Optometric Management Tip # 563   -   Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Planning for the New Year

As we look ahead to 2013, this is a great time to reflect on the current state of your practice and where you want to take it in the coming year.† Iím a firm believer in making things happen and controlling your own destiny.† Make a New Yearís resolution to take your practice to the next level in 2013.

Based on my consulting work with optometrists, here are four practice management strategies that I believe would be the most help.† Letís look at each of these areas and consider what you can do to improve them:

Medical billing
Most optometrists are involved in billing medical insurance to some degree, but frequently it is a fairly small percentage.† Many ODs hang on to our heritage when we billed vision plans or we collected the fees directly from the patient.† But the United States is moving toward health insurance for everyone and the public is more aware than ever.† Itís time to modernize your office policies and bill the appropriate insurance plan.† Vision plans are designed to provide routine vision exams.† If a medical condition exists, the exam should be billed to medical insurance.

I realize that changing your billing procedure is tricky, but work with your staff and test new office policies until you find a system that works.† Take some courses in billing and coding in 2013 and also continue to broaden your expertise in treatment of eye disease.† Perform some financial projections to determine if you can acquire new technology that will allow you to monitor eye disease.

Optical dispensing
With online optical becoming a larger factor in the marketplace, it is time to focus on your optical.† We really can compete with internet vendors and the big box discount stores, but we must stop taking our opticals for granted.† Consider these factors to make your optical current:

Most practices need more patients very much.† Analyze your patient demand and your appointment schedule and develop a new marketing plan.† The main focus should be on the internet and electronic communication.

Delegate more
It is hard to break old habits, but most optometrists need to delegate more.† If you canít seem to embrace this vital strategy, consider doing things backwards: hire a new employee first; then delegate more to her.† Your current staff will be much more willing to accept changes when they can see that the increased work will not fall solely on them.† Consider these delegating tips:

I wish you and your family very happy holidays!† See you in the New Year!

Best wishes for continued success,

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