Optometric Management Tip # 300   -   Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The Votes Are In for Your Favorite Tip!

Here we are at Tip #300! I want to thank all the readers of my Management Tip of the Week for your loyal interest and support since the launch of this e-newsletter on January 23, 2002. Who knew this format would take off like it did when I proposed the idea to the publisher of Optometric Management magazine six years ago, and who knew I could come up with enough tips to reach 300?!

A great deal of the credit for tip topics must go to you the reader, however. The MTOTW is deployed to over 15,000 eye care professionals world wide and many readers email me every week with questions and comments. Sometimes I just receive nice words of thanks or encouragement. All that reader email inspires me with new ideas and keeps me going. I truly couldn't have done it without you.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Vistakon as the sole sponsor for nearly all 300 tips. I think it has been a great partnership and I hope they feel the same way. I congratulate Vistakon for its unwavering support of educational projects for eye care professionals and for taking a completely hands-off approach to my article content. Never once has Vistakon implied that I should plug a product or write more often about contact lenses. They simply let me write what I want.

More thanks goes to the staff at Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group, E-Media Division for their editorial, technical and administrative support. There are some great people behind the scenes of this publication and I enjoy working with all of them.

OK, let's get on with this week's tip. I've tallied the votes for your favorite tip over the past ten weeks and the results were very close for the top three so I'll list them first followed by several lower vote-getters that I'll call honorable mentions. I'll include some reader comments about each tip, but most gratifying to me was the frequent statement that the tips helped your bottom line. After all, that's really the primary goal of practice management.

As most of you know, all the tips are archived at www.optometric.com, so please go to that site to read the full text of any of the following articles. Try the key word search feature to locate desired articles if you don't know the tip number.

The tip with the most votes was...
Tip #222, Pupil Dilation: A Tip to Improve Patient Flow

This tip suggested the use of the non-cycloplegic, mydriatic agent 2.5% phenylephrine to be instilled by a technician during the pre-exam work-up. I wrote a follow-up article as Tip #223. Here are some of your comments: Second place: Tip #1, Three Key History Questions

I was pleased to see the very first tip make it into the top vote-getters. I like the concept so much that I expanded on it as Tip # 287, A Single Question That Results in Revenue. Some of the best ideas are incredibly simple and this one proposes that a technician ask each patient during history taking "Are you planning to get new glasses today?" Finding that out in advance makes everything easier, but it seems we often just don't ask. Reader comments: Third place: Tip #214, How to Sell Second Pairs

While I'm generally against providing discounts of any kind, this tip recommends the one exception to that rule. Providing a 50% (not 20%) discount on second and third pairs of glasses results in a dramatic increase in multiple pair sales. The profitability of this program is enhanced when optical mark-ups are higher than average to begin with. I justify the dramatic discount to the patient because it's easier for us to process two pairs of glasses with the same Rx at the same time. Having an in-office lab helps this program, but some wholesale labs will provide the practice with a discount on multiple pairs at the same time, so that helps too. Reader comments: Honorable mentions

Here are a few of the other vote getters: Finally, because it's important to not take ourselves too seriously, I loved this vote for the favorite tip:
Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management