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Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – Is Your Clinic on the Right Side of the Tracks?



Today we’re gonna be talking about tracking for success. So is your practice on track? What stats should you be tracking? Are you tracking or aren’t you?

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. I am Dr. Nell Smircina with American Acupuncture Council, and let’s go to the slides. Today we’re gonna be talking about tracking for success. So is your practice on track? What stats should you be tracking? Are you tracking or aren’t you? What’s really interesting about this topic is I would say out of the practitioners and students that I coach when we talk about stats in clinic or stats in their practice, over 90% don’t track anything.

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So the little bit these nuggets that you’re going to get out of the presentation today, you’re already gonna be way ahead of the game just by going over these three top things that you wanna make sure you’re tracking in your business. So really things to think about. Like I said, most of practitioners out there, at least in the acupuncture industry, are unfortunately not tracking things.

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This can be really problematic because not only is it not allowing us to be really intentional with what’s going on in our practice, but how are we comparing how we’re doing? If we’re growing? There are a lot more things than your bottom line revenue that we need to be looking at because it’s one thing to say, Hey, I need to bring in more income every month.

But it’s very different when you then wanna dive into where is that revenue coming from? Is it mostly new patients? Is it returning patients? Is it supplement sales? If you’re not really sure, then that’s gonna be really problematic when you are trying to decide what steps you wanna take next to continue growing your practice.

So the first thing you wanna think about is are you tracking to begin with? If you’re not tracking, why is that? Is it because you’re just not sure what stats you should be tracking? Is it because we get so swept up in the day-to-day, which is entirely possible, especially since most of us start out as solopreneurs.

You are the only one who is working all of the levers in your business. So I wanna help with some of those. . Maybe why not today And give you just some really easy things that you could take away and say, all right, this feels really feasible for me. I can at least get started with these three things.

And if you are tracking, that’s awesome. I just told you the stats on people I talk to, how often people are not tracking in their businesses. But if you are tracking, what are you tracking? Is it again, just that bottom line what comes into your practice? Is it the top line when it comes to sales before you take out all of your expenses?

Because what we’re looking at from patient count perspective and revenue can make a really big difference in the decisions that we make. So I absolutely want you to be looking at your finances. We need to budget, we need to plan accordingly. But when it comes to those first steps to take for what we’re gonna track when it comes

Two patients. Let’s take a look at these three today. So the first one, . I’m new. How many new patients are you bringing in? We wanna talk about you and your practice. So we’re gonna close up by saying how important it’s to talk to colleagues and how important it’s to compare you to you. But if you brought in four new patients last month, we wanna do better than that this month.

If you brought in 40 patients last month, we wanna see how to do better this month. We wanna start tracking these things so we can make informed decisions, not only when it comes . To how well is the practice doing, but we wanna talk about capacity. When is it important to bring on another practitioner?

When do you need to bring on office staff? When do you get to the point where you say, Hey, I’m doing too many patients. I don’t have time to run the back office at this point, and somebody really needs to help me. And the first easy one to do is just tracking the amount of new patients that come into your practice.

And I really like to look at this on a weekly basis. If you’re, just getting started with it and that feels a little overwhelming. Monthly is great as well. But really to have that weekly check-in and say how many new patients this week. What’s also great about tracking things is you start to identify trends.

When I had my practice and that was in la it was very, seasonal. I had a lot of parents in my practice, so people would be going away during the summer, they’d be going away during holiday breaks. And you need to be able to plan for that and start to see trends. But when are your new patients coming in?

How many new patients are coming in? Is the main thing that you wanna start with? The second thing is looking at return patients. Now I’ve seen this tracked a couple of different ways where I think it’s most meaningful for you to take something really tangible out of it and say to myself, wow, I really learned something from this process.

How many of those new patients are coming back? That doesn’t mean, all right, what percentage of my patients are returning patients? I think when you first start tracking metrics in your practice, you wanna look at . It could also be referred to as your conversion rate. So you have a new patient. How many of them are turning into a patient with an active care plan Who’s coming back for that next treatment?

That’s really important to know because if we look at that kind of staying at the same level, I. That that’s not improving. We wanna then be looking at, okay, what are ways that we can improve that conversation around why someone needs to go from that initial consultation and exam into an active care plan?

And so we can’t really start looking at what are the main things that cause that performance to increase if we don’t know what that baseline number is. So we need to know how many new patients are turning into return patients. And again. Get grounded in a weekly cadence of this. You can just look at a few things per week and that will start to give you a few metrics that make it really evident what’s going on in your practice, and you can always go from there.

I. All right, the last one with all these numbers this is one people don’t often think about, but it’s very important when you’re looking at planning your income and predicting out what your scheduling is going to look like. What is the average number of sessions that a new patient. Who then gets into an active care plan?

What does your active care plan session wise generally look like? And depending on your specialization, depending on the amount of days that you practice depending on, if your cash or insurance a lot of these things shouldn’t make a difference in this number, but realistically they do. It’s a little easier to have a conversation with a patient who’s paying with their insurance that they need to come three times a week.

Maybe that’s not as easy when you’re in a cash practice. I will say, and I’ve done shows on this before, I think that management of expectations and that communication is critical. You need to be telling your patients first and foremost what is best for them, what’s best for their health. And you can always come back to, okay, that’s not feasible for you.

Then this is how we can adjust. And then if that’s not going well, you can revisit. This is why I said this is what the frequency should be. But you need to look at what is that average number of sessions that you are prescribing someone as part of a treatment plan. Is it six for an additional an initial round?

Is it 12? Is it 10? So that when you know how many new patients am I bringing in and that what percentage of those patients are coming back and what is the average number of sessions that those returning patients are going to be engaged in? That really allows you to plan things ahead of time. So you start to see those trends in when new patients are typically coming and the activities you’re engaging in around that.

