Article Date: 2/1/2012

An Optometrist's To-Do List for 2012
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An Optometrist's To-Do List for 2012

Consider making these changes to increase your chance of success.

Richard S. Kattouf, O.D., D.O.S.

Q Optometry has always been faced with challenges and exciting changes. What are the most important things for private practitioners to implement in 2012 to increase their chance of financial success?

Dr. M.C. Koslow, via e-mail

A: Below I have listed the most critical areas for change in 2012. As you make any changes, maintain check-and-balance systems to ensure that your practice does not “float back” into its old behavioral patterns.

Pre-appoint all patients for annual eye health exams. Do not “ask” the patient. Schedule each annual appointment the day before the patient arrives for the current year's exam. Conclude the exam by saying, “Susan, I have reserved a time for your eye-health examination for next year. My staff will notify you a month in advance of the appointment.” Then, hand the patient the pre-appointment card.
Note: You want to strive for a 60% recall efficiency — 60 patients out of every 100 “pre-appoints” must respond to the recall. This can only be successful if you and your staff educate patients about preventive eye health care with proper scripting. Optometry's recall efficiency is only 20%. An improvement to 60% can be a huge financial boost to your practice.
Control your practice. Do not allow it to control you. Many O.D.s allow staff to embezzle time, money and product. Owners of these practices lack awareness and check-and-balance systems to manage staff.
Do not allow employees to dictate their schedules, as you have an office to operate and patients to serve. It is a “death wish” to staff morale to issue special schedules for individual employees.
Lower your cost of goods (C.O.G.s). Keep your C.O.G.s at or below 29% of your gross income.
Add frames to increase unit sales. Add at least 12 exclusive frames to your inventory. The retail fee should go up to $1,000 or more. When styling patients, start with high-end frames. Then, present midline frames and finally, low-end frames. This presentation typically increases the unit-sale per frame.
Make “practice separation” a part of your practice. Most O.D.s practice in the same manner. Choose to add optometric specialties (such as low vision, etc.) that will set you apart from your competition. Also, consider private-pay services, such as sports vision therapy, that your patients may need, which also offer high-net income.
Maximize your diagnostic and therapeutic licensure. For example, you should perform A-Scans, and see all referred cataract patients one-day postop. These referrals are your patients. Determine and maximize the pre- and post-op care within your license. By doing so, you will increase profits. And when you write the prescription, you make a positive impression on the patient.
Invest in a new clinical or optical instrument annually. Make sure all patients are scripted on your new equipment, so they understand how it can benefit them.
Ensure that your medical coding and billing is compliant. This will prevent huge fines, penalties and interest. It will also raise your reimbursement levels.

I could write several more to the list, but space is an issue. Remember, you must implement positive change, and keep it going. OM


DR. KATTOUF IS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF TWO MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTING COMPANIES. FOR INFORMATION, CALL (800) 745-EYES, OR E-MAIL HIM AT ADVANCEDEYECARE@HOTMAIL.COM. THE INFORMATION IN THIS COLUMN IS BASED ON ACTUAL CONSULTING FILES.

Optometric Management, Volume: 47 , Issue: February 2012, page(s): 24