Are Millenials the Saviors of the Chiropractic Profession? – Southeast Sports Seminars

Are Millenials the Saviors of the Chiropractic Profession?

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(JCCA. 2017;61(3):212-217)

The Millenial Generation is categorized as those individuals born between 1981 and 2000, a very large swath of today’s current and future job market.  There has been much debate surrounding this categorization as many of those on the older end of the spectrum don’t necessarily identify themselves as millennial.  This group born between 1977 and 1983 have often tried to re-define these generational labels, adopting what they feel is more fitting label such as “Xennials” or “The Oregon Trail Generation.”  At first glance, who can blame them for not wanting to be a part of what many in the Baby Boom generation love to refer to as lazy, entitled and self-centered?

But a recent commentary published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association by
Dr. Michele Maiers,  DC, MPH, PhD takes a deeper look at the impact that the Millenial Generation has begun to have on the Chiropractic profession.  Maiers also goes on to site study after study that draws the conclusion that this group will help to position Chiropractic as “leaders in the healthcare system, driving healthcare policy.”

The study is very comprehensive and a very well written.  Here are some quick take aways from Maiers commentary that are important to keep in mind when working with Millenials.

Globalization

Millenials exist in a globally connected world that has never acknowledged the geographic and social constraints of previous generations.  When you hold the entire world at your fingertips, on your phone and in your pocket with instant access to speak to people around the globe it shifts your view of the world and your place within it.  Unlike what many may think, millennial don’t have a ME or THEM mentality, but instead view themselves as a member of a larger collective.  If they have a problem or a question, they reach out to peers for answers and insight or can easily do research on most any topic at the click of the button.  Many may mistake this resourcefulness as laziness, whereas these professionals view this as a much more efficient route to progress, calling upon an existing body of knowledge as opposed to re-inventing the wheel.  Maiers argues that:

“This important aspect of globalization affords Millennials an unprecedented level of exposure, allowing them to innovate new solutions to long standing problems in arguably more creative and visionary ways than has been done in the past. Global social networks can be used to improve chiropractic practice, standardize messaging, and create a coordinated professional response to public health needs worldwide.”

Technology

Technology plays a vital role in every aspect of a Millenial’s daily life.  From the time they rise in the morning until they go to bed at night, they are connected in some way by some device.  The internet is the very bedrock upon which this generation interacts with the world and they view social media as a vital communications tool to expand their social circles.  This group communicates regularly with their peers and leverages social tools to connect with businesses, organizations and celebrities in much the same way that they interact with their close friends or family.  If they have a great experience, they tell everyone about it at the click of a button…if they don’t, you’ll receive a negative review.  This interaction with brands and ability to share their experiences openly and publicly has been a large catalyst behind a more patient-satisfaction driven healthcare model that is emerging in major health systems around the globe.

“Millennials’ proficiency with these systems can be leveraged by the profession to increase participation in data-driven healthcare marketplaces, which commonly utilize interactive electronic dashboards, quality metrics and consumer-facing rating systems to improve care. This digital acumen can help transition offices into technology-enhanced practices, using big data analytics to improve performance and care quality, and share those metrics widely.”

Communication

There has never been a better time to truly connect with your patient-base and there have never been as many free tools to communicate directly with your audience.  We are truly living through the age of information and the advances in social tech don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.  As early adopters of new technology with a deep understanding of UI frameworks (user-interface), Millenials will lead the charge in transitioning technology into the modern chiropractic practice.

Maier says, “Furthermore, while a clear public understanding of chiropractic professional identity has remained somewhat elusive11, social media presents an inexpensive and pervasive opportunity to communicate consistent messages among online patient communities. Using these platforms to shape chiropractic’s reputation as patient-centred, evidence-informed providers may allow us to gain recognition as trusted providers in spinal health and wellbeing.12 It may afford us an opportunity to reframe the broader healthcare conversation toward conservative pain management, and engage the public as our partner.”

Final Thoughts and Implications for the Future

This commentary is a fascinating deep-dive into a generation that many dread working with and one that has been somewhat misunderstood.  The stereotypes that have plagued this age group are many, but when you take a step back and look at the benefits of their many “quirks,” you can’t help but see how they will have a positive impact on the future of the profession.

In her conclusion, Dr. Maiers makes some really important points that I think need to be emphasized:

  • “The title ‘chiropractor’ will represent one standard of care, firmly grounded in integrated, patient-centered, evidence-based principles.”
  • “Chiropractors will operate within a re-engineered healthcare system that more closely aligns with the oath to ‘do no harm’, prioritizing conservative care first.”
  • “As the world becomes more automated, chiropractic will be valued for being high-touch (as opposed to high-tech) healthcare. The public will place greater value on services over products (i.e. “personal care over drugs and hardware”).

Read the full text of the commentary here.

Excerpts from Maier, Michele. The Future in the Hands of Millenials. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association. Volume 61, Issue 3. pgs. 212-217. 2017.

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