By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO
March 22, 2023
The idea that I am following in the footsteps of Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD, and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD, as the professional editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB) almost seems surreal to me! Good thing I like challenges!
I thought I would tell you a little about myself. I live in Austin, Texas. I have one practice with eight other doctors. We built our own building seven years ago, and are currently drawing up plans to expand it. My son, Eric Hammond, OD, is one of the other doctors, and recently bought into the practice as a partner. My husband, Joel Hickerson, is on our administrative team, and is responsible for anything creative you see in our office. LOL!
My journey in optometry has taken many paths. The first big path was political, becoming involved with the Texas Optometric Association’s legislative team and eventually president and legislative chair. I ultimately started lecturing to ODs about many subjects, but soon realized that the business side of optometry is where my passion lies.
I have taught practice management at the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) for almost 20 years. Working with students keeps me on my toes and always thinking. I am also a director of practice management for Vision Source and a co-administrator in the Austin area. I just started working with a local non-profit that does free exams and glasses in our area called Half Helen. I will hire the doctors and be a liaison for this amazing charity.
I am excited to be working with ROB, and want to see articles that show that the author is thinking “out of the box” and coming up with ideas, concepts and systems that can make practices bigger, better, more profitable, more efficient and more fun. This week, Ian Whipple’s, OD, article about hiring does just that by taking a couple of “out-of-the-box” approaches to hiring.
I would love to be able to help other ODs love the profession of optometry as much as I do. I found that becoming better at running my business made me love optometry more. Helping ODs make their practice bigger, better, faster and more profitable and efficient could make them love optometry more, too.
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The pressing challenges for ODs, which I plan to address as professional editor, include:
- No change in reimbursements from vision plans even though ALL our expenses have gone up.
- Hiring and retaining staff (and associate docs!)has always been a challenge, and has been especially hard since 2020.
- Implementing and managing all the technology available to practices now. Between the optometric equipment for diagnostic testing and treatment, business technologies associated with patient communication, labs, social media, ordering, online sales, online scheduling…I could go on and on. This is a LOT for optometrists to manage and implement while we are also seeing patients. I’d like to help our readers wade through these difficult technology investment decisions.
I am looking forward to this next step of my optometry journey!
Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org.