By Clint Taylor, OD
April 1, 2020
Your practice has many needs, from optical and staff management, to marketing, finances, and beyond. A new complimentary resource, IDOC Insider, is helping me stay on top of all of these areas of the practice. Here is how we are using this tool to track our success at managing our practice and providing top-level care.
Three Key Advantages
IDOC Insider, provided by my optometric alliance, IDOC, has three main components. First, Insider mines through my practice management software to provide me with key metrics at my fingertips. I don’t have to sort through all of the data – Insider does it for me, and then presents the data in a clear, easy-to-read format.
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Second, Insider compares my key metrics to those of my peers. As a solo practitioner, it’s very helpful for me to have a barometer to compare myself to. It puts my data in perspective.
Third, Insider links the metrics with information geared to help me improve those metrics. That way, if there’s a given metric that my office is struggling with, with the click of a mouse I have access to material to help me directly improve that given metric.
Help Improving Frame Capture Rate
Our practice has struggled with frame capture rate (the percentage of patients who come in for a full exam and purchase at least one frame). The interesting thing is, until Insider, we didn’t know we were struggling with it because we didn’t have outside data to compare to. Now that we know the frame capture rate of other IDOC practices, we know that our capture rate needs work.
Once we knew we were struggling in this area, we spent time going over the information IDOC Insider provided us on how to improve our frame capture rate. Specifically, we learned the importance of making recommendations based on patient lifestyle and of maximizing managed-care plan benefits. We then began educating our staff about these issues at staff meetings and having open conversations about why they were important. We also scheduled a consulting session for our optical staff with one of IDOC’s optical management consultants.
It’s still too early for us to see measurable change in our frame capture rate as a result of the steps we’ve taken above. But I’m confident that the renewed emphasis on multiple pairs and managed-care plan benefits, along with the other recommendations made by the IDOC optical management consultant, will pay dividends going forward.
We have set a goal to grow our frame sales by 9 percent in 2020. By following the steps mentioned above when discussing frame capture rate, we should have a realistic chance of not just meeting, but exceeding, this goal.
Staff Management: Help Instilling a Culture of Accountability
IDOC Insider helps develop staff members by instilling a culture of accountability. If we know where our problem areas are, and we know concrete steps to take to improve those areas, it empowers our staff to grow our office. With this sense of empowerment, however, also comes responsibility. Staff members have to actually follow through on strategies that we have adopted through IDOC Insider. If they don’t, then there is no sense looking at the data in the first place.
With IDOC Insider, we get a monthly report card on how we’re doing in various areas. And the data doesn’t lie. So it helps us hold each other accountable. I say “each other,” because as practice owner, I need to be held accountable as well.
Spurring Long-Term Growth
The longer we use IDOC Insider, the more beneficial it will be. There are two reasons for this.
First, the more we use something, the more comfortable we become with the format. It’s like getting a new phone. At first, you don’t know what all of the buttons do and you don’t know what all of the icons mean. But as you get used to using it, you become so comfortable with it that it almost becomes an extension of yourself. That’s what I expect to see with IDOC Insider. As we see the data month after month, we will become more and more comfortable knowing exactly what the data means, and knowing what steps we can take to improve.
Second, trends are key. Knowing a given metric may be important, but knowing what that metric was last month or last year gives you a whole different perspective. For example, just knowing that your average frame retail price is $X is nice. But knowing that you’ve increased that price by $20 over the past year is much more helpful. The longer an office uses IDOC Insider, the more they will see trends, and the more useful the information will be.
For independent offices to succeed in today’s optical environment, we need to be running on all cylinders. We need to take full advantage of every opportunity, and we need to make the most efficient use of our time. IDOC Insider helps us with this by pointing out potential deficiencies in our practice and then giving us customized action steps to address these deficiencies. The end result is an efficient practice that is better positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities. And I believe that is a practice that is positioned to succeed.
Clint Taylor, OD, is the owner of Taylor Eye Care in Carmi, Ill., a one-OD, one-location practice with eight support-staff members that delivered about 3,000 comprehensive eye exams in 2019. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org