You get to see, all right, this is my conversion rate. This is who I’m bringing in as a new patient who then becomes a returning patient who’s engaged in an active care plan. And then, okay, what does that care plan look like? Now that they’re converted, and I know that . 50% of my people or 80% of my people are going to be engaged in an active care plan if I know that’s generally sessions.

Those three things allow me to plan very well and have a really good baseline for starting to look at my practice and how it’s doing, how it’s growing and when I need to bring on more help. . Again, like I said, the majority of people are not tracking. So if you just start with these things, you’re really going to have an incredible opportunity to be ahead of the game, like ahead of 90%

Of the practitioners that I talk to just by starting these. And you wanna compare you to you. So I think sometimes when we’re at the beginning of practice or when we’ve been stuck at a particular cadence and we’re trying to grow out of that and not be at a plateau, it can feel a little challenging.

We can play that comparison game with other people. It is important to measure growth. Also U to U. So if you were doing four new patients last month and you’re doing eight new patients this month, maybe that is not the same cadence as the acupuncturist down the street who’s been in practice longer.

But that’s a huge increase. That’s a 100% increase. So we should be excited about that and be able to then look at that and say, okay, something’s working. What are those things that are working? And also this can be a very isolating profession. So you wanna ask your colleagues, you wanna see are other people tracking things, what’s been really helpful for them?

People who are able to convert most of those new patients who do consultations or exams into returning patients. What are things that they’re doing? So really trying to leverage the people around us and create that support system is key. I love talking about this stuff. And this is always fun bringing you guys these bite-sized nuggets for your practice.

But if you ever have any more questions, please feel free to reach out to me at aac and don’t forget to tune in next week for another episode of To the Point. . .


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Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – An Associateship vs. Starting a Private Practice


And so we’re gonna go over the idea of employment versus private practice. And so I don’t mean just employment as employment in a hospital.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. I am Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council. Let’s go to the slides.

So today we’re gonna go over a topic that, again, every time I bring these to you guys, there seems to be a theme where many people are coming to me with these same questions. And so we’re gonna go over the idea of employment versus private practice. And so I don’t mean just employment as employment in a hospital.

We could talk about . Contract work synonymously. Really the idea we wanna dive into is the idea of growing your own business versus being a part of someone else’s business. And what are some of the pros and cons there? What are some of the considerations and things we need to go over? Why this is such an important topic to me is I have done all of these different variations of this.

I’ve done the cash practice, the insurance practice, I’ve done contract work worked in a medical facility, been part of a group practice, . There’s many different ways that you can build your career in this profession, in the clinical space, if maybe this’ll be a future one that we do. Talking about all the other different revenue streams you could potentially have, and ways that you could make impact or be employed in this industry beyond the clinical space.

But today we’re really going to hone into the clinical aspect of this. So with that, what are we thinking about today? What’s the considerations that we wanna have? We wanna talk about the risk reward ratio. . There’s nuances with that. If you’re on your own versus working for somebody else, same thing with costs.

The costs are gonna be drastically different. And even within those two different options, they’re gonna be different cost considerations, and then the benefits comparison, because of course, whatever decision we make, we always wanna be coming from. A really informed place and making decisions out of having substantial information rather than making a decision based on, oh, insurance feels complicated.

I don’t wanna deal with that. Or, I don’t know anything about owning my business, so I’m just not gonna do that. So we wanna look at what’s the benefit for us but also what are those risks, those costs, really the overall considerations that we need to have when making this informed decision. So let’s look at the risks and the rewards of both of these options.

Like I said, in that employment independent contractor piece . First and foremost, you wanna have malpractice insurance. Whether you’re working for yourself or you’re working for somebody else. You are gonna have the flexibility of how you manage risk when it comes to your own private practice.

You’re gonna have a lot of autonomy when it comes to deciding what is your environment going to look like? How am I going to control all these different variables around me? You’re not worried about, . Potentially other providers causing issues or sharing patients. If it’s you get to make the rules, right?

You also get to make decisions around what type of malpractice coverage you’re going to have. The limits. If you are working for somebody else, they are going to make a lot of these decisions. So that environment, if it’s a shared environment, you are not an autonomous entity there. I’ll give you an example.

When I first started my practice in Beverly Hills, I was sharing a medical space. So it was amazing for a new practitioner because I was in an environment with a neurologist, a chiropractor, massage therapy, Ayurvedic care nurse practitioners. Really loved that multidisciplinary approach. However, . We shared a waiting room.

We shared office staff, and even though we were all running our own businesses . When Covid happened, there were certain risks and, rules that were in place. And I got really concerned that, okay, what if these other providers aren’t following the rules? Could I get fined? Could I get in trouble?

And so there is an additional risk at having this multidisciplinary kind of space and not having that autonomy over your own space. Also, if you’re working for someone else let’s say you work at Modern Acupuncture. . They are going to determine what your limits of liability need to be. The the type of policy that you need to have.

They are going to have the setup of their physical space, right? So you are not going to have a lot of decision making power when you are working for somebody else. There are things you can do. Of course, you’re gonna be practicing clean needle technique. . You’re gonna make sure that you keep your risk as low as possible.

But at the same time, there’s only certain things that you can control when it is not your space. The rewards of that though, we’re gonna get into, and some of that has to do with the cost. So let’s look at that. It’s very interesting to me that, over 90% of acupuncturists are sole proprietors.

So running our own businesses going out on our own functioning as entrepreneurs. And yet, like 2% of our education is focused on business training and most small businesses fail within their first few years. . There is something really interesting about how that is set up and certain realities that we need to be aware of with that.

