Higher Health for a Balanced Life!
Listen in as Dr. Andrew White from Higher Health Chiropractic shares tips for proactively protecting your health and living a vibrant life.
00:06 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. Welcome in, I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. Joining us today is a very healthy topic. You know we are finance to fitness, and today is a little bit of all of that, because we’re talking with an awesome business partner. His name is Dr. Andrew White, and Dr. White is the owner of Higher Health Chiropractic, but he’s also considered a healthcare entrepreneur, which I actually love that title. Welcome in, Dr. White.
00:33 Dr. Andrew White: Thanks for having me.
00:34 LJJ: So tell us a little bit about what that means to you, healthcare entrepreneur.
00:40 DW: Yeah, it’s a bit of an acronym. So I got into chiropractic, because my mother had a back injury when I was young and ended up going to a traditional medical doctor who referred her to an orthopedist, and she ended up getting back surgeries that failed. So seeing her struggle with that was a big reason why I went into the field I did. And I’m a man of faith, so we are a Christian company, and I just always really… I wanted to be able to serve as many people as possible, and one thing I always struggled with was… We get phenomenal results in our offices. We have two offices in West Michigan—one in Holland and then one in Grand Rapids. We’re actually opening our third in Jenison right now, which is exciting.
01:23 LJJ: Congrats.
01:24 DW: Yeah, thank you. But it was frustrating or hard for me when we would constantly meet people in the community that had injuries that we treat every day but had been suffering for years, and so I was always thankful to meet them, but also just felt a little frustrated or sad that we didn’t meet sooner. So we were always… My business partner and I, Erik Kowalke, are always trying to think outside the box. And so we, a couple of years ago, started a software company called SKED, so that our… It’s a mobile app for our patients that allow them to schedule in the office and reschedule. It also sends notifications for their appointments, and we can also send them curated content like exercises, stretches, important things for their health directly through the app. And we started using that at our office about four or five years ago, and then we’re now in 400 offices across the country.
02:21 LJJ: When you talk about starting that four to five years ago, that was cutting-edge back then, and now with everything happening in the world, holy cow, is that ever needed.
02:32 DW: Oh my goodness, it’s… [chuckle] Like a lot of successful businesses, it kind of starts with just a problem or a question, and we were talking one day, like five years ago, about how the majority of our phone calls are simple, “Hey, it’s Andrew. We got an appointment at 3:00. Can I come in at 3:30?” And that doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? It takes 30-60 seconds for a staff member, but we see across our two offices, just over 2,000 people a week, so even if half of those people reschedule in a week, that’s 1,000 phone calls. So you can just imagine the amount of time that takes that increases overhead. But on top of that, we’re very intentional with the patient experience, and if someone’s on a phone, they’re not able to interact with the patient in front of them and love on them. So we just thought, “Man, if there would be a way they would just simplify this and make it more convenient for our patients.” And yeah, that’s kind of how SKED was born. That’s the name of the app, S-K-E-D.
03:33 LJJ: That is just such a really neat thing to hear about how you’re thinking about solving an issue. Back then, if you don’t mind me asking, how hard was it to get your patients to start to use it? Were people a little bit reticent?
03:46 DW: You know what was funny, there were definitely some patients that were slow on the uptick, especially back then. We all had smartphones, but it wasn’t nearly as commonplace to use apps as much as we do now. And I can remember, my business partner has now six children, but at the time, his oldest, Logan, we used to pay him 25 cents for every patient that he got to download the app. So he would…
04:15 DW: He would be in the waiting room, and he would be… He would go up to people and like, “Hey, have you downloaded the SKED app yet?” And it was so funny because being a child just cuts across that awkward barrier. And a lot of times, he would be like… If there’s an older patient who didn’t know how to download an app, “Here, I can help you,” and just take the phone from them and download it. It was so funny.
04:38 LJJ: We just might borrow that idea. [laughter]
04:42 DW: It was so funny. But yeah, now patients love it. It’s a kind of unique thing, but our patients really appreciate it. So it’s pretty cool.
