% of doctors indicating this was the best return on investment of external marketing in 2017. We saw the same in 2017 (37.73%) and 2016 (36.11%). In 2015, professional referrals (32%) and internet marketing (30%) were the #1 and #2 responses, so we are seeing that each year internet marketing is a key way that doctors get new patients from external sources.


Question 4: What has been the most effective form of INTERNAL marketing for your practice in 2018 (not results or referrals)?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q4












Patient education was once again the #1 generator of new patients from internal sources in 2018 with 53.22% of UC docs reporting this as providing the top results in their practices. Every year of our survey, patient education has been definitively #1 for internal marketing. Making sure that you have great UC content that helps your patients “get it” is a huge asset in attracting new patients. Blogs, email newsletters, email blasts, eBooks, doctor videos, new patient orientation classes, health talks, pamphlets, etc are all great tools for you to implement.


Click here if you’d like to grab a free 2019 Marketing calendar and get some ideas for internal and external marketing.









Question 5: How many NEW PATIENTS does your practice see in a typical month?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q5

















The majority of upper cervical practices in our survey saw 6-10 new patients per month in 2018 (22.22%). Overall, the average number of new patients is about 18/month. This has been roughly the case for the past few years. How does your office compare? What goals should you set for new patients/month in 2019? How will you achieve your new patient goals for 2019?


Question 6: How many patient visits does your practice see in a typical week?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q6





















17.54% of UC docs reported in 2018 their number of patient visits/week is 50-75. This is down a bit from the past few years; possibly due to the number of new UC docs who have started practices in the past 2 years. If you calculate the average number of patient visits/week, the number jumps to 140/week! This tells us that there are a large number (over 50%) of upper cervical doctors that have thriving, medium to high volume practices. Where would you like to see your practice in 2019 when it comes to patients visits/week? What’s stopping you? What should you implement to get there?


Question 7: How many ASSOCIATES do you have in your practice?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q7












Once again, about 2 out of 3 upper cervical practices are solo practices with no associates (68.42%). We’ve been seeing a small but steady decrease in solo practitioners since 2015 as more owners are bringing on associates. This is good news for upper cervical! We also see a correlation with the number of associates a practice has and the number of patient visits/week for the office. Having solid associates on your team strengthens the practice. Hiring an associate can be frustrating, click here or here to check out podcasts on this topic.


Question 8: How many EMPLOYEES do you have in your practice (non-associates)?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q8


















Just about 1 out of 3 upper cervical doctors (31.58%) have 2 employees which is basically what the results of the survey have shown each year. Interestingly, 1 out of 9 doctors (11.70%) has no one helping them out in the office.

On the other end of the spectrum…about 2 out of 3 offices (63.16%) have 2 or more employees. Ultimately, doctors that have a good support team in their office are healthier, growing and see more new patients. When trying to keep overhead low, it can be scary when building a team. Here is a great podcast on how to build a team to grow your practice.


Question 9: What have you found to be the most challenging part of your practice in 2018?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q9
















For the 4th year in a row, the #1 challenge facing upper cervical doctors today is consistently obtaining enough new patients (22.81%). As this remains to be the biggest issue, it makes sense to research ways to have victory in this area. Perhaps consider these 101 Chiropractic Marketing Ideas to implement solutions to the new patient dilemma.


Question 10: What has been your typical COLLECTIONS for a month in 2018?

Q10 Upper Cervical Practice Survey























The dividing line between the top 20% of upper cervical practices in the industry and the bottom 80% occurs at around $51,000 in collections/month; right around where it was last year.

Compared to last year, we see a notable decrease in the percent of UC doctors collecting below $25,000/month and an increase in the percent of UC doctors collecting between $26,000 and $50,000/month. This means, as a whole, upper cervical doctors are collecting more this year compared to last year (specifically over 18% more)!

How are you valuing your services? What are your collection goals for 2019 and will you be in the top 20? What are the top UC doctors doing to make them so successful (more on this below)?


Question 11: Are your 2018 collections…?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q11









Thankfully, for the 4th year in a row, the majority of upper cervical practices are growing! We just discussed in question #10 that average collections are increasing. Specifically, 63.16% of doctors in our survey reported increased earnings in 2018 compared to 2017.  This is great news and we believe this indicates Upper Cervical Care is growing around the world!


Question 12: What percent of your practice is cash?

Upper Cervical Practice Survey Q12










This is a new question for the 2018 Upper Cervical Practice Survey. Every year we like hearing feedback from you to know what you would like to know more about. Many of you had questions regarding cash vs insurance practices.

Roughly half (44.44%) of all upper cervical chiropractors have 100% cash practices. Nearly 3 out of 4 doctors reported that at least 75% of their practice is cash pay. 1 out of 10 doctors handles more insurance payments than cash payments.

Typically, doctors that have a high percentage of patients paying cash see better collections overall and improved retention. We attribute this to patients being more personally invested in their health (paying out of pocket) and committed.


Upper Cervical Practice MasteryHow you can learn success secrets of the world’s top upper cervical doctors and crush it in 2019:

Maybe after looking through this Upper Cervical Practice Survey, you want to take things to the next level and make a bigger impact in your community: helping more sick and suffering people and doing what you love. In Dr. Bill Davis’ book, “Upper Cervical Practice Mastery” you’ll learn about the rock-solid foundation the top UC doctors in the world have in common that drives their success, as well as the biggest (and dumbest) mistakes to avoid when starting and building an Upper Cervical Practice. Upper Cervical Practice Mastery is a comprehensive UC practice success manual that helps you achieve prosperity and abundance in your life and practice even if you're starting from zero. Learn more and grab your copy by clicking here. Enjoy and may 2019 be your best year ever!

About the Author: Dr. Bill Davis
Dr. Bill Davis is the Founder and CEO of uppercervicalmarketing.com. His goal is to spread the word about the best-kept secret in health through Upper Cervical Specific Business and Marketing Solutions.
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