Article Date: 7/1/2007

Graduate to A New Image
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FROM THE EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jim Thomas

Graduate to A New Image

While image isn't everything, it may be the best tool to market your practice.

Graduating Class of 2007 and distinguished guests, it's an honor to address you today. You may wonder why I didn't present this speech at your graduation ceremony last month. In all likelihood, my invitation was lost in the mail. These things happen. Regardless, rest assured I am as uncomfortable as you wearing a cap and gown in this heat.

Great commencement speeches are rockets that propel us into the future. Steve Jobs urged us to do what we love (Stanford University, 2005). Desmond Tutu confirmed that we are capable of extraordinary goodness (Brandies University, 2002). My message: Get rid of any compromising photos of you posted on the Web (especially on myspace, facebook and YouTube accounts).

Sure, the photo of you in full party mode is a classic. But it's a classic image that John Q. Patient may not necessarily want to see as he peruses the Internet.

Is image everything?

Some might argue that image is superficial. Once you receive a diploma, they say, you are a doctor regardless of the image you project. Many patients hold a different view: As all doctors receive diplomas, what distinguishes them is their unique image.

In school, perhaps you depended on teachers and other mentors to help you define the image of a doctor. As a graduate, whatever image you project will be the image of you as a doctor. You wear the pants, whether they're Levi's, J. Crew or Armani.

You have the opportunity to select an image that will produce dividends for the rest of your professional career. For example, if you want to project the image of a doctor who is on the cutting-edge of disease management, it would be consistent to create — or align yourself with — a practice that utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and takes full advantage of prescription authority.

Other practices have created optical dispensaries that rival those of high-end retailers, or high-tech offices where all processes are automated. There's no shortage of examples of first-class images in optometry. But for every successful image, hundreds, such as those offices with outdated equipment or decor, fall short. Few patients will complain. Most will express their concern by not scheduling another visit.

Optometrists are fortunate that they can adapt any number of positive images to reflect the professionalism they bring to the practice. That's also a great responsibility, so manage your image wisely.

And don't forget to take care of those Internet photos. OM

OPTOMETRIC Management.
www.optometric.com
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jim Thomas
MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Boyles
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jennifer Kirby
SPECIAL PROJECTS
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Virginia Pickles
SENIOR EDITOR Judith Springer Riddle
SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR Angela Jackson
OPTOMETRY
CHIEF OPTOMETRIC EDITOR Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CLINICAL DIRECTOR James Thimons, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
EDITOR Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.
CONSULTING EDITOR Jack Runninger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
PHARMACEUTICAL EDITOR Bobby Christensen, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CE COORDINATOR Neil A. Pence, O.D., F.A.A.O.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marilee Blackwell, M.B.A., Gary Gerber, O.D., Jerry Hayes, O.D., Richard Hom, O.D., F.A.A.O., Sheldon Kreda, O.D., F.A.A.O., Bob Levoy, O.D., Gregg Ossip, O.D., Jay D. Petersma, O.D., Eric Schmidt, O.D., Jerry Sherman, O.D., Donna Suter, Gil Weber, M.B.A.
EDITORIAL BOARD
Edward S. Bennett, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O
Irving Bennett, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Ernest Bowling, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Norma Bowyer, O.D., M.P.H., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Katherine Bumgarner, M.B.A.
Charlotte Burns, O.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.
Shelley Cutler, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Robert L. Davis, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Eric D. Donnenfeld, M.D.
Elmer Eger, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Neil B. Gailmard, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Alan Glazier, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Deepak Gupta, O.D.
Andrew Gurwood, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Terry Hawks, O.D.
Janice M. Jurkus, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O.
Paul Karpecki, O.D.
Kelly Kerksick, O.D.
John Lahr, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Bob Levoy, O.D.
R. Whitman Lord, O.D.
Carla Mack, O.D.
Dominick Maino, O.D., M.Ed., F.A.A.O.
Pamela Miller, O.D., J.D., F.A.A.O.
Gary Oliver, O.D.
Robert E. Prouty, O.D.
Frank Puzio, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Rhonda Robinson, O.D.
Bruce Rosenthal, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Julie Ryan, O.D., M.S.Ed., F.A.A.O.
David B. Seibel, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Leo Semes, O.D.
Donald R. Smith, O.D.
Rene Soltis
Gale Stoner
Loretta Szczotka, O.D., M.S.
The opinions expressed in Optometric Management are those of its contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Optometric Management staff or its publisher, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins VisionCare Group.
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Optometric Management, Issue: July 2007