And cost is really one of those. So when you’re looking at the cost of starting your own business now, yes, we are in an industry that has pretty low overhead. We don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get really dramatic results for patients. We need our needles, we need our basic tools. For CNT, we need a treatment table.

If you’re doing community acupuncture, you might not even need a table. You might need chairs. So there are ways to offset a lot of this cost. You can share space when you’re first practicing. You can rent a room, so you are operating as an autonomous entity, but you’re minimizing the cost of your initial investment in your practice and how that looks.

Obviously if you’re working for someone else, a lot of that might even be taken care of, that already low overhead could get even lower. So I had done an employment agreement with another acupuncturist when I was first starting, and I worked with him two days a week, but. He paid for all of the supplies.

He was, doing all of the insurance billing. He had a scheduling software that he was paying for. He had office staff, so all I was doing was showing up and treating. And so when we think about cost, we also wanna think about what does that mean? For what it’s potentially costing us as well, right?

So if you are operating in your own business, you get to determine what that fee schedule is. You get to determine what your take home from your business is going to be. Whereas if you’re working for someone else, you’ll see a lot of these jobs advertised online and sometimes it is nowhere near what you could make in private practice.

And that’s because. This entity that is employing you or contracting you is taking on not only a lot of that risk, but the cost as well. And so they have to offset that in some way. But I do really wanna talk about the benefits because this is going to look a little bit different depending on not only like what your risk tolerance is, what your interests are, what you genuinely want to spend your time doing.

So like I mentioned with private practice. You get to determine what your fee schedule is. Nobody is making that decision for you. You can do your own market research. You can say, I’m going to have a relationship based practice and I’m going to go out and make friends with other healthcare providers and make sure that I have a ton of referrals coming in and I keep my patients really happy.

You could have a FI high volume insurance practice where you are in network with a lot of companies that are essentially . Pre-qualifying people for you who are on those websites looking and saying, oh, hey, I’m interested in acupuncture. Where is there an acupuncturist in my area? So that flexibility and the autonomy that you will have in private practice is really your major benefit.

You get to make. All of the decisions that for some cannot feel like a benefit at all. Some people, and I would venture to say a lot of people in our industry did not get into this medicine to run a business. They are not interested in being entrepreneurs. That is not, top of mind. It’s that they wanna be incredibly cli, clinically competent, which most acupuncturists are who are licensed and they want to deliver incredible patient results.

And that’s what we like to do, right? The benefit of working for someone else, when you give up some of that autonomy, you get back a lot of that focus on being a clinician. So I loved at that point in my career, when I was first starting out for two days a week to be able to show up in an office and just treat and have a full schedule and never worry about recruiting patients or what the overhead was, or was my, business license renewed.

Did I pay my taxes, did I get my articles of incorporation in ? All of those things were taken off my plate as an employee as a contractor as well. Like I’m not worried about those things. I get to show up and do what I wanna do best. So when we are looking at . The benefit analysis here that is going to be highly individualized depending on who is looking at this.

I personally see so much benefit in running your own business and getting to determine what your marketing strategy’s gonna be. Who are those partners you’re going to bring in? . But a lot of people might not feel that way. I have a provider who works for me in my practice, and she is incredible.

She’s been licensed for 12 years and she, the entire time has only been interested in employment opportunities or contract work because she is very clear that she wants to spend every hour possible in her day. Focusing on patient care and treating patients, and she has absolutely no interest in running a business.

So looking at benefits that is highly individualized. There are certain things that you’re gonna say, oh hey that sounds really good to me. That will not sound good to somebody else. So just like our medicine is so highly personalized, this decision is as well. But I think the important things with this to remember are you have tons of flexibility.

. You get to decide if you want to only run your own business, if you want to work for someone else, if you wanna work with someone part-time. If you wanna have multiple locations, that is a really beautiful thing about not only the personalized aspect of care that we have, but the personalized aspect we can have with our clinical setup and the way we deliver that care.

It’s very important though to know your state laws. So for example in California it is very difficult to contract people. A lot of those laws were built around trying to protect independent contractors like Uber drivers that type of thing. And. The side effects of that have permeated into the healthcare delivery system.

And so you need to be knowledgeable about, okay, am I even allowed to have independent contractors? Am I allowed to be an independent contractor? If I’m an employee, who do I need to be employed by? Another California example you need to be employed by a professional corporation. So if you don’t, your employer doesn’t fall into that category.

They’re not supposed to be employing you as an acupuncturist in that state. So there is nuance there and workarounds for all that too. That’s where the flexibility comes in. That’s where talking to an attorney comes in. That’s where talking to me, letting me guide you and send you to the right people to help with this setup.

And the last thing I wanna end with is that. As a, not only a medical provider, but a provider of acupuncture and traditional medicine who is working in such a highly specialized area of healthcare. yoU are your business. So whether you are, presenting yourself and saying, Hey, like I have my private practice, but I also work here and I work here and I work here many times, we become the brand for our own entity.

People are drawn to you a lot of times, even more so than the medicine. People get very attached to their providers, and so while that provides a lot of . Flexibility. There’s also a ton of responsibility that goes along with that, and I think that’s, I wanna link that back to the risk management piece at the beginning that we really need to be mindful of.

Because even if we’re out there, we’re, posting on our own personal social media, we’re still representing ourselves and our business, whether we are employed or whether we are practicing independently. I love talking about these different options. I’ve been able to help a lot of providers navigate that landscape that’s my happy place.

So please feel free to reach out. We definitely have the risk management piece covered, and don’t forget to tune in next week for another episode of To The Point. Thanks for tuning in. .


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Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – Safety Misconceptions: Are You At Risk For a Claim?


