Meet 35 optometric business innovators, who have each created a robust practice through their creativity and ingenuity. Review of Optometric Business and Vision Mondaypresent aspecial, first-time collaborative project, Optometric Business Innovators 2011. This week, we share practice pearls and a slideshow featuringcontact lens dispensingandpatient experienceinnovators.
Practice Pearls from this Week’s Featured Innovators, Followed by Slideshow:
Steven Loomis, OD; Mark Kruchen, OD; Kent Yount, OD; and Tara Peterson, OD, Mountain Vista Eyecare and Dry Eye Center, Littleton, Colo.,Contact Lens Dispensing Innovator:This single location practice with 16 employees has set itself apart by focusing on training staff and embracing new technologies. Dr. Peterson says careful electronic tracking of contact lens inventory keeps tabs on new products, rebates and discounts, with CLs accounting for nearly 25 percent of the practice’s business. “We’ve seen growth due to the use of daily disposables, and the pediatric patient and young professionals are our main markets, Dr. Peterson says. In addition, Mountain Vista EyeCare is part of a study group with nine other practices that share ideas on staff, products and managed vision care—all part of an effort “to learn from others’ successes.” Dr. Peterson says.
Rajeev Raghu, OD, The Eye Center, Jackson, N.J., Contact Lens Dispensing Innovator:”We are completely, unconditionally focused on the individual needs of our patients from the moment they see our website, to meeting us in person, through their entire exam and selection, says Dr. Raghu, who, along with his eight-person support staff, takes pride in being “patient-focused.” He cites the economic downturn as an opportunity to offer premium products. “We implemented a financing program for our patients, whereby they can pay for glasses or CLs over a 3- or 6-month period. Patients love that they can still buy the best and pay over time,” Raghu says.
Steven Wilson, OD, Wilson Eye Center, Valdosta, Ga., Contact Lens Dispensing Innovator:“All inventory is bar-coded so we can track what’s selling and gain better control of frame, spectacle lens and contact lens inventory with specific target goals in each category, all monitored on a monthly basis,” says Dr. Wilson, who has strived to increase office efficiencies, which today include integrated insurance, exam and material codes via automated spreadsheet allowing for more efficient coding and billing. The most recent practice booster is Dr. Wilson’s “branding” baby, the “EyePod” (Personal Optical Delivery) program featuring free home delivery of contact lenses and eyeglasses. “We purchased a car and custom wrapped it with our name and logo. It’s proven to be a big hit, offering great customer service and brand recognition that allows us to effectively compete with mail order CLs,” he says.
Nancy Wojcik, OD, Lenscrafters, Arlington Heights, Ill., Contact Lens Dispensing Innovator:In 1985, Dr. Wojcik was one of the first optometrists to make daily disposable contact lenses her lens of choice. Today, this suburban-based LensCrafters is a high volume contact lens practice specializing in dailies, torics, multi-focals and gas permeable CLs. As a participant in one of LensCrafters’s trial study committees, Dr. Wojcik is able to try out new CL products to see how she and her patients like them. “I see contact lenses as a lifestyle choice offering me an opportunity to try and meet patients’ other needs, such as sunwear and eyeglasses,” she says. But it’s the personal touch with her patients that has enabled Wojcik to survive the recent ups and downs of the economy. “My practice has grown by the personal attention we provide to our patients and our focus on making a personal connection with everyone who comes into our office,” she says.
Kathleen Anderson, OD, Kathleen M. Anderson, OD, Inc., Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., Patient Experience Innovator:Dr. Andersen has consistently used leading edge technology to grow her practice. In 2007, she brought in an OCT and other equipment to develop a medical practice. The following year she relocated her practice and completely redesigned the facilities in preparation for converting to electronic medical records.”These changes have made my office appear more professional and give the patients reassurance that we can handle any problem they present,” explains Dr. Andersen. “They let our patients know that we are up to date and leaders in the treatment and management of ocular disorders.” Dr. Andersen’s message is clear: “We recommend only the best technology has to offer.”
Thomas Gosling, OD, Optical Matters, Littleton, Colo., Patient Experience Innovator:Dr. Gosling has developed a successful family eyecare practice and is an expert in fitting patients into bifocal contact lenses and in helping hard to fit contact lens patients. “My goal has always been to create a bond with every one of my patients,” says Dr.Gosling. “By understanding not only their daily visual demands, but their family and work life atmosphere, I create a ‘feeling’ for the patient and their world. The secret is never to forget that feeling.” Dr. Gosling says that because he and his staff treat patients “as family,” they tend to refer other family members and friends. “We quit advertising after our first year, and our practice has more than quadrupled in the last four years,” he says.
David Kaplan, OD, Family Eyecare of Glendale, Glendale, Ariz., Patient Experience Innovator: When checking in,Dr. Kaplan’spatient receives a “passport” folder with sections devoted to each aspect of the eye appointment. This folder accompanies the patient throughout the appointment, and provides a springboard for a brief discussion about the purpose and value of each part of the exam process. As a result, patients develop a deeper appreciation of the high standard of care provided by the practice, increasing patient loyalty. By providing a thorough explanation of lens options, the process increases lens capture and premium eyewear sales. “The primary factor that differentiates our practice from most of our contemporaries is the educational platforms utilized throughout our office,” he says.”Patients are continuously educated about the equipment being utilized, the procedures being performed, and the products being recommended. When they leave our office they are well educated about their particular ocular condition and have a firm understanding that all optical products and all eye exams are not the same.”
Jack McIntyre, OD, Drs. McIntyre, Garza, Avila & Jurica, Corpus Christi, Texas, Patient Experience Innovator:”We promise to see you at your convenience, not ours,” advertises Dr. McIntyre. He backs this up by having seven-day-a-week availability, the latest technology and what colleagues describe as a “genetically happy” staff. His LensCrafters-affiliated practice, Drs. McIntyre, Garza, Avila, & Jurica, has operated for 25 years in Corpus Christi, Texas. The practice draws patients from as far as 70 miles away based partly on word of mouth referrals. On a Saturday, the staff might conduct up to 125 examinations. Known for his expertise in contact lens fitting, McIntyre advocates what he called a “differentiate or die” business philosophy. “If a contact lens is considered a commodity, I look for high-quality alternatives.”
Click on first image below to begin slideshow.