By Julie Helmus, OD
Oct. 21, 2020
The pandemic put a crimp in many practices’ plans for a strong 2020, but thanks to the right metrics-tracking technology, my practice is working its way back to where we should be, and we may be primed for strong growth next year.
The dashboard system providing us with such vital help is ABB Analyze powered by Glimpse.
Critical Support in a Crisis
I really dove into Analyze starting this past March. Having extra time during our COVID shutdown enabled me to install the program, onboard and explore the platform. Information is power!
I log in about every two weeks. I’m eager to check our metrics at the end of each quarter. The ABB Analyze dashboard is saved as a favorite on my internet browser bar, so it’s just a click away. My optical manager looks at it daily. He studies production by optician, percentage of jobs that have AR, photochromic and polarization, and also sales of lens types and materials. I focus on tracking revenue per patient, production by doctor and capture rate.
I also like to take a quick look at our percentage of new patients to established patients against the national average. For 2020 year-to-date, 72.5 percent of our patients are returning and 27.5 percent are new, compared to the national average (of other ABB Analyze users) of 71.9 percent established and 28.1 percent new. I think this is an important indicator of patient satisfaction: if the percent of established patients were to drop, then that would trigger corrective action.
Key to Informed Decision-Making
ABB Analyze was able to pull our data in from 2018 and 2019, so I was able to go back and study our trends for those two years, which was valuable insight into our progress. It turned out we were charging way too little for contact lens fees and frames. We then adjusted our pricing to improve profitability.
Important Staff Management Tool
We are using the ABB Analyze platform to transition our four associate optometrists from a per diem/salary pay model to a production-pay model. My optical manager uses it to oversee our team of seven opticians, to identify their strengths and weaknesses. We can hone in on specific metrics, such contact lens annual supplies, which, for 2020 year-to-date, has increased 21.5 percent.
I didn’t trust the data from our EHR reports sufficiently to transition our team of doctors to a production pay model. By contrast, ABB Analyze is elegant and easy. I appreciate the flexibility in selecting time frame and gross vs net.
Slow, But Steady, Progress
Our practice revenues are picking up gradually. Patients who schedule appointments in the current environment have a purpose, and most buy with us with rather than shop eyewear someplace else. Our safety protocols are strict, and patients appreciate our precautions. I believe many are less likely to take their prescription to optical chains this year given the risk of COVID at large stores and malls.
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The second quarter of 2020 was all about survival. We have not yet returned to pre-COVID status in the third quarter, but I’m hopeful for a strong fourth quarter. It’s not “business as usual” by any means here in Davis, Calif. However, there are still good reasons to visit us. Patients appreciate the value of a back-up pair of glasses now! We’re also seeing the effects of digital eye strain, and we have educated our patients that we can provide eyewear that helps relieve the discomfort of extensive computer use.
Precise Measurement Sets the Stage for Improvement
The ABB Analyze support team is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I don’t understand or utilize all the functions of my iPhone, nor of ABB Analyze–yet. But there’s no doubt it’s a great tool, and as many wise business consultants will say: “That which gets measured, improves.”
Julie Helmus, OD, is a second-generation optometrist and owner of Helmus Optometry in Davis, Calif. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org