Acupuncture Malpractice Insurance – Safety Misconceptions: Are You At Risk For a Claim?

We have certain misconceptions around safety that we’re gonna go over today and really what puts us at risk. And I wanna be sure to hit on some things that will not only help keep you safe in practice, but are gonna help you build your business as well.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council. Thanks so much for joining me for another episode of To The Point. Let’s go to the slides. Today we’re gonna be talking about something that. I don’t always go over in such a straightforward way. A lot of times this topic is interwoven into some of the the themes that we have throughout our different broadcasts, but it’s something that has been coming up a lot for me lately.

Not just in my own practice, but in things I handle in my day-to-Day work at AAC, and I think it’s really important to note that. We have certain misconceptions around safety that we’re gonna go over today and really what puts us at risk. And I wanna be sure to hit on some things that will not only help keep you safe in practice, but are gonna help you build your business as well.

All about that efficiency. So when we’re looking at this, I think there’s a few reasons why we miss the mark when it comes to safety sometimes. So I think when you hear the word safety, it’s very easy, particularly in our industry to think, oh, that’s OSHA related. Or that’s clean needle technique.

And I think that buzzword of safety makes us think more about occupational hazards when it comes to keeping safe with our needles, with our cupping supply. All of those things that of course we’re running into in our day-to-day when it comes to practice. But there’s a whole other aspect to keeping ourselves safe, not just the materials we use or the patients we use those materials on.

But also how we’re operating in our day-to-Day, and how do we keep our practices safe as we’re growing them. And I think part of this is due to another myth, this misconception that acupuncturists don’t really get in trouble, that we have such a safe medicine, which we do. And compared to other healthcare providers it is very safe.

We focus a lot on preventative health. We have obviously a more holistic and natural approach. So there is going to be some built-in safety to the way that we practice. . However, there’s also built-in risk. And so I think sometimes we focus in on these ideas of clean needle technique or osha because we think this idea of managing risk outside of those very straightforward things feels maybe too overwhelming.

Or like we don’t have a how something to really latch onto with that. And so I wanna demystify a little bit of that today and just give you one really easy takeaway, the main thing that you could take away from this to potentially avoid a claim coming through your office. So when we look at this misconception around safety first and we think about the occupational safety that we need to take care of, I think.

That makes us forget about all these other aspects of risk. So a big thing board complaints, for example. That’s something that could happen even if you are a hundred percent with your OSHA standards, your clean needle technique. That’s something that we don’t even think about when it comes to just the safety of protecting our practice.

If we hear the word malpractice, we’re thinking that’s okay. Yes. Directly related to patient care. Nothing on the periphery. So we really need to reevaluate what’s coming to mind when we think about safety. And that other piece about, oh, our medicine’s really safe. This is a problem for . Other healthcare providers?

No. There, there’s a real truth here that acupuncturists can have claims coming in. And even though our medicine is very safe and it might be obviously more risky to be a surgeon, we still have to look at what our normal is, what our risk tolerance is the things that we’re gonna encounter in our day to day.

When we look at what a patient experience looks like for us specifically, there’s a lot of risk that’s just baked into our normal day-to-day. We have a one-on-one relationship with our patients. There’s not a scribe. A lot of times there’s not office staff. There’s not. Witnesses to things that could potentially happen.

So that puts us at a little bit of increased risk. And because of nuances like that, that are not cut and dry, it’s not like we’re performing a surgical procedure and there’s either a favorable outcome or not. There’s either a complication or there isn’t. There is nuance to how we need to think about safety in our practice.

So the number one thing that we can do, and I want you to see this stat, over 90%. I am wondering if you have any idea what comes to mind or what comes to mind for you individually when you hear this over 90% with regard to claims. So this is actually, a colleague of mine uses the stat when we speak in the different acupuncture schools that over 90% of claims in acupuncture could be avoided if there was proper communication on the front end.

And that sounds really scary because it’s scary to even think about claims in our practice or something going wrong, especially because most acupuncturists are very well-intentioned and wanna do really right by our patients. But to think that I. The claims that do come through that, a lot of times there’s a breakdown in communication that should actually feel really empowering.

That’s something that we can get better at. That’s something that can help protect us in practice as well as help us grow our businesses. So just like when people say things, it’s very cliche, oh, if you invest in yourself, you can never go wrong. If you invest in your communication, your ability to manage expectations on the front end, that is a great way to bridge that gap between thinking about safety from a, how do I protect myself, my practice, my patients.

Managing expectations is a huge part of lowering that risk. And so this 90% plus for you to think about how powerful you could be and how safe you could be in practice with that effective communication for you from a business building perspective is going to help with patient acquisition.

It’s gonna help with patient retention because you’re managing expectations better. It will absolutely help with referrals because if we’re effectively communicating the value that we provide, so if you’re. Invested in becoming a stellar communicator. Not only are you gonna lower that risk but you’re gonna bring your business to a new level as well.

To wrap this up, I wanna bring all of these together focused on what we talked about at the beginning. So if you take anything away from this, just know that there’s more to safety, so don’t hear that safety buzzword and think, oh, I just need to get my N-C-C-O-M PDAs and knock out that one class. I already did clean needle technique.

I don’t need to think about that. No. Safety is something we need to think about every single day in our businesses, and we need to expand beyond that, that safety net of just checking the box that we’re doing clean needle technique or effective OSHA practices or even effective HIPAA practices. We need to think about how

Every little bit of communication that we have, every action that we make absolutely falls into that safety category. And the reality is we’re licensed providers. So licensed providers, regardless of what your day-to-Day looks like, there’s an increased risk because you have a license, it’s. Stake and you have certain standards that need to be met to maintain that license to help the public be protected to be a fiduciary.

