June 11, 2020
Ninety percent of respondents to the Wave 11 survey on coronavirus attitudes and trends are open for business. Forty-two percent of the respondents said they’ve been open for more than a month. Another 34 percent said they’ve been open between three and four weeks, according to the Jobson Optical Research survey that was in the field from June 5-9.
Among those respondents who said their locations are open, 74 percent said they are seeing health-care and other front-line workers—who are more at risk of having been in contact with people infected with the novel coronavirus.
New COVID-19 ECP Impact Findings
This Wave 11 survey included new questions on steps that practices are taking to minimize transmission of the virus. On average, respondents said that 10 percent of patients have been turned away because of risk factors, according to the survey.
BUSINESS AS USUAL?
Some elements of a more routine practice are developing. Sixty-four percent of respondents said their offices are performing contact lens fittings and I&R training and 28 percent said they are accommodating walk-ins.
Most practices have rehired all (68 percent) or about three-quarters (16 percent) of the staff that was laid off. And 56 percent of the respondents said they are now back to their normal operating hours.
Patient volume and revenues are also increasing. Respondents said that before the pandemic, they were seeing an average of 25 patients per day. These three graphics show an uptick in patient interest.
One significant difference in this survey is that the interest in telemedicine as an ongoing service dropped, although it is still of interest to a majority of respondents. In the Wave 9 (May 8-12) and Wave 10 (May 22-26) surveys, 90 percent of practices that offered telemedicine during COVID-19 closings said they would continue to offer those services. In this Wave 11 survey, that dropped to 65 percent.
The percentage of respondents who said they have billed for telemedicine services in the past two weeks has also dropped, from 59 percent in Wave 10 to 36 percent in Wave 11. (Note that more practices have reopened to routine care in this time.)
ENGAGEMENT WITH OTHERS
Phone calls remain the preferred way that respondents want to engage with reps. However, those who would prefer an in-person visit from a frame sales rep jumped to 31 percent, compared to 22 percent in the wave 10 survey.
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A plurality of respondents said they anticipate being comfortable traveling to industry events and meetings in 2021. Thirty-seven percent say they would travel by car to a destination in 2021, 11 percent say they would do so this winter and 22 percent say they would do so this fall. A total of 18 percent say they would go now or this summer. More respondents said that if travel involved flights they would prefer to wait. Forty-four percent said they would be comfortable in 2021, 8 percent said this winter, 14 percent said this fall and 11 percent said now or this summer.
BUSINESS DISRUPTION FROM PROTESTS
The wave 11 survey added a question on whether the demonstrations and protests of the past week have affected eyecare practices. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said no, and 15 percent said they were affected.
Peaceful protests; no damage to my property – 65 percent
My patients are less willing to come in – 39 percent
Boarded up store to prevent damage – 28 percent
My property was damaged or vandalized – 7 percent
My store was looted – 4 percent