Article Date: 6/1/2013

Business Intelligence
business intelligence

Gathering Intelligence

Use business intelligence to evaluate your practice.



Optometrists are excellent clinicians, yet sometimes we operate under the false perception that a good clinician always excels in business. In fact, it can take many less-than-stellar years in business to realize that one’s level of professional expertise does not equal business acumen.

Today, many systems are available to help us collect, analyze, organize and track critical business information.

Here, I explain why you should consider utilizing business intelligence (BI) software.

It provides in-depth information.

Many of us currently use practice management software that gives us the ability to pull some BI data, such as patient demographics, revenue per month, number of contact lens exams and comprehensive eye health exams. BI software, which can link with your practice management software, provides more in-depth information on your business, such as revenue per frame per insurance company.

It reveals potential opportunities.

BI enables us to see opportunities that exist so that we can alter the course of our future.

For example, if you wanted to identify the number of patients who present with vision plans, the BI software can capture this trend and track statistics associated with each vision plan, such as the amount of money made per frame.


If you note that the reimbursement is low, you can talk with your staff about creating a strategy to change this, implement this strategy and then analyze the data produced daily to analyze the effectiveness of this strategy. One such strategy could be to take advantage of frame manufacturers that sell frames at a discount. This may include close-outs, discontinued frames or prices that are discounted because of participation in various buying group organizations or because of bulk purchases. The second part of the profitability equation is to price these frames appropriately based on your business’ pricing structure. Remember, your retail prices should be based on the standard frame wholesale price, according to the frames data book, not what you actually bought them for.

Another great piece of information to have on a timely basis is revenue per patient per doctor and/or optician. If BI shows that one doctor has much higher revenue per patient than the rest, you can then look for best practices, and implement them quickly throughout the rest of the practice. It could be that one doctor uses technology in the exam room to demonstrate specific lens materials and treatments and prescribes certain products where the other doctors do not. If all the doctors learn from each other, this could dramatically benefit the patients and the practice.

Keeping up with the competition

Simply put, “You cannot affect that which you do not measure.” Retail giants, including our competition, utilize BI to determine market trends. Even Major League Baseball uses BI (have you seen Moneyball?).

BI, when implemented and used on a regular basis, can change your practice for the better. You just have to be willing to use it. OM


Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: June 2013, page(s): 68