By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
April 21, 2021
Optical sales have been challenged during the pandemic. Here are the latest optical sales statistics, including how your practice can make the most of new opportunities to spur growth and profitability.
The compilation of data in this article was created by Jobson Optical Research’s COVID-19 Weekly Practice Performance Tracker. The metrics in this article are from the week ending April 11 2021.
(This index baseline was developed by Jobson Research from total sales from an average 7 days in the first quarter of 2019.)
The graph below shows that a year ago in March, April and May, the five categories tracked cratered due to the shutdowns that occurred across the country. In January 2021, there was a peak followed by a descending trend which hit its bottom toward the end of February, then worked its way upward followed by a gradual decrease until the present. Look at what your practice has done over the same time frame. You should be able to make the same kind of graph based on the numbers contained within your practice management software.
Here we’re looking at the same data, but breaking it down by region. As you can see from the graph, all regions are functioning about the same.
As you would expect, the number of examinations and refractions follow the same trend as gross revenue.
The graphs for the number of frame units sold, lens pairs sold and contact lens pairs sold all followed the same trends from March 2021 until present – flat then slightly declining. The data coincides with upticks in coronavirus cases in all four census areas being tracked.
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What does all this mean? This means we are not yet out of the woods with the pandemic. We are still in the transition between keeping the practice alive (our goal during the pandemic) and moving to practice growth . The clearest action plan forward is two-pronged: (1) make sure your practice is fiscally healthy, and (2) move your practice forward from where it is now.
Keeping your practice fiscally healthy is continuing to balance income and expenses as we learned during the pandemic. Make sure those lessons are not lost as we transition out of the pandemic.
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Moving the practice forward starts by identifying what changes can be made in the practice to increase one or both of the following – the number of patients seen and/or the dollars collected per patient.
Increasing the number of patients seen can be accomplished by making your patient flow more efficient so you can see more patients, increase the frequency of seeing existing patients, increasing the number of new patients and/or reactivating established patients.
Increasing dollars collected per patient can come from one or more of the following: code to the highest appropriate level, doctor prescribes everything needed to improve patients’ quality of life, make it easy for patients to pay, doctors and staff utilize effective methods of overcoming objections to treatment plan acceptance, consider every patient for contact lenses, increase fees and/or double check that staff is billing all appropriate fees.