The emergence of the free-standing laser clinic to treat pain.
As a separate clinic or add-on modality, laser treatment is easy in its start-up and administration, making the laser clinic an opportunity.
It hasn’t been that long since chiropractors were limited to spinal adjustments and maybe hot and cold packs. Fortunately, this has changed drastically in most states. We can now specialize in weight loss, spinal decompression, electrical modalities and other forms of physical therapy in order to help our patients feel better and lead more productive lives — including the laser clinic to treat pain.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in patient care has been the introduction of laser therapy. This remarkable treatment has taken health care literally light years ahead of other forms of additional care. It is fast to administer, painless, and has reproducible and predictable results. Very few other modalities can do the same.
Laser can turn around a practice
Like most, I started with a chiropractic office and utilized IFC, ultrasound and the normal battery of therapies. It was only after class IV laser was added that my practice took a very big turn for the better.
Initially we offered a treatment for plantar fasciitis and the response was huge. We then expanded into other issues and “body parts,” and it was then we decided to offer stand-alone laser care.
A stand-alone laser clinic offers many advantages. First, it is what it is — a stand-alone laser pain center. We offered no chiropractic care or anything else. The basics were the same, such as paperwork, exam, X-rays if needed, and report of findings. We recommended a treatment plan of 10-14 visits, and substantial relief was often found in just a few sessions. This care plan was done in order to get maximum photo biomodulation and rehabilitation. Surprisingly, follow-through was amazing, with a 90% completion rate, and most patients rescheduled for visits at least once a month. This form of treatment really had no “selling,” and compliance was easier than with chiropractic.
Another major factor of the stand-alone laser pain clinic is that a therapist can handle nearly everything. Once the initial workup was done, the therapist did the complete treatment program. The doctor doesn’t need to do much of anything but check progress and say hello. Often we would do 20 or more laser patients in a day, and I would never even see a patient. The patients liked the treatment because they actually felt something — and it was very fast, painless, and results came quickly.
One of the most important features of the stand-alone laser pain center was ROI, or return on investment. Most centers can be small, comfortable and affordable; payment is usually higher than what one is paid for a chiropractic adjustment — and in less time, with less physical work. Our clinic had two therapy rooms and two full-time laser therapists. The therapist usually saw 20 or more laser-only patients a day, plus another group of chiropractic patients with laser therapy combined. Of course, these patients needed direct doctor care, then were moved to the laser room and charged additionally.
The laser clinic and class IV lasers
Our clinic opted for class IV laser therapy over other less-powerful lasers. Our patients thoroughly enjoyed the warming sensation of the class IV laser. Plus, treatment times are tremendously faster, administering more joules of healing energy into a location up to 10 times faster than other lower laser classifications. We also used both attended and non-attended class IV laser.
Many patients said, “If I can’t feel it, I don’t think anything is being done.” We also didn’t like the fact that there were literally hundreds and hundreds of class III lasers being sold on eBay from dozens of manufacturers, which confused many of the patients. It has also come to the point that many class III lasers are as expensive, if not more so, than class IV. Also, several excellent class IV laser manufacturers offer dual- and even quad-beam lasers for optimum healing.
Referrals and cash payments
We got to the point that a large orthopedic group was referring patients to us for pre- and post-operative care. We did very well with them and they were pleased with our results, as were their patients.
Finally, we told all our patients up front that laser therapy was not covered by insurance and it would be a cash payment. Surprisingly, this was met with little to no resistance. We charged $35 for stand-alone laser, or about $500 for the 14-visit package. Most clinics charge $45-60 per visit, some much more depending on practice location. We were just less expensive because our clinic was in a small Midwest town.
Even if you don’t want a free-standing building, you can add laser therapy in your clinic. We had special signage, marketing and other forms of media that let patients know they could come to us for something other than chiropractic care, and many of them wanted this service. Laser therapy was a huge advantage for us since there were six chiropractors in a town of 8,000 people. Offering laser therapy definitely set us apart from everyone else.
Laser therapy can be a huge help and benefit for you, your patients, and your clinic’s income. Once you learn how, your results and monetary rewards will come.
Gary Huddleston, DC, owns Accuflex Tables & Lasers and works solely in the entertainment and music industry, treating world-famous bands and musicians with laser therapy. He can be reached at 573-745-1086, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at accuflextables.com.
Rob Hanopole is CEO of The Laser Masters, a company that helps doctors and therapists design, open and run laser pain and rehab clinics through one-on-one development and nationwide seminars. He can be reached at 954-296-8473, via email at email@example.com, or at the website thelasermasters.com.