The Pros and Cons of Offering Acupuncture at Home
Ready to hit the road?
And no, I’m not talking about loading up a ’49 Hudson Commodore and crossing America like Jack Kerouac. I’m asking if you’re prepared to leave the security of an acupuncture clinic and venture forth to treat your clients in their own homes.
It’s a professional decision that most acupuncturists will face—will you specialize in clinic-based treatment? Or be a roving acupuncturist swooping in to save the day? Or both?
Of course, the benefits of practicing at an acupuncture clinic are obvious. A base of operations allows you to provide a therapeutic and professional setting for your patients. Everything is already set up for the most efficient treatment. There’s a good chance you will be working alongside other practitioners in a stimulating and collegial atmosphere. And you can reasonably predict your expenditure on overheads.
Still, the lure of being out in the world is hard to resist. And now tablet-based acupuncture practice management software makes it easier than ever to operate effectively on the road. But as with any professional decision, home visits have pros and cons.
So let’s take a look:
PROS of Offering Acupuncture at Home Are:
Your patient will probably be more comfortable at home
Not everybody feels confident marching into an acupuncture clinic and lying down for what might be a new and intimidating treatment. No matter how hard you work to make the ambiance of your offices welcoming and comfortable, there will always be some people who find it difficult to relax.
Zap some of the intimidation factor by practicing in your patient’s own space.
You can expand your patient roster to people in the greatest need
Many of your potential patients will be seeking treatment for debilitating ailments which can severely limit mobility: chronic pain, depression and anxiety, addictions, and age-related disabilities. For many people, the inconvenience of leaving the house to visit a clinic can feel like more hassle than it is worth.
And that would be a shame.
Home visits make the process easier for your client, and you can expand your treatment to people who may benefit the most.
You can charge a higher fee for the service
People pay for convenience and understand the effort involved in making a house call. It’s a special service for which patients are prepared to pay extra.
Basing yourself at a clinic is a gamble: you’ll have to pay room rental regardless of whether your appointment schedule is filled to the max. Nobody wants to sit in a lonely room while the clock ticks and the dollars drain away.
If you practice exclusively in your clients’ homes, you can avoid the costs of renting a clinic space and shelling out for all the associated overheads. This can mean a tighter operation.
CONS of Offering Acupuncture at Home Are:
You’ll be on your own
Chances are you will miss the collegial atmosphere of an acupuncture clinic. You’ll have to get used to the solitude between sessions. On the other hand, solo time in your car is a chance to catch up on your favorite music or podcasts.
You’ll see less clients in a given time
Travel time between sessions means you will be able to treat fewer patients.
You’ll have to prep and carry your equipment around
Operating on the road will demand a high level of planning and organisation. You’ll have to get used to transporting your equipment. You’ll need a reliable vehicle equipped for your needs.
Tight schedules sometimes fall apart
As much as we want to run on time, being out on the road means being at the mercy of traffic and other unexpected delays. Appointments will not always run exactly to schedule. You’ll have to stay in regular communication with your upcoming clients to ensure they are informed of any changes to the schedule.
Efficient acupuncture practice management software will help you stay connected.
Guest blog post by Matt Leask.