Originally from New York, Dr. Steven M. Windwer, began working as a physical therapist the Boston area before moving back to Long Island and attending New York in Chiropractic College. He has played competitive basketball and soccer and now is the official chiropractor at Northeastern University, where he works with the athletic trainers and cares for athletes in all sports.
Having practiced in Massachusetts for the past thirteen years, Dr. Windwer has 4 offices that all offer chiropractic and physical therapy care. In his main office, Dr. Windwer has a family practice with an emphasis on sports medicine and trauma. He is the past president of the South Shore chiropractic Society and is very involved in the community. He is married with 3 children and coaches all of them in basketball and soccer. Dr. Windwer has recently lectured nationwide on The Business of Chiropractic and has developed a product called Systems for Success. This CD contains downloadable forms such as organizational charts, employee handbook, policy and procedure manual and position contracts and performance review tools.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Dr. Steven M. Windwer answers our Million Dollar Chiropractic (M$C:) questions about running his multioffice / multidisciplinary practice while maintaining the chiropractic philosophy throughout his offices.
DR. STEVEN WINDWER’ M$C PROFILE
M$C: What influenced you to become a chiropractor?
Windwer: When I was in high school and was injured playing sports, my dad took me to his athletic trainer, who took great care of me and got me interested in the medical field. He later went on to become a chiropractor. I had decided to become a physical therapist and, midway through my training, my dad called me at Boston University and told me of this great experience he had had with a chiropractor and suggested I really consider becoming one myself. I finished PT school and began working in the field, but I was moderately unfulfilled and decided to go back to school. And, from day one in chiropractic college, I knew I had made the right decision.
M$C: What type of practice do you have?
Windwer: Our practice is a “multi-disciplinary” practice. We have integrated chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists into our clinic. The chiropractic philosophy is the common theme and culture in our office among all therapists, doctors and staff. We have a general practice with an emphasis on sports medicine and trauma.
M$C: Give us a physical description of your office facility.
Windwer: I started with a 1200-square-foot space located in an old school building that had been redone as an office condo. The office consisted of a reception area, three adjusting rooms, an exam room and a billing area. Over time, I acquired another office down the hall of 1200 square feet that housed our physical therapy center. We later added another condo with 900 square feet, which became our central billing area. Staff meetings, and patient education classes are presented here. Finally we obtained another condo down the hall. This one has 900 square feet and houses our massage therapists and acupuncturists, as well as a podiatrist to whom we rent space.
M$C: What’s the income service level that you provide annually?
Windwer: Our income service level has consistently risen in practice; however we had our biggest increase when we added our physical therapy services. Utilizing economies of scale and having several offices has increased profits. In our main office we have been able to collect $1,000,000-plus for the past three years.
M$C: Do you have a set profit-standard or margin formula for the business?
Windwer: This is a great question and difficult to answer. For a single office, we would want to be as close to 50% of our overhead as possible. With a multiple office scenario, you are looking for around 25-27% margin. This can fluctuate greatly, depending on the maturity of all of the practices. We have benchmarks and standards that we look at monthly, quarterly and yearly. Goal setting, incentives and continual coaching and mentoring are the keys to our success.
Our exam room is fully equipped with a high frequency low intensity unit by Bennett, surface EMG and thermography as well as other diagnostic equipment.
All our adjusting rooms are equipped with muscle stimulation, hot packs, ultrasound as well as patient education materials.
M$C: Is there anyone in particular to whom you attribute your professional success?
Windwer: Firstly, my mom has blessed me with an incredible work ethic and value system. My dad is one of the healthiest guys I know and has been a great example of the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and personal development. My professional mentors include Dr. Richard Vincent, who taught me to always do the right thing the first time. Also, Drs. Dennis Perman, Robert Hoffman, and Larry Markson of The Masters Circle have taught me so much about communication, personal growth and relationship building, as well as the importance of being a leader, and being committed to ongoing patient education.
M$C: What marketing strategies do you use to attract new patients, and to keep current patients?
Windwer: We track where all our new patients come from. I think that is the first key. If you are not tracking, you don’t know. Our number one referral source is patient referrals. We ask our patients for referrals regularly and it is part of our expectation that they will refer in new patients. We do a lot of lectures in the community and invite prospective patients to come in and get their spines checked. We visit health clubs regularly and do screenings. We also have our ads in the Yellow Pages and local penny saver.
During our report of findings, we educate our patients on the benefits of chiropractic and the three phases. We then explain to them why it is important to go through initial intensive, corrective and, finally, begin the benefits of wellness care. We believe firmly in telling our patients what is best for them and helping them make the best decisions for themselves.
M$C: How do you handle problems with patient retention?
Windwer: We believe it is all about the relationship with the patient. Each staff member and doctor in our office realizes that people have choices. We want patients to choose us because we are clinically excellent, nice, attentive and caring. We work on quickly building rapport with patients and continually educating them and asking them good questions.
M$C: We all know that an efficient staff is a crucial component of a successful practice. Tell us what you look for in a staff member.
Windwer: The first thing I look for in a staff member is energy. How do I feel in their presence? Do they have good energy? Do I feel comfortable with this person? I then want to know what enneagram (personality) type they are, so that I match the right personality with the correct job for them. I also am very sensitive to team chemistry. I love harmony. Once I have decided I think someone may fit our team, I have him or her interview with other team members to get feedback.
Dr. Steve Windwer & Dr. David Smith are very fortunate to have an empowered and professional support staff that understands and implements the mission of the office. They embody the term “team”
M$C: Do you enjoy your work?
Windwer: I love what I do. I get to go to work every day to help people naturally change their lives and lifestyles, motivate my team and be in an energetic, healthy, loving environment. I can get adjusted, get some PT for any injuries, and go for a massage. Who has it better than me?
M$C: Having a multi-disciplinary practice, what advice can you offer our readers about setting up and maintaining such a practice in today’s healthcare system?
Windwer: First of all, multi-discipline practices are not for everyone. There are many more managerial and administrative demands in running a bigger practice that may not be what everyone is looking for. You will need to have great systems in place to allow you to take on a different role in your practice.
M$C: Other than traditional chiropractic care, do you include any other type of services or products in your clinic which further help your patients as well as bring in additional revenue to your practice?
Windwer: We offer physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, podiatry as well as nutritional supplements. We also have cervical and lumbar pillows, as well as backpacks for kids.
M$C: Any final words for our readers?
Windwer: I am honored to be interviewed by your publication. I would remind anyone reading that success in any endeavor starts with you. Make a commitment to work on yourself and develop yourself in all areas: personally, clinically, business-wise, financially, in communication skills, etc. I would also encourage you to get a coach. Get a team of professionals who are interested in growing you and your practice.
You may contact Dr. Windwer at 617- 471- 4491 or [email protected].
Our sincere thanks to Dr. Windwer and his staff at Milton Chiropractic & Rehabilitation, located at 111 Willard Street Quincy, MA 02169. TAC
Editor’s Note: Do you have a million dollar practice that you’d like TAC to highlight in our Million Dollar Chiropractic column? We want your inspiring story. Contact us today. You can reach TAC’s editor Jaclyn Busch Touzard on our US direct line:
1-305-716-9212, or by email at: [email protected].