CF 060: Medical Marketing & Integration Care Expectations

Today we’re going to talk about medical marketing scoundrels and about what the multidisciplinary world expects of us chiropractors. 

But first, here’s that ‘goes down so smooth’ bumper music

Integrating Chiropractors

And we’re back. .Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  We are honored you’re spending some time with us and we hope we give some entertainment and some value in return. 


You have disco’ed your way into Episode #60 just like John Travolta in Saturday Night Live. Kids, go Google that. It was cool back then. You could walk down the street in a Staying Alive strut man. Travolta was the bee’s knees back then wasn’t he? From Mr. Kotter, to Grease, to Staying Alive. Then turned kookoo wacko on everyone. He got so open-minded that his brain fell out and went splat. 

Let’s talk a bit about the diplomate of the Academy of chiropractic orthopedists quickly. That’s also known as the DACO program that I’m currently going through. I’ve officially hit the halfway point for the online hours and only have one class left for the live hours which I’ll get in less than a month down in Austin. Basically, out of 300 hours, I have about 125 left and have just been serious about this thing since October. Recent classes have been A Neurological Approach to Scoliosis, and the Neck and a Sense of Well-Being. 

I feel like it’s scooting fairly quickly at this point. It’s funny to watch my staff when I’m performing an exam these days. They’re familiar with the way I do exams and have done them for years. Just about every week, including this week, I’m adding or taking away from what I normally do. They don’t really know how to handle it. Lol. These classes really do change what you do almost immediately. 

If I can help you get started and rocking and rolling on your DACO, shoot me an email at and I’ll be glad to point you in the right direction. 

New Year

How’s your new year starting? By the time this episode goes live, we’ll have been in it for a little over a month. I have to say that I’m confused this year. This is typically our slowest time of year. But, it’s going a little crazy this year for whatever reason. I have literally had 35 new patients in the last two weeks. It’s all I can do to get this podcast written each week, to be honest, but I’m committed. 

I actually had to come in on a Saturday to record the last episode because I just didn’t have the time available during the week to get it done. I’m not trying to brag. I think if you have a good staff, which I do, and you have them spaced appropriately, which I do, you can make your way through them while giving them the best care possible. Especially when you’re using post-graduate educations like the DACO to guide your exam and diagnosis. 

Crazy Busy

And, 35 new patients for my practice looks different than it may in a lot of clinics. I don’t see how many times we can run them through the doors. I don’t convince them their lives are at stake if they don’t see me 50 times this year. 

I used ChiroUp for all of my patients which I highly recommend. An additional $150/month seems like a lot. I know. But this programs is worth even more than that and they’re not paying me anything at all to say that. One of the things it does is track your patients through follow up emails. 

That’s how I know my case average, which is the number of times I typically see a person, stands at around 8 times while their national average stands at about 7 times. 

I know that my average improvement rating is 79.43% for ALL cases and that included everything from cervical radiculopathy and lumbar stenosis to cervicogenic headache and greater trochanteric bursitis. Their national average for improvement is 71.8% so I’m doing good there. If I’m getting 80% of my patients well, I’m happy. 

They have also tracked me at having a 98.6% likely to refer from my patients. Meaning, our patients are 98% happy to refer us to their family and friends and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’d still like to know what I can do to make that other 1.4% happy but I think some people cannot be made happy at all. 

Even if you get them well and gave them free ice cream. They’d still gripe because the ice cream didn’t have chocolate syrup on it. You know those people. You know who I’m talking about, don’t you?

Anyway, the point was….I hope your 2019 has started off like my 2019. If it sustains, I’m going to have to get me some help in here! Including a nurse practitioner. Ahhhhh, the day I finally make that leap I may have a few hundred beers. Lol. 

Paper #1

The first item of research I want to get to is on medical marketing. Why do we care what the medical field is doing for marketing? Well, because they’re the main stakeholders in healthcare and it’s important to know what they’re doing. Either we can copy it or we can go 180 degrees from it depending on what we’re talking about. 

This paper we’ll talk about was in the Journal of the American Medical Association also known as JAMA on January 1, 2019, so it’s hot off of the press. It is called “Medical Marketing in the United States, 1997-2016” and was written by Lisa Schwartz, MD and Steven Woloshin, MD[1].  Please remember, if you’d like to see the paper, the methods, and that good hulabaloo….I always cite the papers at the end of the show notes over at This show is episode 60 just so’s you’s knows. 

Why They Did It

They wanted to answer the question, “How has the marketing of prescription drugs, disease awareness, health services, and laboratory tests in the United States changed from 1997 through 2016?” I think that’s a great question. 

Let’s find out, shall we? I say hell yes we shall!

As far as medical marketing goes, they say, “From 1997 through 2016, medical marketing expanded substantially, and spending increased from $17.7 to $29.9 billion, with direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and health services accounting for the most rapid growth, and pharmaceutical marketing to health professionals accounting for most promotional spending.”

Let’s dial down into that just a bit. 

As you are probably already guessing because you see this trash on TV every time you turn it on but the most rapid, crazy increase in medical marketing advertising was in the direct-to-consumer advertising. It went from $2.1 billion in 1997, which was 11.9% of the total marketing….it went from $2.1 billion all the way up to $9.6 billion and now, marketing meds directly to the consumer now make up 32% of the total spending. I say NOW….that was 2016’s numbers. Probably worse now.

They broke it down even further and highlighted the prescriptions that are marketed directly. The drugs you need a prescription for ….ads for them went from $1.3 billion in ’97 which was 79,000 ads, all the way up to $6 billion dollars and 663,000 ads in 2016. 

All I have to say here is, “Dayum.”

