In the wake of the pandemic, things seem to finally be returning to normal. While there are many ordinances that have additional restrictions, many practices have been able to open back up, and patient volume has been steady or better for most offices. However, many struggled during the closure and are concerned about how their practice will rebound. With that in mind, we’re sharing 5 tips for growing your eye care practice according to the AOA.
Tip #1: Practice to Your Fullest Capabilities
Some practitioners tend to focus on a few things like refractive error or contact lenses rather than the whole of eye care because they know that will bring in revenue. However, operating to your office’s full potential in terms of care is a simple, efficient way to grow your business. Consider looking at contact lens dropout, ocular allergy or dry eyes, diabetes eye care, or screen time. Additionally, it’s important to listen to your patients intently and “read between the lines” to help get to the root of the problem instead of focusing on solving the symptoms.
Tip #2: Utilize Your Staff
Gilan Cockrell, OD, CEO of the Williams Group optometric consulting company, said that staff members can have a surprisingly large impact on practice success. Dr. Cockrell recommends utilizing scribes as “supertechs.” This means that the tech is in the exam room with the patient, and they follow that patient through the rest of the interaction process, from optical to contacts to education. Based on personal experience, Dr. Cockrell says that having this consistent person throughout the process can improve the overall practice experience.
Utilizing your staff also means equipping them with the knowledge they need to help you run an efficient office. Investing in additional training for staff members may be an upfront cost, but it’s been shown to have long-term ROI for both patient and practice success.
Tip #3: Strategic Scheduling
Schedule management can make or break a successful practice according to experts like Dr. Cockrell. He suggests scheduling patients based on the time each patient type needs instead of one blanket appointment timeframe, as well as scheduling similar patient types back to back for efficiency. John Rumpakis, OD, MBA, President and CEO of Practice Resource Management, gave an example:
“If I see 12 medical patients a day, and I know that the average medical eye care visit takes 10 minutes of physician time, then I know I need to set aside two hours a day where I break those hours into six 10-minute blocks. Now I’m scheduling for productivity based on my [and my patients’] needs and assessments.”
Tip #4: Play Music With No Words
This may seem simple, but we’ve heard of this tip for studying and it makes sense when applied to work, as well. Playing music with words can be distracting and is undoubtedly more distracting than playing music without words like classical music. Creating a less distracting environment helps everyone stay focused on the task at hand: better eye health!
Tip #5: Embrace Technology
Even though many businesses have reopened, there could be some patients that don’t quite feel comfortable enough to come into the office. Utilizing technologies like telemedicine and virtual storefronts can help you reach these patients and also help your practice maintain stability, even when the practice is closed.
The EyePromise Auto Refill Program
EyePromise devised a program that maximized practice efficiency without increased workload or investment. By becoming an EyePromise partner, you’ll get a custom e-commerce site created for your practice. From there, you simply save the link to your office computer(s) and start enrolling patients, which takes about 3 minutes per patient.
EyePromise handles the product, shipping, and handling, simplifying the process for your office and staff. Patients get their recommended vitamins delivered right to their door in 3-month increments, simplifying their process, as well, and encouraging compliance.
While the COVID-19 quarantine may have paused the ability of many eye care practices, we’re learning that the eye care industry is resilient and continues to bounce back. By using these tips, you can help give your practice an even bigger boost as daily life continues to return to normal.