Optometric Management Tip # 31   -   Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Ophthalmic Instruments as an Investment

These are uncertain times for most financial investments, but optometrists who own practices have one investment opportunity that I found produces returns far better than stocks, bonds, or real estate. That is investing in ones practice with new equipment.

During the early developing years of my practice, I made it a point to make one large purchase per year and in many years I acquired several new items. Even if I had to borrow money from a bank, or lease the equipment, I still made some investment. I had a priority list, or a wish list, and it was always changing, but the point is, my practice was progressing. Im still following this strategy today. Where would these items fall on your wish list?

  • An extra exam lane
  • A finishing lab
  • A scanning retinal laser
  • A new office computer system
  • An autorefractor
  • A corneal topographer
  • A low vision diagnostic set
  • The return on investment was always there with every addition to my practice but you have to know where to look for it. It manifests in numerous ways.
  • The new item may generate higher fees or new fees, resulting in more profit.
  • Expense savings may be realized, by doing something yourself, or doing it more efficiently.
  • Time savings may be realized, through delegation to a technician, allowing you to see more patients per day.
  • New access to patient records may enable you to improve your marketing.
  • The new equipment gives you new reasons to market and promote the practice, which results in increased volume. Advanced services are a competitive advantage.
  • A renewed perception by each patient you examine that your practice is cutting edge. There is always something new to talk about. This causes an invisible return on your investment, but it is quite real. The value in this is in increased referrals and patient retention.
  • Renewed excitement on the part of your staff. This is reflected in attitude and pride of working in a practice that is progressive. This excitement is projected to patients in every contact.
  • Specialty instruments could result in new referrals from other doctors or professionals.
  • Remember, buying equipment is not like a consumer purchase, even though you may enjoy having it. It is a capital investment in your business.

    Best wishes for continued success,

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