And so we need to think about safety a little bit differently within the context of being licensed. And the last thing is. Safety doesn’t need to be a boring thing or a check the box thing. It can be a really interesting thing. It can be a really exciting thing because it does help you manage risk, but also build your practice.

We have another previous show where we went over the fear of, in a discussing informed consent. Informed consent is my favorite business building tool. So there’s a lot of overlap here between keeping yourself safe and making sure your business is going to continue to grow. Thrive. I appreciate you all listening today.

If you have more questions, always feel free to reach out to me at aac and don’t forget to tune in next week. We’re gonna have, of course, another episode of To The Point. So thank you so much and see you then.

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Top 3 Things to Never Say When Networking



Today we’re going to be diving into one of my favorite topics because it’s the most heavily asked thing that people come to me about is networking.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

I am Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. Let’s go to the slides. Today we’re going to be diving into one of my favorite topics because it’s the most heavily asked thing that people come to me about is networking. And we’re gonna go specifically over things that you do not want to say when you’re networking.

Things that could be damaging could prevent you from accomplishing what you wanna accomplish when you’re either . Networking with other providers, trying to get referrals, trying to build more people in your community. And so we wanna make sure that we’re not doing these three things that we’re gonna go over today to get the most value out of that experience.

First, let’s just address something real quick. Why do we get this wrong? Those harsh truths when it comes to why are we saying potentially the wrong things when we’re engaging in something like networking? First of all, we’re human, so let’s acknowledge that we’re not gonna get things right every single time.

But a lot of times when it comes to networking in general, the issue is we’re so focused on our needs and not about providing value for the person that we’re talking to. So we can be selfish by nature. A lot of times when people think about going to a networking event, they’re thinking, oh I’m going here so I can get more patients or, so I can find more referrals or, so I can meet somebody who’s gonna be part of my care team.

. A lot of times we’re focused on, yeah, what is the bottom line for us, rather than what is the value that we can provide? And then of course there’s a fear component, right? Again, that goes back to we’re all human. Fear of, I don’t know exactly what to say if I’m too forthcoming with why I’m going to this networking event, how is that gonna come off?

Am I ? Going to feel confident enough to accomplish my goals when it comes to talking to complete strangers, that’s not an easy thing to do by any means, and it’s something that does require a little bit of practice. So what I wanted to do with this presentation really nice and quick today and value driven is just go over.

The commonly heard things that don’t provide a lot of value for people. The biggest one that I hear, and I’m gonna put it first, is people say, I want to pick your brain. This is one of the most. Common things that will come out of somebody’s mouth when they go to an event. When they call up somebody as a follow-up.

I get this all the time, people I know a lot or don’t know very well. Now granted, if you know somebody really well, you have an established relationship with them. Let’s say you’re a former student of mine that I’ve met several times, I don’t mind someone saying, I wanna pick your brain. The mistake that gets made however, is, we are excited to meet someone.

We admire that person. We feel like they would provide a lot of value for us, and then we shoot them an email to try to set up a meeting and we say, I wanna pick your brain. The reason that this is problematic is, First of all, there’s an assumption here that person values their ego more than their time, right?

So you’re telling them, oh, they have something to offer, and just assuming that they’re gonna give up their time in order to share that with you. So it’s not a value driven statement to make. So we wanna do something else. We wanna shift the focus so it’s more value driven for them, something that we can provide, something that we wanna share.

Being more specific about what we wanna talk about, saying to them. You know that they’re the person who could answer X question for you and you’re going to do X, Y, and Z. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be transactional. Really, though, we just wanna make sure that we’re providing value anytime we speak to somebody.

And so you never wanna say to a perfect stranger, oh hey, I wanna pick your brain, and just assume that they’re going to be able to make time for that or want to make time for that. The second thing that I hear a lot is whenever you have time, This goes a little bit into that third piece, that fear component that someone would say no to us.

Not wanna hop on a call with us, not wanna have a follow-up conversation to one that we had when we are unspecific like this and say whenever you have time Everybody feels like they’re busy and they don’t have time. So we wanna shift this a little bit to say when you can make time, when it’s convenient for you give them specific times in the next week or so.

I’m available Tuesday through Thursday at these times. People do need guidance and you wanna make this process as . Easy for someone as possible. So if I get an email from someone and they say, Hey, I wanna pick your brain whenever you have time. To me that ends up being a lower value email. It’s one of the last things I’m gonna get back to because I have all of these more specific requests from people.

I think generally people do wanna help. They do wanna engage, they want to cultivate community and cultivate relationships. But it can be really difficult in the society that we live in the day and age that we live in where people are generally very busy and they need a little bit more specificity and a little more guidance as to what that ask is.

And this one I put in very specific for our industry because as much as . I love the acupuncture community. I love our profession. We have a tendency to engage in medical jargon. And when I say medical jargon, part of that tradition that we hold so dear in our medicine, things like. Chi Blood Yin.

We’re so eager to talk about how we can help people. We’re so eager to educate about how incredible and effective our medicine is that sometimes we tend to. Overwhelm people with information and overwhelm people with information that is not particularly valuable to them or relevant to them at face value.

So if I’m someone who’s never heard of this medicine before and you’re talking to me about chi or blood, I might have an idea of what I think blood is. And that’s very different than what we mean about blood from a clinical perspective. So when we’re trying to . Cultivate a relationship with someone or provide value to someone.

We wanna make sure that we’re meeting them where they’re at. So if someone is a very busy, stressed out business person and we’re talking about how we can provide them value rather than talking about cheese stagnation that they may be having, we wanna talk about stress relief better sleep, things that are gonna be a little bit more relatable to them.

