A Canadian Chiropractic Master – Interview with Dr. Allen Turner
By Dr. Roger Turner DCFeatures Leadership Profession
Sept. 10, 2009 – Dr. Allen Turner is from Stouffville, Ont., and has
one of the top five practices in Canada. He is a pioneer in the
correction of learning disabilities who is now doing non-surgical
spinal decompression and achieving amazing results with disc problems.
Sept. 10, 2009 – Dr. Allen Turner is from Stouffville, Ontario and has one of the top five practices in Canada. He is a pioneer in the correction of learning disabilities who is now doing non-surgical spinal decompression and achieving amazing results with disc problems. He was One of the first to utilize the open concept, using six adjusting tables in one room and he is, furthermore, a polished and sought after public speaker.
“It was either become a chiropractor or a musician,” says Turner. “I am thankful I chose chiropractic. What I enjoy most in my 25 years of practice is being able to help people get healthy and then watching their lives change.”
Dr. Turner’s tips for successful practice
“A good exam and having excellent diagnostic skills has helped us to maintain an optimal practice” says Turner. “The complaints that I hear the most from patients of other doctors is that they feel they weren’t thoroughly examined, that the doctor didn’t really understand what was wrong with them – or that it was not explained properly.”
"In the beginning, I didn’t communicate well either. I have continuously worked on improving my communication skills to educate the patients so they are happy to refer others."
"I’ve also tried to maintain an open mind for new approaches, in practice. Things that worked back in the eighties, didn’t work in the nineties. They’re certainly not working now, especially in the areas of marketing and educating patients. Adapting with the times is essential."
"Motivation has to come from within," Turner continues, "so I am constantly learning and associating with the doctors that are doing well. Young doctors with new ideas. It motivates me to learn new things, new techniques and ways of marketing and promoting the practice."
Adding non-surgical spinal decompression to my practice
"We’ve become involved with spinal decompression," says Turner, "which has added a whole new dimension to the practice. We’re able to help people with severely degenerated discs that were scheduled for surgery. We could only offer pain management before spinal decompression, hoping the problem wouldn’t get worse. Now we’re seeing people with the worst of the worst spines find relief from pain and lead normal lives. That’s exciting!"
"Most people fall asleep on the spinal decompression table. Research has been done through fluoroscopy that proves that the unit does decompress the disc. The pressure inside a disc is measured pre and post decompression and it is seen to drop significantly. This allows the fluid, nutrients and oxygen to be drawn back into the disc, facilitating healing."
"In discs that are severely bulging and herniated, the disc material is sucked back into the disc and this takes the pressure off the nerves."
"Frank Nobilo, who’s a very famous golfer on the Golf Channel, had to quit playing golf because he was suffering from disc herniation to that point that his vertebrae were bone-on-one in his spine and he could hardly walk. It was through spinal decompression that he now has a disc visible on his recent MRI and he was able to go back on the tour after having retired for several years."
Learning how to express myself to the public
Dr. Turner notes, “I recognized that I had to be able to get out and meet and greet people in order to build a practice. I had to learn public speaking. That’s been exciting and a challenge. But now, I’ve developed a certain skill at it, and don’t have any reservations about speaking in front of a group of people and presenting the message of chiropractic. We do a lot of talks in, and outside of, the office. That’s one of the main ways we have built and maintained the practice."
In the beginning, I certainly wasn’t comfortable appearing on television or getting in front of an audience. Even doing a health class was a little nerve-wracking at first. I enjoy it now and am not nervous. And, the health care classes have worked well for us."
Why my staff is motivated
"When I first hired my Public Relations secretary," recalls Dr. Turner, "I was concerned about keeping her busy. Now, she has to farm out a lot of her duties. She started out just on a part-time basis, and now she’s more than full-time. She’s instrumental in getting all the talks, radio and TV spots organized. She is really good at making the contacts and setting the dates. Today, we did a TV commercial. She organized it and got the people there that needed to be there. Now, I just show up."
"Why is she so busy and so good at what she does?"
