Keele Finch Chiropractic Centre is located on the second floor of a medical building at a busy and bustling intersection in North York, a suburban borough of Toronto, Ontario. Clinic owner Dr. Awenus has been an InnoCare customer since 2015 but his clinic has been in this same building since 1980, and it's easy to see why. His office is warm, cozy, and neat with his many awards and recognitions proudly displayed on the walls. Dr. Awenus is too humble to point these out, but it’s a reassuring sight to any patient to see your treating practitioner held in such high regard by their peers. We sat down with Dr. Awenus to discuss how he has successfully run his office at the same location for 37 years and how InnoCare Boost fits into his practice. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Why did you become a chiropractor, what was the moment that made you enter the profession?
It was when I was in high school, I had hurt my back through a sports injury, and they had tried everything, and nothing worked. So I went to see a chiropractor, not far from where we are sitting today. It worked and got me back playing sport and no longer in pain, I actually kept in contact with my chiropractor, and he became somewhat of a mentor to me when I was in chiropractic school studying. Lucky enough for me, just before I graduated he offered me an associate position at his practice. This was a fantastic opportunity for me as he really taught me everything a young graduate needed to know upon entering the practicing world.
What advice would you give a young chiropractor coming out of chiropractic school today?
You have got to learn from an established chiropractor, feed off their experience and knowledge, you are not trying to reinvent the wheel. So it’s important to try to find that initial mentor as their support will be invaluable to any young graduate now. Schools like Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto see the value in this. They host a day where established chiropractors can come in and speak with final year students, there are opportunities there to promote openings for associates at your practice, or if you're looking to retire shorting, find someone to take over your practice. I do feel it is much harder to open a practice today than when I started. I opened my practice a year after I graduated, but there wasn’t the same competition. I was pretty fortunate when I started; I would recommend that young grads take an associate position where available and start networking as much as possible to build up connections.
Why did you choose InnoCare? How long have you been a Boost customer?
I have been associated with InnoCare Boost since Feb 2015. I decided to enroll in the program as the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) endorsed it and the InnoCare team presented every step of the process in a clear and professional manner. This gave me confidence that the services were of the highest standards to serve both the needs of the doctor and the patients in an honorable and professional manner.
What attracted you to Boost? What problem(s) were you looking to solve?
I initially discovered the InnoCare Boost program as the OCA promotes it as an approved network that provides OCA members an opportunity to build their practices on a fee sharing basis. Only OCA members can apply which further re-enforces our professional association and serves as another factor to make membership more desirable.
Click here, to learn more about what InnoCare Boost can do for you clinic.
What are the biggest changes you have noticed since you began treating and today?
The biggest change has got to be competition, the competition is greater. When I started in 1980 I was the only chiropractor in my building; now there is one on every floor. Obviously, things like the internet and social media were not around when I first started out and have caused massive changes. Young chiropractors need to be taught how to be effective marketers online as well as clinical professionals. They also should be taught the importance of general relationship building, this comes naturally to some, but it’s something new grads need to be aware of due to increased competition.
What is the one thing you would tell a younger version of yourself?
I was lucky I fell into having a mentor for that first year out of school, that is key, so I would tell them that make sure you pick someone’s brain, take that year or two to work as an associate to learn the ropes and then branch out on your own.
What is the biggest challenge about being a chiropractor in 2017?
It’s got to be getting patients. If no one comes in the door, it doesn’t matter how great your clinic or office is. The business side of running a clinic becomes easier over time, but getting patients and keeping patients that is a challenge.
What is the value of Boost to your clinic? What impact does it have on revenue?
Boost has provided patients to my clinic of both MVA and EHC patients. This serves as a type of marketing but has none of the typical upfront marketing fees. Boost has preferred provider partners that share clients with Boost clinics. The clinic takes care of the patients they normally would while the boost team performs the clerical duties as required. In this way, the clinic is not burdened with the paperwork and can just concentrate on the care of the patients.
What is the best thing about being a chiropractor?
The best thing is when your patients get better, I can say that consistently since I began, 80% of my patients get 100% better, 10% get somewhat better and then 10% don’t get better. I enjoy working with patients who legitimately want to get better and will work with you on their recovery.
Now a lighter non-health related topic to end, tell us about yourself away from being a chiropractor?
Well I am not full time anymore, I was five days plus Saturdays, now I’m down to two full days and three half days. This allows me to go the gym every day, health is a lifestyle choice, so being active is a great prevention. I did play pretty competitive squash in the Toronto District Squash Association. I’m also a big Raptors fan, an injury in school restricted my playing, but I was a guard. I spend time with my family too; I am a keen advocate of a good work-life balance. My son is now a physiotherapist and has followed a similar path to mine. After graduating school, he worked with a mentor and is now opening his own clinic.