So at the end of the day, the things we wanna remember, ’cause we’re going back to the don’ts. Why we don’t do this right all the time. Yes, we’re all human. So that is the truth. Whether, we’re saying something like, I wanna pick your brain. Just think if you would wanna hear something like that.

Or whenever you have time. . Not specific enough for me or the person that I’m talking to. So you wanna remember that? Yes, we’re all human, but you wanna first and foremost focus on the needs of the person that you’re trying to reach, that you want to take time out of their day to have a conversation with you, to network with you, to build a relationship with you and.

Let’s get rid of the fears because if you are coming from a good wholehearted place, if you’re coming from a place of wanting to provide value, there is never any reason to fear that connection with someone, that conversation, or that desire to build your network. So again, I told you it was gonna be nice and quick and value driven.

If you have any questions for me, you can always reach out. I’m at the American Acupuncture Council and be sure to tune in next week for another episode of To the Point. .


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3 Things to Keep Your Practice on Track



Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. I’m Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council. Thanks everybody for being here, and let’s go to the slides today. We are going to go over . Three really simple, effective, very quick things that you can be doing to keep your practice on track. Played with the title a little bit of this because I wanted to tell you they can be done in less than five minutes.

So I think we go through a lot of misconceptions when we’re running a business. It’s hard to stay on track with things we think that. We have to analyze everything that we have to, have this whole system in place that’s gonna take us way too long, every day. And so what ends up happening is we end up having reasons that are silly, that we don’t keep our practice on track.

And it doesn’t have to be that complicated. But the reasons we’re not doing this, it really is that paralysis by analysis. We don’t know what we need to look at. We’re looking at too many things, trying to make this way too complicated of a. Or we’re not prioritizing. One of my coaches once told me that if you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any priorities.

So we have a hard time narrowing that down sometimes, and sometimes there’s a very real reality to this of capacity. So we’re focused on our day to day. Sole proprietor, small corporation, trying to make sure that the absolute necessities get done in our business. And so if we’re not focused on some of these just anchor practices that don’t take us very long, but can be really helpful, really effective for staying on track with growth, we don’t get to the point where we can enjoy scaling or enjoy taking some admin off of our plate.

And so today we’re looking at three really simple things that you can do. They take less than five minutes each, so we’re looking at less than 15 minutes a day to make sure that we stay on track with this. So the first one is highs and lows. Sometimes you may have heard this referred to as roses and thorns of your day.

Pros and cons of your day. You can take less than five minutes a day, and sometimes you’re gonna have to search for something because we have a tendency to overgeneralize when it comes to our day or when it comes to themes that we had throughout the day in our practice with patients. So we might say, oh, it was a really challenging day, or, wow, I killed it today.

But to really drill. Scroll down into that in a short period of time and just say what was really one high of the day and one low of the day. And that’s going to allow us to then take data from that and say, all right, if my high from the day was I stayed on track with timing, then we can look at what things did I do differently?

To stay on track with timing that made that really successful, or if the lowest today was like I was always running behind. Are there ways that we could have accountability in that and could tweak that a little bit? So it can be something just as simple as what’s one really positive one area of improvement that we can make, but just a quick check-in with that on your highs and lows every single day that you’re practicing.

And then you can implement this weekly as well, right? You’re gonna create two lists as your second thing so fine. Two can have an A and a B. So maybe this ends up being four things total, but you’re gonna have two lists that are gonna help keep you really on track. And this says, who owes me and who I owe.

This is not favors or anything like that. This is your task list. Things that you said you would get to people. Maybe it’s a list of therapeutic exercises that you were supposed to get to a patient. Maybe it’s that a patient was supposed to send you lab work and they didn’t, so you’re gonna have two running lists at all times.

That’s going to be who owes me something that I need to check in with, and who do I owe something to? And so this keeps you accountable every single day for that quick check-in. And with the who owes me something that could be as simple as shooting something through your patient portal. Oh, I wanted to check in, make sure nothing fell through the cracks on this end, because I’m seeing that your labs didn’t come through.

That quick check-in with a patient does so much. It allows them to know that you’re thinking about them, that they’re still a priority in your mind, even though they’re not in the office at that moment. That can have a huge ripple effect. Just that quick check-in and it helps you keep on track because you were probably needing to do something.

When you get that, who owes me something? The who I owe. Same thing. Go through your list and what can you knock out at end of day or first thing in the morning, however you choose to implement these three things throughout your day, whether it’s at the very beginning or at close of day. I like doing both.

You’ll get to that point taking that five minutes on either side, but this helps you have that running list so you know really what your priorities are for the day. And you can look in order of magnitude, who do I need to reach out to first? Who’s owed a status update from me? Who do I need to send things to?

This really helps you stay on track and allows things to not fall through the cracks. And the last thing is one person to outreach to. And I wanna challenge you to make this a different person from someone who was on those two previous lists. So if it’s someone that you were owing something to, or they were owing something to you, I want you to try to think outside of that.

I want you to try to think about someone who you can add value to, someone who could be a good . person to add to your care plan for a patient, another provider that you wanna keep in better contact with a colleague that you could send a quick article to. So again, thinking about it in these five minute brackets, one person you’re gonna outreach to help in that day.

And that might be by sending them content. It might be just checking in with them and see how they’re doing. . It might be, you can have a running list for this too. One of my leadership instructors calls it a drip list. So people that you wanna continuously keep in contact with and make sure that you stay updated with them.

So really, those are the three things that are going to, in less than 15 minutes a day, allow you to stay on track. It’s nothing complicated whatsoever, and it’s simply. What are my highs and lows for the day? Not thinking in general terms. Get really specific with this, and then you can take action items from that for improvement or things that you wanna keep doing because they’re going really well.

