Article Date: 10/1/2011

May You Live in Interesting Times

May You Live in Interesting Times

When the going gets interesting, the interesting get going.

From the Editorial Director
Jim Thomas

Several questions arise from the proverb “May you live in interesting times.” Among them: Did the phrase originate in China, the United Kingdom or the United States? Is it a blessing or a curse?

Regardless of any debate surrounding the phrase, few would disagree that we do, in fact, live in interesting times. Optometric practices are challenged by a number of issues, ranging from healthcare reform to increased competition from both Internet and bricks-and-mortar sources.

Point of departure

Setting aside, for a moment, the issue of blessing or curse, we all must face the question, “What direction do I take now?” In response, we offer this special issue of Optometric Management where we not only identify the trends that will shape the future of optometry, but also present knowledge and strategies to help you build a foundation for success in the coming years. We've assembled a distinguished list of experts who investigate the current optometric landscape in terms of:

► healthcare reform
► electronic health records
► the aging population
► Internet dispensary sales
► practice management

Their insights and recommendations for your practice may represent a dramatic departure in the way you operate your practice today, but faced with the challenges ahead, it is a departure that we believe is worthy of your consideration.

Blessing or curse?

If we return to the question of a blessing or curse, I'll submit that the answer may lie within your attitude. As one of many examples, some practices may view EHR as a curse, one that is being forced on healthcare entities by the government at a sizeable price tag. For other practices, it's an investment that pays handsome dividends in terms of efficient operations, a paper-free environment, greater productivity, expanded marketing and patient education opportunities, greater accuracy in billing and coding and government subsidies. We can apply the same line of reasoning to many of the other challenges faced by optometry.

My intention isn't to sugarcoat some very serious issues, including declines in reimbursement and competitors operating in multiple sales channels, but rather to advocate an active approach to leading your practice. Your choices today will impact the future of your practice, your patients and staff, and ultimately, the profession of optometry. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: October 2011