Optometric Management Tip # 400   -   Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Differences in Revenue Production among Associate ODs

Hiring an associate optometrist is a great way to foster continued growth in a practice, but what can a practice owner do if the new doctor continually produces less revenue per patient than the senior doctor? First, let's make sure that we are analyzing the data properly. Second, we'll discuss ways to bring up the production of the associate.

Data analysis

A useful statistic is gross revenue per patient (GRP), also called average sale per exam and other similar names. This is often calculated by taking the total practice gross income for a month and dividing it by the number of comprehensive eye exams done that month. In my opinion, gross practice income should always be defined as “collected” gross income, meaning after insurance write-offs. For accuracy in tracking, I use comprehensive exams and simply ignore all other office visits even though some of those visits produce income. The gross revenue per patient stat can be figured for the practice as a whole and for each individual doctor. Ideally, the GRP will be fairly close to the same for all doctors, but often a senior doc may have a higher figure.

Apples to apples

While you may not be able to control all the variables that exist in the patient populations of two different doctors, we should examine them and consider the factors that may explain why one doctor produces more gross practice income than the other.

Increasing low production

Once you have good data and have made adjustments for the patient population differences, and if the associate doctor still has much lower revenue production, I would take some steps to remedy the situation. Some optometrists have a true aversion to product sales of any kind and they actually avoid discussing optical products. In my view, this is as much of a disservice as high pressure sales tactics would be. Neither extreme is good; patients need professional guidance about eye care treatment options.

Consider these points for increasing the production of an associate optometrist.

Best wishes for continued success,

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