The data is in from our 5th annual Upper Cervical Practice Survey of UC docs! We conduct these every year so we can learn current trends for the upper cervical practice. We believe this willhelp you gauge how your practice is doing and set your course/goals moving into 2020. As requested, this year we have new questions about average care plan and individual visit costs.
A big THANK YOU for those who participated in this year’s survey!
Before we unpack each survey question, here are some of the most important takeaways from 2019:
The largest group of doctors who participated this year have been in practice 0-5 years. Let’s keep empowering and equipping great new chiropractic students to go upper cervical!
Patient education continues to be the most significant form of internal marketing
4 years straight, internet marketing has demonstrated to be the best investment in external marketing
The typical upper cervical practice sees just under 150 patient visits/week, gains roughly 18 new patients/month, collects around $38,000/month, and operates a predominately cash practice.
71% of upper cervical doctors had an increase in collections vs last year
For the 5th 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 and for you as we delve into a new year.
Question 1: How long have you been in practice?
The number one group in this year’s survey was doctors who have been in practice 0-5 years (22.22%). About the same number of doctors (55.48%) 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?
Once again the largest group to participate in this year's Upper Cervical Practice Survey was doctors who primarily practice NUCCA (33.12%); which is lower than last year (39.77%). Both Epic and MC2 techniques doubled their presence this year. As one big upper cervical family, 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 2019 (not referrals)?
The internet is once again the #1 way upper cervical doctors are attracting new patients into their practices from external sources. 37.01% of doctors indicated this was the best return on investment for external marketing in 2019. We saw the same in 2018 (35.67%), 2017 (37.73%) and 2016 (36.11%). We are continuing to see each year that internet marketing is a key method doctors use to get new patients externally.
Question 4: What has been the most effective form of INTERNAL marketing for your practice in 2019 (not results or referrals)?
Patient education was once again the #1 generator of new patients from internal sources in 2019. 60.39% of UC docs reported this as providing the top results in their practices (up from 53.22% in 2018). 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.
By the way, 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?
The majority of upper cervical practices in our survey saw 6-10 new patients per month in 2019. 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 could you set for new patients in 2020? How will you achieve your new patient goals?
Question 6: How many patient visits does your practice see in a typical week?
The average number of patient visits per week in 2019 is just under 150. This is up from 2018 (140 patient visits per week). Since the number of new patients per month has stayed the same as last year, it stands to reason that the increase in patient visits is due to better retention. That's great news! Where would you like to see your practice next year 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?
This year, more than 3 out of 4 upper cervical practices have no associates (76.62%). This is up from 68.42% last year. Most likely the reasoning for this is the larger number of newer practices opening up in recent years. Understandably, 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 listen to two solid podcasts on this topic.
Question 8: How many EMPLOYEES do you have in your practice (non-associates)?
Just about 2 out of 3 upper cervical doctors have 2 or more employees. Interestingly, 1 out of 8 doctors (12.34%) has no one helping them out in the office. We also see a correlation with being a solo practitioner and limited growth.
Ultimately, doctors that have a good support team also have offices that are healthier, growing, and seeing 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 2019?
For the 5th year in a row, the #1 challenge facing upper cervical doctors today is consistently obtaining enough new patients. 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 for the new patient dilemma.
Question 10: Are your 2019 collections…?
Thankfully, for the 5th year in a row, the majority of upper cervical practices are growing! Specifically, 70.78% of practices reported an improved 2019 year (up from 63.16%)! This is great news and we believe this indicates Upper Cervical Care is growing around the world!
Question 11: What have been your average monthly collections in 2019?
The dividing line between the top 20% of upper cervical practices in the industry and the bottom 80% occurs at around $50,000 in collections/month; just about where it was last year.
1 in 6 docs are bringing in under $10,000/month. Compared to last year, we see a little increase in the percent of UC doctors collecting below $25,000/month. This is most likely due to the increase in the number of newer practices that have yet to gain traction.
What are your collection goals for the new year and would would it take to grow?What are the top UC doctors doing to achieve success?
Question 12: How Much is Your Average Care Plan?
This is a new question this year as a number of doctors have been asking what other offices charge. Thanks for asking! It's this kind of involvement that helps the Upper Cervical Practice Survey be informative and helpful.
In 2019, the average care plan ran just under $1,500. While more doctors have reported using care plans, 1 in 6 still aren't. Do your fees match your services? Consider your market, what you can confidently stand by, and take in consideration the value of your expert service.
Question 13: How much is your average individual visit?
Another new question by popular demand! Average cost of an individual visit for UC offices in 2019 was just over $60. Two thirds of the offices fall between $45 and $74.
Where do your fees fall? Have you found a rate that works for you to best reach the right people? The new year might just be a good time to make an adjustment.
What percentage of your practice is cash?
Roughly half (44.81%) of all upper cervical chiropractors have 100% cash practices. 4 out of 5 doctors reported at least 75% of their practice is cash pay. Compared to last year, we're seeing more cash patients.
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.
This tool helped many UC docs crush it last year...it can help you too!
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 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 this year be your best year ever!
About the Author: Tony Hook
Tony Hook is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Upper Cervical Marketing. His goal is to help Upper Cervical Doctors have the best practices possible.