04:50 LJJ: You mentioned faith, and you mentioned the fact that you’re seeing so many patients. Can you do me a favor and think back to March of this year, when all of a sudden, the world stops? Healthcare stops for a bit in the sense of chiropractic care. What was it that helped you and helped your team to really continue to persevere in a time of just great change?
05:18 DW: Yeah. Honestly, it’s been obviously an interesting and tumultuous year for everyone. Even with my staff and patients, there’s been obviously higher levels of stress and just feelings of anxiety with everything going on. So what we’ve been focusing on is real simple. I always tell our staff that we just have to control these people. We can’t change the fact that a virus exists. We can’t change the fact that at some point, we’re probably going to be exposed to it. We just have to do everything that we can control right now to put our bodies in the best position to be healthy whenever that day comes, and also just focus on being in a world right now that is incredibly… It’s a dichotomy in a lot of ways. There’s just… It’s very divided, it feels like, at times. So we just focus on being a place that people love to come to, and that feel loved when they’re here, and we just pour love into them because you can’t control what happens outside the office, but we control that. And that gives you just a little bit of feeling of resolution that again, if you’re just focusing on, “I do have some control in some parts of my life,” and you focus on moving that ball forward, then ultimately, it’s going to just help with your, again, that feeling of hopelessness or anxiety that often comes with a pandemic, right?
06:41 LJJ: Right. Well, obviously, it’s most of ours first pandemic, and it’s something that I personally know, at the beginning, was so haunting in your thoughts. Your thoughts are just going everywhere, and what you’re focusing on is clear health. And Dr. White, I had looked at your website, gethigherhealth.com. One of the interesting components, especially underneath your COVID section, is the focus on immunity building. And I think that people have a little bit of misperception about what a true, healthy chiropractic life can be. Tell us a little bit about that change in your whole body when you’re thinking of it as a consistent healthcare plan.
07:29 DW: Yeah, that’s great. In general, in the U.S., we have a very reactive healthcare model. We’ve kind of trained our population to think that you go to the doctor when you’re sick or when you have a symptom. And we often are busy in our culture, so we kind of put our health off and to the side and just kind of focus on moving forward and with our families and our businesses and everything else. So what we try to do is focus with patients on proactive things that they can do to stay healthy, because it’s ultimately always easier to stay healthy than it is to heal from being sick, if that makes sense.
08:11 LJJ: Absolutely.
08:13 DW: So, there are some super practical things that you can do to. Again, it kind of goes back to that feeling of, if you’re feeling… If you listen to this and you’ve been feeling hopeless or feeling like this pandemic is just running your life, again, just try to focus on the things you can control. So for instance, that can be things like your diet. Real simple, eating whole foods, especially organic foods, can be phenomenal for your health. Getting lots of good vitamin D. Vitamin D is probably more important than vitamin C with immunity. A lot of people think, “I got to take more vitamin C,” and there’s definitely parts of your immune system that rely on vitamin C, but vitamin D is probably the most important if I had to point to one vitamin that’s going to help boost your immunity. Just a quick note, that’s a fat soluble vitamin. Meaning if you’re going to supplement with it, you’re going to need to take it with some sort of meal, because if you just take it on an empty stomach and a glass of water, you’re not going to absorb any of it. So the fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. So any of those, you’re going to need to eat it in a meal.
09:14 DW: A couple of other things, getting outside and exercising. One of the, I think, hardest things for me with just the whole shelter-in-place model is the idea that if you are never getting outside and getting fresh air, getting in the sunlight, from a psychological standpoint, it increases cortisol levels in your system, which are going to actually suppress your immune system, which is why if you’ve ever been really stressed out, you either get cold or get sick. And then just exercising like 30 minutes a day at least, and that can be as simple as going for a brisk walk, or even in the winter months, you can bundle up and just get outdoors and get your blood moving a little bit. It can really do a lot. Getting adjusted can help also as well. That’s something that kind of gets into my field specifically. How that can happen is through two ways.
