By Scot Morris, OD
The year is still young enough for you to make 2012 a financial milestone. Best place to start: measuring and increasing your revenue-per-patent.
By the time you read this you will be a month and a half into the new year. So, how’s it going? Is your plan for the new year working? Did you even have a plan?
If not, there is still time to break all the financial records in your practice. You can do that by increasing your revenue-per-patient. There are so many ways to increase your revenue-per-patient and none of them have to involve working longer hours, pushing more people through the system or hiring more staff. They all stem from the doctor taking a more proactive role in determining and fulfilling a patient’s vision needs and wants.
Plan How You, Personally, Will Lead the Effort
Pick one, or, if you are ambitious, two, of the many ideas listed below in the next section. Focus on them. Spend one hour to develop a script for you and your staff. Spend another hour altering your exam forms to incorporate your “new” focus. Spend one more hour on designing and developing the merchandising pieces to help encourage sales in the area of your new focus.
Editor’s Note: The average patient, when undergoing a complete eye exam at an optometric practice, generates $306 in revenues for that practice, according to the Management & Business Academy (MBA), sponsored by Alcon and Essilor. The MBA database further shows that an OD conducts 1.1 complete exams per OD hour, computing to about 2,200 complete exams a year and $673,200 in revenues.
In this case, increasing revenues by $10 for each complete eye exam would add $22,000 to a practice’s revenues or about 3 percent. Adding $10 for each patient who walks in the door for whatever reason would add even more. An important first step is benchmarking: Compute how much revenue is generated by your patients who present for exams, and compare that with the MBA national norm of $306.
In addition to seeing existing patients more frequently, there are two ways to make money in what we do: See more patients or make more money from the patients we already have. Though I think it is important to continue to grow your patient base, most optometric practices would excel if they only focused on the revenue-per-patient category. For the next 10.5 months, focus on two things that can increase your bottom line per patient by $10 each.
Seven Strategies to Boost Revenue-per-Patient by $10
1. Direct your staff to sell more second pairs.
2. Change your base lens material from plastic to premium material, focusing on anti-glare, changing your frame pricing to effectively work the managed care system. The strategy here is to increase premium purchases–premium lenses, premium treatments and premium materials.
3. Sell premium digitally surfaced lenses such as custom progressives.
4. Focus on selling sunwear (prescription or plano) to every patient. Don’t we all need UV protection?
5. Diagnose overlooked issues affecting each patient’s eye health and schedule each back to take care of these problems. For example, you would be providing a valuable service to both patients and your per-patient revenue to diagnose and treat dry eye more often.
6. Discuss daily disposable contact lenses with every patient.
7. Focus on selling a yearly supply of contact lenses instead of just six months.
8. Sell contact lens solutions or nutraceuticals in your office
Launch these efforts now for an end-of-year financial performance that far exceeds your expectations.
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Scot Morris, OD,of Eye Consultants of Colorado in Conifer, Colo., is an international speaker and educator on optometric subjects. He directs anophthalmic consulting service, Morris Education & Consulting Associates, as well as Ocular Technology Solutions, Inc. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.