Congratulations on getting through a difficult and complex year. Surviving 2011 may have tested your wits, courage, and endurance, but if you made it through with your practice, odds are that the year ahead will be a bit easier on you.
Economic outlook: Financial forecasts are notoriously difficult to make and rarely accurate, and we remain at risk of Black Swan events over which we have no control. That said, improving consumer and business sentiment, combined with strong sales in autos and durable goods due to pent-up demand are hinting at a bullish stock market in the second half of 2012.
The picture for real estate is looking mixed. Some regions will see firm growth and rising values (Calif., NY, FL, VA), particularly in the major cities. Other areas may lag while continued foreclosures and weak demand suppress values. Nevertheless, the worst of the declines looks to be over and a floor is firming up that we can build on.
Sector outlook: Healthcare will remain one of the long-term winners with continued growth and investment, continuing a cyclical trend driven by demographic shifts and economic realities. Parents will always want the best care for their children, working-age adults will want to remain healthy to be financially productive and avoid the catastrophic costs of long-term care, and the elderly will want to maintain or improve the quality of their lives.
At the same time, the Affordable Care Act and Medical Home Model initiatives are placing emphasis on preventive care and wellness. This is a niche that alternative care owns and chiropractic is in the forefront. The ACA and state associations have been working successfully to maintain chiropractic’s seat at the table as legislation has been drafted, ensuring that consumers will have access to chiropractic as they navigate their insurance options.
Most consultants and chiropractors I’ve spoken with are not optimistic, and they point to practice closures, declining PVAs, and enrollment numbers at chiropractic colleges as evidence that the profession is endangered. On the other hand, we’re looking forward now and noting that prospects for recovery are taking shape and so the question is how to best capitalize on them.
Publishing outlook: In the series of issues we have planned for 2012, we’ll pay particular attention to proven, field-tested marketing strategies, practice specialization ideas, and practical management techniques. While some doctors are struggling against headwinds, others are doing extremely well by focusing on areas in healthcare where the need is greatest and allopathic medicine has few solutions.
In particular, we’re paying close attention to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma, nutritional support, and probiotics, as DCs are seeing success in these areas in addition to providing traditional back treatment and pain relief. Get ready for what promises to be an exciting year for all of us.