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West Campus Alumni Website Aims to Connect as The Chiropractic Social Network

3/17/2011 (Archived)

It may not evolve into the worldwide cultural phenomenon of Facebook, and the story of the creative collaborators may never become the subject of an award-winning and accolade-garnering major motion picture. However, '09 West Campus alumni Dr. Beau Pierce and Dr. Kyle Knox would still be quite pleased, awards or not, if their recently launched “Circle of Docs” website becomes the chiropractic social network.ca - circle of docs logo

Dr. Pierce began musing about the development of a chiropractic-focused website, modeled after Facebook, shortly after he graduated.

“During the first year of building my practice, I noticed that the only chiropractors with whom I could actively network were former classmates and doctors that I met at seminars,” said Dr. Pierce, who now maintains a practice in Santa Maria, Calif. “I thought it would be great if there was a neutral place for anyone in the chiropractic profession to share information, exchange ideas, and provide support for the struggles and stresses that doctors encounter in practice at different points of their careers.”

With no formal background in web development, Dr. Pierce embarked upon extensive market research studies, which led to contacting multiple web developers who have created similar “niche” website for their creative counsel. He subsequently formed an executive team, including Dr. Knox, for input regarding design and content considerations.

Circle of Docs (www.circleofdocs.com) was launched on Jan. 16, 2011, approximately six months after Dr. Pierce began the project.

“Within 48 hours, we had doctors from the U.S., Brazil and Australia all communicating with one another,” said Dr. Pierce, who was a West Campus Guide and president of the triathlon club, as well as an active member of the Sports Council. “We thought in one week we’d get 50 or so people to join, and we ended up with 136. The international rate is overwhelming. We’ve now spoken with doctors from around the globe, including Australia, Canada, the U.K., Spain, England, U.S.A., and New Zealand. Things are really picking up and there is new info being put up every 30 seconds.”

The offices in which Dr. Pierce and Dr. Knox maintain their practices are approximately 150 miles apart. During the course of developing the site, they were able to maximize their productivity (and avoid lengthy drives on traffic-filled freeways) by utilizing web-based resources such as “Google Wave.” This also enabled each of the first-year doctors to work on the site in between caring for patients.

“I’m fortunate to be in an office with a mentor who has 25 years of practice experience,” said Dr. Knox, who practices with fellow West alumnus Dr. Terry Schroeder, ’86, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “However, I know a lot of recent grads and relatively new docs who aren’t as fortunate. We encounter challenges every day. This is one way to help reduce the stress and frustrations of those challenges, whether it’s dealing with insurance companies, trying to locate a particular exam form, or resolving staffing issues.

“While starting a new practice has its fair share of stresses and challenges, I’m grateful to work in a profession where every day I have the opportunity to impact a person’s life in a positive way. The website is also a great forum for docs to share their ‘success stories,’ and enjoy a little chiropractic ‘spizzerinctum.’ And the more docs involved in the conversation, the better.”

While the site has the look and feel of the Facebook format, their goal is to foster a site where the conversation focus is more professional than personal. In addition to providing a web-based portal of communication and information for chiropractic doctors, another interactive goal for the site is to host webinars, conduct online interviews (where doctors can ask questions of the guests), post reviews of chiropractic products, and host other forms of virtual media.

“We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel; it’s more about an evolution of existing technology,” said Dr. Knox, who also served as a West Campus Guide, was a Sports Council officer, and was teammates with Dr. Pierce on the triathlon team. “Our profession doesn’t have the financial resources of the big pharmaceutical companies, so in order to better educate the public about the chiropractic profession, and what we do as chiropractic doctors, we have to utilize available avenues that are equally affordable and effective."

“In some respects," continued Dr. Knox, "the Internet levels the playing field; so through the development of this website, it is our goal to help the profession carry out that mission.”

You won’t find any advertising on the Circle of Docs website, but they may entertain offers in the future. For the time being, Dr. Pierce wants to keep the focus on informational content and the fostering of spirited, but respectful, interactive dialogue among doctors.

Said Dr. Pierce, “It is our goal to serve as an informational resource to the chiropractic doctors of today, as well as to the future docs, so we can serve our patients to the best of our abilities, and to help advance the health benefits of chiropractic care.”

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