Dr. Wayne Smith owns a small chiropractic practice in Pasco, Washington.
“I began practicing with another doctor in the beginning of ’93, and bought his practice in February of ’94. When we first bought the practice things dropped off immediately, partly because of some outside influences. Medicare made some changes in the way it was paying and that scared some patients – they stopped coming in. Also, just because of the change in doctors at the practice things dropped off considerably at the very beginning. So we began to do some things to try to repair that, get our name out there and so on. We were somewhat successful. We grew back up to where the practice was when we bought it and then beyond that. We were doing pretty well for a while. In ’96 though, it began to slip some. We weren’t seeing any further growth. We were beginning to trail off a bit. Overall production, patient visits, and new patients dropped off.
“I became a Sterling client in May of ’96. There were a number of things that prompted me to go with Sterling. My practice was not growing like I thought it should. In spite of the fact that I wasn’t seeing as many patients as I should be seeing, I had no time. I was interested in finding someone to help me to have more time, and at the same time grow my practice so that the survival of the practice didn’t need to be a constant worry. We weren’t starving; we weren’t in any kind of financial crunch; we were in no danger of failing. But we weren’t growing like we wanted to and we felt that the practice was running us instead of us running the practice.
“The staff consisted of myself, my wife (who is the office manager) and two other staff. There wasn’t any personal conflict but there were misunderstandings; there were a lot of times when things would come up that should have been done that didn’t get done. We now understand that the reason they didn’t get done is that no one was assigned to do them. We had everybody doing everything! Everybody just thought somebody else would take care of it. We really didn’t have job descriptions. If something needed to be done, somebody would do it, hopefully. Very haphazard. We just hadn’t had any training in how to do these things so we were simply doing the best we could. We had good people who wanted to do well and wanted the practice to succeed, but frankly they weren’t getting the proper leadership.
“When we got back from Sterling we began to see a steady rise for about six months.
“Then in the next six months our average collections jumped nearly $5,000 a month.
“During this last year we began to do an even better job of applying the Hubbard management technology and we’ve seen big increases in production and new patients. Things really took off after I took all the staff to a Sterling workshop in July of ’97. Since then, we’ve had several all-time highs in all of our key areas. Two or three months in a row we would have highest-ever statistics! Since we began with Sterling, we’ve roughly doubled.
“I still have a lot of growing to do. But that’s the thing with learning. When you begin to learn the things you should be doing, you learn more and more things that could be done better. So it is a growth process. We’ve come a long way. We are much more efficient. We’re twice as busy as we were! We’re gaining ground.
“In March my accountant called and said, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is you made a lot more money than we expected that you would this year.’ So we had to pay some taxes. But our personal income from the practice was up by about $60,000. So, that took the sting out of paying the taxes.
“There are still only four of us in the practice. We’ve replaced one person. Using the tests outlined in the Hubbard management technology, we interviewed a lot of people. Most of them weren’t quite suitable and we stuck it out until we found an excellent receptionist. You want to do those things very quickly, but we held out and found the right person, and she has worked out very well. That was great!
“The biggest thing we needed was a job description (hat) for the receptionist/appointment setter. Those were ones that Sterling had available off-the-shelf and we basically followed their guidelines on those. So we trained the staff from the beginning on those procedures and pretty much follow that, which has been very helpful.
“We went to another of Sterling’s weekend workshops this January. Since then we’ve had more all-time highs. We learned how to be more efficient, how to communicate better and got our energy even more focused. Those workshops have been very helpful for us.
“We’ve had great success and frankly we’re not doing everything we could be doing, which I think is really exciting! As we follow the technology more and more we have abundant room to grow. We’ve achieved great things with our consultant’s guidance and we’ve managed to have good success and concentrate on those things that were most important to us, one at a time. “One of our goals is to have my wife assume a very limited role at the practice. She still wants to be involved, but just doing bookkeeping and payroll, so we’ll have somebody else take over the office manager position. We would like for her to have more free time and we’ve made some inroads on that. She’s getting a regular day off during the week now, sometimes more, and it used to be she didn’t have any time off at all.
“Sterling is something that for us is very worthwhile. I’ve recommended Sterling to colleagues, my accountant and others, and I just tell them that our practice has increased a great deal as far as income and the number of people that we can help and the excitement that is going on here. We are working in better harmony with our staff and have fewer headaches. It is well worth the time and expense we’ve put into it. It certainly pays for itself. I’m convinced that we’ve seen an increase in our income directly due to the technology that has far outweighed the cost of doing it. I continue to buy more consulting hours as time goes on because it is making a difference for us. I wouldn’t do that if I weren’t sure!
“I’ve never run into anything in the Hubbard management technology that I didn’t think was right on. I find that for any dilemma that has come up, there’s already a solution that’s been thought out and tried and tested and is available for me to use.”