Insights From Our Editors

3 New Trends in OD Practices Set in Motion By the Pandemic

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

April 27, 2022

The pandemic has been with us for over two years in the U.S., and in its wake, has set in motion a few new trends in our practices. Here are the details on these trends and how they will likely be impacting us for a long time.i

TREND 1: The Balance Between Human Workers & Artificial Intelligence
We are now at the level that artificial intelligence (AI) can take on tasks previously done by humans. One place where this is currently being applied is having AI listen in and then analyze phone calls coming into the practice.

Questions that need to be answered are:
• What percentage of people who call into the office wanting to make an examination actually end up making an examination?

• Of the people who did not make an examination, what was the reason?

• Of the people who did make an examination, what wording from team members was most effective in making that happen?

• Which team member is most effective in converting phone calls into made appointments?

It used to take an office manager listening in on some phone calls to try to answer these questions. Now AI can listen in on all phone calls and free up the office manager to do other work.

TREND 2: Remote Work
In their book, “The Human Cloud,” the authors (Matthew Mottola and Matthew Coatney) argue that traditional full-time employment will be a thing of the past. The strong trend during the pandemic of people working from home has not gone away. It’s still in play with a stronger emphasis on not only remote work but also looking for more ways to outsource work.

One good effect of this trend is how it makes the practice more flexible instead of maintaining a top-down pyramid structure requiring layers of management.

TREND 3: Purposeful Business
People, especially Millennials, like to see companies display important human qualities such as honesty, reliability, empathy, compassion and humility. Your practice needs to do more than just chase profit, it needs to not only serve a meaningful purpose, but to also communicate that to your patients. Can you take a portion of each frame sale and contribute it to a large cause – eyecare in third-world countries, support for disabled children, cleaning the oceans, or any other important cause?

Take this week and look at your practice with fresh eyes as you answer these three questions:
• Are you utilizing AI in your practice in a meaningful way?

• Are you using remote work and outsourcing in the most effective way?

• Do your patients know that by doing business with your practice, they are helping impact the world in meaningful ways?

i. The 8 Biggest Business Trends In 2022 (


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