The second thing, being those two lists, who do I need to get things to and who needs to get things to me? And make sure that we’re constantly working those lists every day. So things. Don’t fall through the cracks. And that last thing being who am I adding value to today? Who am I staying in contact with today?

Who am I continuously cultivating a relationship with? And pick that one person to outreach to that is not gonna fall into one of those other lists that you needed to keep track of those three things. Help you stay on track in less than 15 minutes a day If you have further questions. You all know I love efficiency hacks, simple and effective ways to keep practice on track.

I hope this has been enjoyable for you. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at a c and don’t forget to tune in next week for another episode of To the Point. .


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The Do’s and Don’ts of House Calls



We’re gonna be talking about house calls, do’s and don’ts bringing this straight from my private practice, my extensive experience with house calls, and also other practitioners that I’ve worked with as well.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of To The Point. I am Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council. So excited to have you here. We’re gonna be talking about house calls, do’s and don’ts bringing this straight from my private practice, my extensive experience with house calls, and also other practitioners that I’ve worked with as well.

So let’s go to the slides.

So when we think about house calls there’s a few misconceptions that come up and things that we wanna address straight out the gate. And I first wanna tell you a little bit about my experience with house calls in general. I built my practice treating primarily post-surgical patients. So house calls or being on location were really a necessity for the patient demographic that I was working with.

And as my practice continued to build and as I continued to network directly with surgeons and gain referrals directly from. Surgical practices it really grew and grew. And so then when Covid happened a few different things shifted, and I started looking at, all right, how are we gonna continue to build our business?

How do we safely continue to treat patients? Things had shifted quite a bit and started looking at the numbers. Because my lease in Beverly Hills was up for renewal. And a lot of you who have brick and mortars, you’ve looked at medical leases, sometimes they’re a little bit longer trying to make these really big decisions around what to do next when it comes to your practice.

And when we looked at the numbers, we realized that over 80% of our revenue was from house calls. And granted, this was definitely a situation where it was very much based on our business model, treating post-surgical patients, but at the same time, house calls can be incorporated into most practices.

We are gonna go through these misconceptions, but also just know. Having primarily house call patients is not for every practice. Some people are gonna do this about 20% of the time, 10% of the time, and we’ll go through some of those different options. But first, let’s talk about the misconceptions.

There is an idea that house calls are not safe. That they’re not cost effective. You’re gonna be leaving your office and running over to a patient’s house or that they can be cumbersome. You’re lugging equipment, you’re not able to do everything that you would normally do in office, and there is some truth.

To actually all three of these. And so they’re really good and bad ways right and wrong ways. And then with the little bit of ambiguity that’s gonna be around what your business model is what area you’re in. So is it really feasible to be running back and forth? How does that work? So we’re gonna center this around these three different areas and look at some good do’s and don’ts for each one so that.

These misconceptions are not your reality if you wanna do house calls in your practice. So first, let’s look at the safety issue. We have personal safety and then we have the professional or practice safety, thinking about things like malpractice issues, but what we’re thinking first and foremost about our own personal safety.

We’re talking about going to a person’s home, right? So someone that maybe you don’t know very well. Or maybe you’ve seen an office once before who was a referral or maybe even a cold call, and that can be a little intimidating and that can certainly be an unsafe situation. So are there certain safeguards that we can put in place to stay HIPAA compliant in this situation?

But also allow ourselves to be able to safely navigate into someone’s home. And some of that will have some overlap with talking about logistics at the end and how we safeguard some of those safety issues. But first and foremost, we wanna just acknowledge that this is a different environment.

It’s not exactly the same thing as when you’re in the comfort of your office, the comfort of your practice. You don’t get to have everything set up exactly how you want to, you’re not gonna have cabinets at. Someone’s home probably have things at an arm’s reach. So we’re really thinking about what things are we going to bring with us so that we can keep safety paramount.

What we wear to a house call is particularly impactful in this case. So if we were in office and we like to dress. Business casual. Or we like to wear business casual with a lab coat. Might be easier to wear scrubs. I had always worn scrubs for house calls, and then when I was in office I was a little bit more dressed.

And then during C O V I D I was wearing scrubs the entire time for both in-office. And on location. So that’s something to think about, like what you’re physically wearing to someone’s home. Also what are you bringing with you and how far are you traveling safety-wise? So I do house calls where I have to get on a plane and fly to patients.

Now, because I’m between a few different states where I’m licensed. And so when I do that, you’re thinking, okay, safety-wise, like what am I bringing on a flight with me? There are certain things that you might take locally that you’re not gonna be able to safely carry on an airplane. I will tell you I have never had an issue with acupuncture needles, microneedling devices even eim units on a flight for a carry-on.

So just as an aside for those of you who are thinking about doing that but we wanna think about like things like batteries, like being safe when we do that and going to someone’s home I will tell you from my practice, we don’t do just. Direct cold calls. We are primarily referral based, so when a patient calls, they’ve been referred directly from a surgeon.

And this can be a really safe way to do this process because you at least know the referral source. Someone who is Requesting that this person see you, this person is like, Hey, my friend or my doctor told me that I should come to your practice and that you do house calls. So I know providers who don’t even advertise online that they do house calls.

They have their regular practice structure, and they do the house calls on an as needed basis for us, because we were primarily referral based, it was really easy. We always involved the surgeon in that care and in that visit, so that patient knew that someone was going to be reported back to, they were signing paperwork that said, Hey, my information can be shared with my surgeon.

And so we were saying, Hey, like we’re gonna let your doctor know when we’re on the way to your house and let them know how that went. So at least then they know there’s another party involved in that and that gives you a little bit more of that safety. When I was doing this on my own as a sole proprietor and I didn’t have an office staff I was still very referral based, so there was still that communication, but I would always let someone know that, Hey, I’m going to a house call and I would listen.