10:05 DW: One, getting adjusted is going to help just with pain relief and stiffness, which is going to release endorphins from your brain and stimulate what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the kind of rest and digest part of the brain, where the sympathetic is that fight or flight response or the stress response. And then specifically with the techniques that we use in our office, we call Torque Release Technique, the adjustments actually stimulate what are called mechanoreceptors in the joints, which increase something called proprioception, which these are all big $10 words, but basically, what it means is that when we adjust the spine with the tools we use, it increases the feedback to your brain, your brain likes that and then releases endorphins as a way of trying to incentivize you to do the behavior more. And again, that’s going to help to relieve the cortisol levels and lower them naturally, so it’s pretty cool. Other than that, hydrate. That’s another big thing. And then just trying to reduce your overall stress levels. What I mean by that is, again, just whatever that means for you, trying to find those outlets so that you’re not just burning the candle at both ends.
11:10 LJJ: So Dr. White, you mentioned something about having this be a proactive plan, and I think that one of the misconceptions, too, is that people are afraid or they haven’t asked their company, “Do you cover chiropractic sessions?” And I know with Consumers, we do. It’s part of a wellness belief that your body, as you said, you really need to take care of it proactively, not just because you all of a sudden are injured or you feel sick today. Is that something that you find that people are more likely now to ask their own employers if they cover it?
11:48 DW: Yeah, that’s a great question. That actually leads really well into the latest thing that we’ve been working on as far as trying to innovate. We started a company called AlignWell and AlignIQ, where we’re actually providing wellness services on-site and at businesses. We started working with a couple of businesses here in West Michigan, where we’re actually on-site a couple times a week, and also using that SKED app I talked about to help educate the employees on things that they can do that are specific to their own health needs, and then just keeping them accountable through every time you see them, making sure that, again, they’re kind of learning this stuff and actually changing their habits or creating individual change.
12:30 DW: I would say that a lot of patients are… I think now more than ever, COVID has… If there’s been anything good about COVID, it’s that it’s reminded us that you can… The man who has everything in the world except his health has nothing. So if you don’t take time to invest in your health like you do in every other part of your life, eventually, you’ll spend your life… I always say that health is one those things that you either spend a little time on now and make it small investments today and have pretty good health most of your life, or one day it’s going to force you to stop, and you have to spend all your time and all your resources on your health. So again, a lot of patients are starting to realize and think more about their health in a proactive way, because COVID’s kind of forced them to just thinking about this fear of, “How can I stay healthy?” So yeah, I would say in general, there’s been… I can see that across the board with a lot of people.
13:27 LJJ: That’s awesome. Well, Dr. White, thank you so much for your time. What a… It was just a wealth of information on our health, and I really do appreciate it. I hope you continue your… The entrepreneur stuff is just getting me rocking. I’ve got my brains moving. [laughter] So congrats on all of that.
13:46 DW: Yeah, thank you. Thank you so much. I really, yeah, I really appreciate it. We’re really excited, especially with… Like I said, we’re opening up our third office right now in Jenison. SKED’s continuing to grow quite a bit, and then the potential for the impact that AlignWell and AlignIQ can have with just helping employers see the ROI of wellness and really change some lives and get more proactive instead of waiting to meet sick people in the community, I’m really excited about, so a lot of cool things coming up in the next few years.
14:15 LJJ: Well, we are really proud to be a business partner with you and along your journey, and cannot thank you enough.
14:21 DW: Yeah, and if you’re listening to this and you happen to not be a member of Consumers, you should totally do it. Even if you’re not a business owner, they got… Pretty sure you guys still offer the awesome 4% checking.
14:34 LJJ: We sure do. [chuckle]
14:36 DW: Tell you what, 4% on your money, you’re not going to find that many places.
14:41 LJJ: I did not pay you to say that, Dr. White.
14:44 DW: You did not pay me to say that, but I’m just saying. It’s good stuff, guys.
14:48 LJJ: Well, thank you so much.
14:49 DW: Yeah.
14:51 LJJ: From finance to fitness. This is Lynne Jarman-Johnson, and I’ll tell you what, Money, I’m Home, from finance to fitness. Thank you so much for joining us, and Jake Esselink, thank you for your production skills today. If you have a topic that you’d like to share, please send it our way, Consumers Credit Union. Money, I’m Home.