Four Steps to Growing Your Practice With Laser

posted by Curtis Turchin, MA, DC on Friday, November 14, 2014

Laser therapy is a rapidly growing field that is seeing numerous benefits to patients and clinicians who want an effective, non-drug treatment for pain, inflammation and rapid healing.

Considering adding laser therapy to your practice? Medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, dentists and veterinarians are just a few examples of the health care practitioners for whom laser therapy could offer a rewarding adjunct to their current practice. Consider these four primary steps to help ensure your clinical success and practice growth:

1) Choose the right laser for your practice. When it comes to laser therapy devices, several options exist. First are high-powered “hot” lasers, which generate between 5,000 and 10,000 mW of power and can help reduce pain in large areas of the body, such as the low back, neck, legs and arms; however a potential side effect of these devices is mild to serious aggravation of the same symptoms you’re working to treat. On the other hand, very low power lasers are extremely safe, but may not be as effective at reducing pain. Desktop, portable and handheld models are available, and for laser acupuncture—such as for small joints—clinicians also need to invest in a small probe for their existing device.

One option that helps bridge the gap and provides the most flexibility to the practitioner is the low-level laser. These “cold” lasers, such as the Apollo line, offer 5,000 mW of class IV power—equivalent to the power of hot lasers—yet are safe and effective. The Apollo laser system also offers a number of different-sized probes for treating large to small areas of the body.

2) Learn how to properly use your laser. Lasers are very easy to use, but the rapid growth in this field may mean that some clinicians learn only some of the capabilities of this device. Once you decide your tool of choice, leverage its full capacity by taking advantage of a wide range of books, DVDS and seminars/webinars to help educate the clinician. For example, many device companies, such as Apollo lasers, offer educational classes and support as part of your purchase of their device. The North American Association for Light Therapy and the World Association for Light Therapy are other good resources.

  Whatever resource you choose, make sure you learn:

  • The ins and outs of your device.
  • Proper dosage. There have been cases of patients who have been injured by laser therapy, such as burns from overuse of “hot” lasers. Also, many patients have tried laser therapy and have been unsatisfied with the treatment because the dose was insufficient. Make sure you understand how not to do too much and how to do enough, and the proper dosage for each particular syndrome.
  • Where to treat. For example, a patient presents with lower-back pain that radiates down the leg. Do you treat the leg or the back? There are some complex paradigms in terms of treatment that are important to know and understand.
  • How long to treat. Learn how to sequence treatment, how often you should treat, and what you should expect to see from treatment.

3) Market both internally and externally. Once you have established good clinical skills in laser therapy, the next step is to market these skills. Start by marketing internally: Educate your existing patient base about laser therapy and its many benefits. Get them excited about this new product, and they will become your best advocates, spreading the word to their family and friends.

External marketing can include print, radio or TV advertising; digital advertising on websites or via e-newsletters; social media such as Facebook or Twitter; and community education, such as demonstrations of laser therapy at local health fairs or organized talks open to the general public.

Whatever avenue you choose, make sure it is a tactic that fits your skills and talents. For example, a health care practitioner who is a dynamic public speaker may want to schedule community meet and greets or radio interviews, while another who is a good writer and creative thinker may want to send out e-newsletters and print ads. Others may have the financial ability to hire outside help with their marketing. Whatever your unique advantage is, develop it.

4) Evaluate your marketing. Albert Einstein is widely credited for stating that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If your chosen marketing tactics aren’t working, reevaluate. The rule of threes is helpful—in essence, trying a certain tactic at least three times—to determine what direction you’re trending in. If you’re finding that your time or return on investment isn’t worth it, make a change and try something else. And once you find something that works, stick to it until it stops working.

As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Little strokes fell great oaks.” When you’re building any business, you’re making hundreds of little decisions every day. I find that practice growth and success relies on three things: good clinical skills, good managerial skills and good promotional skills. There’s really no magic to it. If you keep on doing the right things, eventually you will be successful.


About Author

Dr. Curtis Turchin, MA, DC is an internationally known expert in the field of laser therapy for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. He has used laser treatment for nearly 30 years and serves as director of clinical sciences for Apollo Lasers.

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