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 By Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO, Editor November 7, 2012 - Tip #557 
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Grow Your Practice: Attend a Practice Management Conference


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From my perspective as a speaker at many eye care meetings, I find there is a large segment of ODs who are not interested in practice management (PM). Ironically, I may not be reaching them with this article because they probably would not subscribe to this publication. But there is a range of interest in PM among all of us. In this article, I hope to inspire you to seek more practice management education at live meetings and at webinars because there is a very high return on your investment of time and money.

CE or no CE
In many cases, the continuing education (CE) credit that is required for optometric re-licensure is a major factor in the meetings optometrists choose to attend. The number of classroom hours required by most states (and many non-U.S. jurisdictions as well) is quite high. As you probably know, most states do not recognize practice management as a valid category for CE credit. Some states accept a small number of credit hours in PM, like two out of 50. Other states accept zero.

Doctors who attend practice management courses do so for the pure educational value; not for CE credit. Interestingly, in my observation, the doctors who like to attend practice management meetings have the largest and most successful practices. Of course, not everyone wants a large, high income practice and to each his own, but I talk to many ODs every day who want to earn more. For those who want more practice profitability, I strongly recommend attending several practice management courses every year.

Meetings
There are many sources for great meetings. Since you are reading this article, you obviously have an email address and I am confident you see many opportunities for practice management. My point is to take a good look at these offerings and choose some of them. Move outside of your usual circles.

Consider these resources for practice management education:
  • National conferences
  • Regional conferences
  • Smaller specialty meetings
  • Consulting firms
  • Magazine publishers
  • Doctor alliance groups
  • Buying Groups
  • Vendors and Laboratories
Live meetings away from your home state offer many benefits. You will incur some travel costs and you have to take some time away from the office, but the return on investment is very high. You will gain new insights into many topics that result in higher revenue. There is a level of enthusiasm that will inspire you to implement new ideas. You will have an opportunity to reflect on what your practice is doing well and where you can improve. And some of the best learning comes from talking with like-minded colleagues at breaks and at meals.

There are also an increasing number of excellent opportunities for practice management via webinars. Many of these are free and may have a sponsor. Some PM webinars are completely generic and some are product-based, but both can bring very high value. Many of the best opportunities to grow your practice involve a product or instruments. The leading companies in these fields are ideally positioned to provide education on the products. They hire leading experts to show you the way. Attend with an open mind.

Topics
Practice management courses cover a wide range of new topics, such as:
  • Marketing with social media, email and websites
  • How to recruit and higher better staff members
  • How to motivate and train staff
  • Frame board management
  • Contact lens practice building
  • Office Design
  • Using Scribes
  • Buying or selling a practice
  • Coding and billing
  • Advanced instrumentation
  • Clinical efficiency
  • Electronic medical records
Staff members need high level education also
Meetings with top practice management education are also valuable for staff members to attend. Practices that think big and send key staff to an out of town trip are rewarded with higher productivity and better attitudes at work.

Best wishes for continued success,

Read Past Tips Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week


A Proud Supporter of

Send questions and comments to neil@gailmard.com.

Dr. Gailmard offers consulting services to eye care professionals through Prima Eye Group; information is available at www.primaeyegroup.com.

Please Note: The views expressed in Management Tip of the Week do not necessarily reflect those of the sponsor.

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