Article Date: 11/1/2011

Four Realizations for Every OD

Four Realizations for Every OD

Times are changing. Let ODLean help you prepare for the future of optometry.

Special Section Series Sponsored by ODLean

In a time when changes to optometric practice are counted in news headlines, ODs are continually focusing on what's next. Electronic health records and meaningful use might keep you awake at night, but that's only part of the emerging story. ODLean helps clients stay on top of all of the challenges facing their practices. Their consultants offer these four realizations that every OD should understand.

1 You can give patients a better experience, see more patients per day and boost retention and referrals without increasing expenditures — and you and your staff will enjoy the change. When patients see quality and believe that the practice values their time, they recommend the practice to friends, post positive reviews online and spend more money on eyeglasses and contact lenses ($25 more for every minute they don't spend waiting around, or $375 for 15 minutes less waiting, according to data from practices engaged with ODLean).

A patient-centered model makes money, which is why ODLean has helped more than 100 practices achieve success. When patients don't wait, they rate their experiences better. Doctors see more patients in less time and both parties find an increase in value. What's more, doctors and staff report greater job satisfaction because everything runs more smoothly.

2 Health care is changing from fee-for-service to a value-driven fee system based on results, which means reimbursements will decrease, so you'll need to see more patients to take home the same paycheck. You can start seeing more patients now — painlessly.

In the shift from a fee-for-service model to value-driven health care, optometrists will be compensated based on how well they improve a patient's ocular health. Third-party payers will drive the rates. At the same time, demand will increase incrementally as baby boomers develop greater vision care needs. So, when optometrists need to see more patients, there will be more patients to see.

Optometrists who adapt value-driven healthcare models will find that ODLean can ease the transition by helping them see more patients in the same amount of time, while increasing their bottom line. In the short term, seeing more patients is an advantage; in the long term, it's a matter of growth and longevity.

3 Brace yourself: Patients have either already rated you and your practice online, or they will soon. You should take a hard look at your practice and work to improve your patient experience today to make sure the reviews are positive.

According to ODLean's research in practices across the country, when patients age 32 to 54 need a doctor, 39% of them get a referral first, 39% use an insurance directory and 17% start with the Internet. Most referrals in this group occur online through Facebook or other digital means, and most people check their referral online before making an appointment.

What are potential patients learning about your practice online? Do you have positive reviews on Google or Yahoo? High ratings on HealthGrades, RateMD, Angie's List and similar sites? Once negative reviews are posted, it's difficult to have them removed, so start creating an experience today that makes patients write positive reviews, which will help drive business to your door.

Consider this: The EHR system you install makes your data available to insurers, who in turn will evaluate, rate and recommend your practice. You've created a window into your practice for the whole world to see, so you have to make sure they're seeing your best side.

4 When you streamline patient flow and optimize your income, you may be able to avoid adding the cost of an associate or pricey square footage. When one doctor told ODLean he needed to hire an associate, the team evaluated his practice. Staff members were working at 50% to 80% capacity, while the doctor was working at 110% capacity. The doctor didn't need an associate. Instead, the team streamlined patient flow and delegated appropriately so the doctor and staff members would all be working at a sustainable 85% capacity.

The doctor completed 19% more comprehensive exams per day. His net revenue increased 35%, revenue per patient increased 20%, and his contact lens and spectacle capture rate increased 13%. Every penny he saved went straight to his bottom line. In 2 years, a $15,000 investment in ODLean returned $350,000 in take-home pay.

While some practice models correlate square footage to gross income, ODLean rejects that notion. When one practice was close to signing a lease on a larger space, the ODLean team improved patient flow and helped them utilize staff more effectively. The doctor went from 18 patients per day to 32 with no additional space or equipment.

The ODLean team often tells clients, “There's a hidden practice inside your practice.” They say the revenue is there, just waiting to be discovered. ODLean can help you find that “hidden gem” and prepare you for the future.

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Contact Chuck Smith at (904) 443-1081 or for more information

This article is the last in a six-part series about ODLean, a new kind of consultation service offered through The Vision Care Institute™, LLC.

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2011