Then, I’m not done yet….hold my beer and watch this….Lol. That’s what I feel like here. Then, they say that medical marketing straight to healthcare providers like the MDs, DOs, etc….that marketing went up from $15.6 billion to 20.3 billion in 2016 but here’s what’s crazy when you think about it, folks, $13.5 billion of that was for free samples….OK, whatever. Then $979 million went to payments to physicians for speaking fees, meals, and things like that that were related to specific products. So they paid almost a billion damn dollars to MDs to go around medical marketing & touting their drugs.  

It’s insane. You cannot tell me no way no how that with that much money in the hopper, that we don’t have some nefarious skunky smelly dirty crap snaking around and messing with people for the worse. You can’t convince me of it and I’m not a conspiracy guy either. 

Like, when they say we didn’t land on the moon, it was shot in a studio in Hollywood? Yeah, they need a kick in the nuggets. Really? The Earth is flat? Are you sure? I’ve seen a lot of pics from outers space and round is what I’m getting people!! 

You see what I mean here but I also know people and I know what greed does to people. It’s insane, honestly. 

Pharmaceutical Commercials

Let’s talk about those medical marketing commercials for a minute. Let’s make up a name that sounds a little like a prescription. How about Killyametrix? Yeah, sounds good. OK, here’s how it usually goes, “Have you been having a hard time getting into your life? Are you just tired? No energy, no drive, no ambition anymore? Wouldn’t you like to have more energy? You’re too young for this. Killyametrix has been shown to increase energy and get patients back to enjoying their lives quicker and faster than any medication in the history of man that was ever made. There are some side effects. You’ll want to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: gout, liver failure, tumors coming out of your eyeballs, if your foot falls right off in mid-stride, high blood pressure, going cross-eyed, bleeding from the ears and fingernails, if your hair curls, if all of your hair falls out, or if your knee cap pops right off as you sit down and shoots straight across the room knocking someone out. Other than those issues, it’s a great drug. Try Killyametrix. Ask your doctor about Killyametrix and if it might be right for you.”

Here’s the deal, when I was growing up, did you realize whiskey, bourbon, scotch, …..the hard stuff… was never advertised on TV because they knew it was damaging to the population so why promote it nationally. I believe it was actually illegal to advertise the hard stuff but I’m not 100% on that. 

But, now, or at least in 2016, it’s OK to advertise prescription drugs straight to the consumer to the tune of 663,000 ads at a cost of $6 billion dollars. It’s lunacy. 

How about you go to your doctor with no preconceived idea of what’s wrong with you and he or she plays doctor, figures out what’s going on with you, and the DOCTOR, the actual doctor, decides what medication you need if any at all. 

Why don’t we try that crap out in America for a change? 

If I were an MD or DO, I’d be livid every time I saw one of those stupid commercials on TV. Hell, I’m a DC and I’m livid when I see them. 

Make me a crazy person. Makes me want to go live in a rubber room for a couple of weeks to decompress.

Paper #2

Let’s get to the last thing here. This one is called “Stakeholder expectations from the integration of chiropractic care into a rehabilitation setting: a qualitative study” by Zacariah Shannon, et. al[2]. published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in December 2018. 

Why They Did It

They say that few studies exist on what the expectations of chiropractic care really are within a multidisciplinary setting so they wanted to add to the literature on this topic. 

What They Found

They found that expectations for the chiropractic program in this study were mostly positive. Good news. The idea of the patients making progress was the overriding theme for the group. They expected the addition of chiropractic to help patients progress by improving pain management and physical functioning. 

In addition, they also expected indirect effects of chiropractic on healthcare integration. Things like increasing the patient participation in other providers’ treatments which would lead to improved care for the patient across the board. 

I wonder if those other providers were or will be helping increase the chiropractor’s load as well? That’s a good question to ask. 

Wrap It Up

They summed it up by saying, “Stakeholders expected the addition of chiropractic care to a rehabilitation specialty hospital to benefit patients through pain management and functional improvements leading to whole person healing. They also expected chiropractic to benefit the healthcare team by facilitating other therapies in pursuit of the hospital mission, that is, moving patients towards discharge.”

Not bad, not bad. It’s a helluva lot better than we had going on for us before the opioid crisis. I’ll give them that. I think the only part of this I really don’t like is their expectation of the chiropractor helping feed the rest of them while, in my biased opinion, they should be feeding the chiropractor first in an effort to keep people off of meds. 

Their stated goals are pain management and physical function. Well…that’s sort of right in our wheelhouse so why wouldn’t we be getting those first? I think the stakeholders have been fed quite enough. They’re fat as hell and slobbering. 

Bring the evidence-informed chiropractors in and watch your patients shine with happiness, leave amazing reviews, and go out and tell your city about all of the good things your clinic is doing. 

If they get the right evidence-based chiropractor in there, that’s the way I see it playing out because the research we covered several weeks ago shows us that chiropractors have the highest patient outcome satisfaction when compared to MD and DO’s, in fact, we wipe the floor with those people in regard to musculoskeletal issues. Not only that but we beat out the PTs as well on outcome measures. 

But we should feed them, right? They should be thankful to have us. 

Integrating Chiropractors The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient.

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out.


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward.


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About the Author & Host

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger



1. Schwartz L, W.S., Medical Marketing in the United States, 1997-2016. JAMA, 2019. 321(1): p. 80-96.

2. Shannon Z, S.S., , Gosselin D, Vining R,, Stakeholder expectations from the integration of chiropractic care into a rehabilitation setting: a qualitative study. BMC Comp Altern Med, 2018. 18(316).


CF 027: WANTED – Safe, Nonpharmacological Means Of Treating Spinal Pain



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