Get ready for the economic boom – patients desperately craving practitioner care and attention
By Dr. Elias Markou, ND
By Dr. Elias Markou, ND
The other day I had a favorite client of ours reach out and asked if we were still open during the pandemic. I’d stressed to them that we’ve been open since June 12, 2020 and we had continued seeing patients through the pandemic lockdown. They were excited to hear that we were open and stressed to me that they had not received any treatments over the last year and we’re excited to come and join us for their first treatment in a long time at the clinic. This got me thinking, if this client was one who hadn’t received a treatment in the last year and was very excited to come to resume treatment, then how many more patients were out there waiting to come back?
So this posed a very interesting question for me, when the pandemic is over and we’ve reached vaccination herd immunity and all of the businesses are finally open, what will this mean for clinics across Canada who offer alternative medicine like naturopathic care, chiropractic, massage, osteopathy and any other alternative care? An interesting idea jumped into my mind: There is a large cohort of patients out there who are desperately craving practitioner care and attention which they have not received for a year. This got me to conclude that health clinics across Canada should get ready for an economic boom in 2022 that we have not seen for many years. We will see patients flocking to clinics in droves looking for care, hands-on care, from health professionals in the alternative health care space.
Conventional medicine stepped back
It is no secret that during the pandemic the medical profession stepped back from treating their patients. They only took medical emergency appointments. Many of our clients told us that it was tough to get an appointment with their medical doctor, often they had limited zoom calls for their clients. Many medical doctors would not have in-person visits happening at their clinics,and it was recommended that patients go to ER when issues arose. We know that the hospital system was dealing with many COVID patients who were reporting there with breathing complications. Doctors at hospitals were overwhelmed with patients with emergency issues like cardiovascular episodes, cancer and with COVID. The biggest issues we heard were patients were asked by government to stay home. Many of those patients interpreted that request as meaning stay home, unless they has something very serious. Routine blood lab visits became confusing and complicated for patients – they had to book visits online weeks before their blood draws. Nowhere in the medical conventional system could you just show up anymore for a visit. This created a lot of anxiety in patients when they could not address their health concerns. We observed during this time that patient visits and patient numbers did increase significantly.
If my observation and hypothesis is correct, we should be seeing an influx of patients looking for care in the coming months and years. Patients will be looking for regular massages, monthly osteopathic visits, alternative blood work recommended by naturopathic doctors, chiropractic doctors helping people get back on track as they resume regular activity dealing with their aches and pains. What’s interesting is that many clinics have pivoted and gone online. The future of online practice will be short-lived. Patients will be looking for hands-on care and not ZOOM health care. For those clinics that have survived the pandemic lockdown, patients will be seeking clinics that treat in person – they want acupuncture, hands on massage care, a chiropractor that will adjust. I predict that clinics will be seeing new patient loads, old patients that require care, and many new patients that are looking towards natural alternative medicine to help them with their medical needs. All in all there will be a dramatic uptick in patient numbers in many clinics across Canada.
Get ready for the boom
I encourage you all in the next few months leading up to the end of 2021 to sit down and evaluate your marketing plan, the systems you have in place, and the staff and professionals that are ready to deliver care. As soon as we return back to normalcy post pandemic, we should be ready for the economic boom. I see these as exciting times, our professions will be under the microscope, our alternative professionals will be asked to do a lot from the public as we move forward. So it is imperative we have all of our systems in place. We should be prepared to tackle every patient and their needs post pandemic. Get ready for the boom!
This article was originally published in the Oct-Nov edition of Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor
DR. ELIAS MARKOU, RHN, R.ACU, ND is one very busy naturopathic doctor. He is in private practice in Mississauga, Ontario and is the clinic director of pureBalance Wellness. Dr. Markou (ND) has been a naturopathic doctor for 18 years and has conducted over 100,000 patient visits during this period. Dr. Markou is a writer and blogger who is regularly featured in the media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org