Someone know Hey, I’m done with that house call, and that doesn’t mean I need to share the patient information. All of that information would be in my E H R, which is HIPAA compliant. But just to be able to let another party know that’s that was happening and that makes you feel a little bit safer.

When we talk about cost I will tell you industry standard from practitioners I’ve worked with and talked two throughout the industry is just doubling the cost of your in-office visit from a cash perspective. I would say that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to cost.

However, you really have to think about where you are and what it’s going to take for you to get to that patient. For example, me being in Los Angeles, it takes a lot to leave a practice, get in a car. Drive somewhere. It’s very different if you’re in a more accessible city that maybe has public transit or that allows you to pop in and out of the office or, maybe you have a very densely populated area where you’re treating people in super local confined area so you’re not traveling that much.

That’s gonna be different time taken out of your office. So you have to consider when you’re constructing your costs, okay, how is this really gonna work? If I’m normally running three rooms at a time, what am I actually losing by walking out of my practice, the time that is spent away? How many patient visits is that truly?

And as long as you are in compliance with ADA and like people can easily access your office. It’s fine to give people a choice. I would keep my pricing exactly the same for in-office and going to location, and I would charge separately for a travel rate, and that was a way that I was able to safeguard to just.

Be able to say to people, Hey, you’re welcome to come into my practice if you would like me to come to you. This is the travel fee. And so that way you’re keeping your fees the same. And so it’s really a conversation about your time and the money that’s spent with that. So that’s one option and one way to go about it.

But the most important thing when you’re considering cost is what does it cost me to leave? And does that make sense? It might not make sense for your business model when you are looking at. What that is going to cost you leaving your office and going to someone’s home. And then the last thing is logistics.

And the reason that I say this has a big overlap with safety is because look at the picture that we have here, cupping, right? When I do house calls, I don’t do fire cupping. I just don’t I love doing fire cupping in office, but I use suction cups when I go to someone’s home. They are easier to transport.

There’s less of a safety issue there. Logistically it’s a little bit easier to navigate one simple suction cup and maybe an oil or ment rather than having to worry about. Am I going to have a tray accessible? Am I going to be able to deal with fire in this person’s home? Are they going to feel safe?

When it comes to that? We wanna think about things like linens. Really, when you’re thinking about the logistics, you wanna think about that entire experience. What is that gonna look like from you getting in your vehicle or getting in the transportation that it’s going to require? Are you lugging a treatment table?

We’ve. Purchase treatment tables for patients before, when we have a post-surgical patient who’s committing to say 24 visits after a surgery, that is not a big deal for us to then have a treatment table to keep at their home so that our providers are not then lugging that treatment table every single time.

And it’s something that’s a huge value add for patients usually that they really appreciate as. Part of something that is going to make life easier for you but be a value add for them. So it’s set up, it’s easy when you get there. You wanna think about things like sheets. I used to always bring linens to house calls.

And then when C D happened and people were a lot more careful, we started having patients providing their own linen for treatment tables. And it’s about the way you frame that, you frame it, that it’s for their comfort, their safety they know it’s not being reused. They don’t have to trust that you’re washing it properly or disposing of things and reusing, or not reusing.

There’s no guesswork involved there. So that’s another thing that can be done. But really, if you’re thinking about that process from start to finish, how do we make this logistically sound? I like to expect the unexpected anything that has come up in a previous house caller that we could anticipate we do.

So everything from knowing what the gate code is. Do you prefer the provider to stay with you next to the treatment table or would you like them to wait, outside? Do you allow shoes in your home? Cuz you have to think about that from a clean needle technique perspective. Not wanting to walk around completely barefoot.

Things like that. Is there, are there gonna be pets there? If you’re having yourself or a provider go to a home and you’re allergic to dogs or cats, that’s probably something that you wanna be aware of. Some people are very, free with their animals. They let them jump around. You wouldn’t want that to be, become a safety issue, and it’s something to anticipate logistically on the front end that makes that process a lot more simple.

So obviously if it’s just. You can ask a lot of these questions on the front end. It gets even more critical to be clear about these logistics when you have other providers that you’re employing going to someone’s home. So knowing all of those variables upfront can be really impactful and just make for a very simple experience, even knowing if someone, let’s say a post-surgical patient.

I’ve had post-surgical patients that can’t get out of bed, or they’re in a hospital type bed at their home, so there’s no reason to bring a treatment table. Knowing those things on the front end not only help you deliver a better patient experience, but it makes the patient so much more comfortable with what that is going to look like, and it helps manage those expectations.

So as we briefly recap these are the three things you really wanna be thinking about when it comes to house calls. First and foremost, it’s always gonna be safety, your personal safety your professional safety. Protecting yourself against anything that could potentially happen. You wanna think about costs.

Does this logistically make sense as well? Is it cost effective for me to be leaving my business to be doing house calls? And then the logistics of not only that actual house call, but how are you setting that up? How are you framing that? How are you going to fit that in logistically to the way that you practice even considering things like scheduling?

Do you want to. Devote, certain hours of the day to house calls, which is something I used to do. So that you aren’t bouncing back and forth oh, my Monday afternoons and my Thursday afternoons are going to be my house call days. So logistically, how do we make this a sound process? So if you keep those three things in mind, and of course come from a personalized perspective like we do with anything in this medicine looking at your individual practice and how this makes sense for you.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have more questions about this. I love looking at the safety aspects. Obviously working with American Acupuncture Council safety and that protection is paramount in my mind. But really how could you make this work from a business perspective?

So thank you so much for your time. And don’t forget next week to tune in for another episode of, To The Point.