Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Qualifying new patients

Angelo Santin   

Features Clinical Patient Care

Work with people who share your values

Unfortunately, when it comes to new patients, our profession is in defense mode.   

There are chiropractors out there who are struggling and willing to take any new person that walks in the door. When a person is in this state of mind they are rarely thinking about the quality of the new patient that they are about to take care of.

As a profession, we need to start thinking about working with people that are aligned with our own values and what we uniquely have to offer. This process is known as qualifying new patients before you get started with care. Let’s explore this idea in a little more detail with three types of new patients.


The walk-in
This type of patient either called through the phone book or simply walked into your office with no referral. Remember, each person that walks through your office already has their own belief of what health is. They also have a pre conceived notion of what chiropractic is. This could be a potential problem when it comes time to begin to deliver their care as they may not be fully aligned with your values and what you have to offer.  

The screening/talk patient
These are patients that you meet at an event, a screening or a talk you deliver. In this situation there is some opportunity to share with them some information about you and your clinic before they decide to come into the office. If they decide to come into your office then they are coming in somewhat aligned with your values and beliefs. This will increase the likelihood that the patient begins and follows through with their program of care.

The referral
These are patients that are sent to your office by friends and loved ones. People tend to hang around with people that have similar values as them so these patients will be very similar to the ones already in your practice. In my experience, the initial exam and report of findings tend to go the smoothest with these new patients and continuing care is often a pleasure. 

How to qualify the new patient
Step one: You need to share with them what you do and how you do it. This is essentially your beliefs on how chiropractic works and what tools you use. This can be done at your screening, at your talk, or even at their initial visit if they’ve just walked in. If they are a referral it has already been done for you by the person that referred them.  

Step two: Share why you do what you do. People make decisions based on emotions versus facts. If they are at the same level as you emotionally, they will tend to be a better quality patient.  

Step three: Be prepared to walk away from a patient if they don’t match your style and values. This means being prepared to, caringly and artfully, refer them to someone that will align well with what they are looking for. This will ensure the patient has a good experience with chiropractic even though they may not have started care with you.

The reason why it is important to qualify a new patient before they start care is to make it easier for both you and the patient. Working with people that have similar values and ideas about health will make your practice run stress-free and make coming to work more fun. It will also make for a better experience for the patient, which ultimately will foster a better reputation in the chiropractic community.

Dr. Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at or 807-344-4606.

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