"She was a patient of ours who did very well with her treatments. She had severe chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. We helped her get her life back. That is why she’s so good at the job, she believes in it. She’s very enthusiastic about recommending what I do and is one of our biggest advocates and supporters. She has a very bubbly personality: friendly and outgoing. That’s really important. She’s the first person to contact the TV and radio people and get her foot in the door. This is certainly a really big asset."
It’s very difficult to run a busy practice and be concerned about booking events and all the details. To keep growing, you have to delegate. Frankly, she does a much better job at it than I could ever do, because that’s what her focus is.
Continuing Education is Key!
"Learning new things has always helped me,” says Turner. “Attending new seminars, exploring new ideas, and hanging around the doctors that are doing well no matter what the economy is doing or what’s going on with OHIP or other issues. There are always doctors that do extremely well even in the most difficult of times.”
“There have been seminars that have provided the answers that I was looking for. That’s why I continue to go to seminars and continue to learn new techniques. I don’t just go to practice motivation seminars. Certainly, those are important. Some have the passion and enthusiasm and philosophy, especially for the new grad because you don’t get that in school. You have to learn what it takes to be a successful doctor after you graduate."
Creating a Successful Practice
"The trick is to find those doctors who are successful and figure out what they’re doing. I realized very quickly that the doctors who are doing well are practicing corrective care. They aren’t just treating pain and symptoms; they are actually making corrections in the spine or the skull. They’re demonstrating to the patients that the corrections are being made so that they can see the changes and the excellent results."
"These doctors have learned to market themselves, are constantly promoting and always have something going on. They have a marketing calendar, with something going on every month. We have events planned for the next year. We’re constantly adding new things to our marketing calendar."
"The challenge for the new grad is to find the doctors that are doing well, learn what they’re doing, and copy them. Because, if they can do it, then there is a good chance that it can be duplicated.”
"The open concept is one method that has worked well for me. Some might use a T-bar system. The key is to have a flow. The vast majority of our patients are comfortable in the open concept, they see that we’re busy and other patients are waiting for us. Having six tables allows me to maintain that flow."
Inspiration and Wellness
"One book that helped me through some difficult times in practice,” says Dr. Turner, "was one of Mark Victor Hanson’s. He has some interesting concepts on abundance – that there’s always an abundance out there and that we just have to learn how to tap into it. There are billions of people that need our help and we’re only treating a small fraction of them. There is an abundance of everything in life: finances, happiness and love. Being able to tap into that has certainly made a big difference in my life."
"We always talk to our patients about the five essentials of health, the importance of looking after exercise, nutrition and getting adjusted to maintain the nervous system. I’ve always practiced what I preached. The challenge is, the busier I got, the less time was available for doing exercise, but I made the time."
"For a few years, I wasn’t doing as much exercise as I should and my energy level was dipping. I hired a personal trainer, who I meet at the gym three times a week. I thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to do that because of my schedule. Instead, I found that I have more energy."
Meeting the challenges along the way
"Being a chiropractor is one obstacle after another. There are always challenges and obstacles. The biggest challenge is keeping up with the times. I have had to reinvent the whole practice several times because, as we said before, what worked in the eighties is not working now. You have to be constantly adapting your marketing and educating the patients. The patients now are much more sophisticated. They know a lot more about their health and their bodies. They want a more informed education process. They want to make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing and what you’re treating."
"There was a time where you could build a practice strictly on reputation and results and we did that for a long time. People have so many alternatives now. There’s so much competition for the healthcare dollar, and there’s a lot more opportunities and alternatives for them. This is especially true in a small town – my town is only a couple of thousand people. Being here for 25 years, I’ve seen most of them and made a lot of them feel better. I have to be able to expand my market. That’s one of the reasons why I continue to learn new things, to be able to treat different conditions."
"And, this is one of the reasons why we got into the decompression. Now, virtually, the whole world is our market. We attract patients from all over the world. You have to be able to constantly expand your market, the type of conditions you can treat and be really good at treating all of them."
"It’s not going to get any easier for anybody," concludes Dr. Turner. "To maintain a level of success, DCs are going to have to adapt and recreate themselves and reinvent their practices. We need the innovative guys who are developing new ways of looking at and doing things to be encouraged."
Dr. Allen Turner can be reached at 1- 905-640-4440.
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