By Andrew J. Neukirch, OD
Nov. 16, 2022
When I started considering partnership, my primary focus was ensuring that my patients be well cared for, followed by all the benefits I would personally experience. Offering specialty services has always been an area of focus within my practice for many reasons, but most importantly, it provides a much needed health benefit to the community.
Partnership with AEG Vision has been beneficial in allowing me to focus on further development of my specialty practice.
Choosing a Partner that Puts “People First”
In November 2021, my office became part of AEG. Thanks to our location in the Chicagoland area, and the size of our practice, we were regularly approached by companies who were interested in pursuing partnership. I accepted meetings with all of them. We are a primary eyecare practice serving all ages with a focus specifically on myopia management. Continuing to grow in this area was especially important to me. AEG stood apart with their “people first” mentality, as well as the Chief Medical Officer’s desire to expand the company’s specialty care services.
More Time to Concentrate on Areas of Greatest Interest
With my time freed from administrative tasks, I am able to shift my focus to enhancing our myopia management and scleral lens programs. Prior to the sale, I had always dabbled in scleral contact lenses, but now, with the added staff and further delegation of my responsibilities, it’s much easier to find the time to fit specialty lens patients.
Growing Services that Change Lives
I consider the myopia management sub-specialty to be a gift to the optometric profession and our pediatric patients. It has never been easier to improve the long-term trajectory of both a child’s functional vision and reduce the risk of developing many sight-threatening diseases. Myopia management is still in its early stages, and it is only going to grow.
Specialty contact lenses, specifically sclerals, have always been incredibly rewarding for both patients and doctors. We recently fit a 26-year-old keratoconus patient who was best-corrected to 20/80 in glasses, but is 20/25 in sclerals. These are the patients that hug you and are forever grateful. We can really change their lives.
AEG also continues to support other important initiatives, like allowing us to participate in clinical trials. We are proud to be one of the clinic sights for the upcoming FDA MiSight 3+1 year ongoing efficacy trial.
Share Your Knowledge to Help Others Grow a Sub-Specialty
AEG just started having quarterly meetings for our ODs in the Chicagoland area. I had the privilege of being the guest speaker at the last one where I was able to discuss my experience with myopia management with other ODs, in hopes of helping them grow the sub-specialty in their respective locations. I take great satisfaction in helping my colleagues while also having the opportunity to learn so much from them.
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Building the Team You Need
AEG almost immediately hired more support staff (in this difficult hiring environment!) for our practice that boosted my efficiency in the exam lane considerably.
When you have a practice with specialized services it becomes even more important to have a team that is well educated and able to work with you to deliver care and a great patient experience. Knowing you have a partner that is capable of getting the team you need, regardless of the economic climate, is invaluable.
Focus on Growth Into Other Specialized Areas
Our other full-time OD within the practice is passionate about vision therapy, and I’m confident with AEG’s support, we will be able to grow that sub-specialty even faster as well.
We have a partner that is priming us for growth into the services that our patients need and our ODs want to practice. After a year’s worth of partnering with AEG, it’s become clear that they have been true to their word. I’m glad we joined the right team.