THE UNIQUE SIDE OF OPTOMETRY
Many Dry Eyes in the House
Creating a dry eye center has helped three partners grow their practice.
CORRIE PELC, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR SACRAMENTO, CALIF.
Roughly seven years ago, optometrists Steve Loomis, Kent Yount and Tara DeRose incorporated a Dry Eye Center into their practice, becoming the Mountain Vista
Eye Care and Dry Eye Center in Littleton, Colo. Dr. Loomis says the idea came from a CE meeting on new dry eye disease (DED) treatments run, in part, by an O.D. who established a DED clinic within his own practice.
Dry Eye Center
The Dry Eye Center offers a refined approach to the condition, as Drs. Loomis, Yount and DeRose say they’ve increased their understanding and study of DED to provide tailored treatment plans.
Dr. DeRose says it has enabled her and her colleagues to effectively treat contact lens-related DED, in particular, precluding patients from dropping out of lens wear.
“Being in Colorado, we have so many patients who are active and want to be in contact lenses,” she says. “We can really give them freedom from glasses when we can treat their dryness and get them comfortable in contact lenses.”
Dr. Loomis says adding the Dry Eye Center to the practice’s name has worked nicely in delivering the message to DED patients that it’s a place they can “come and be listened and responded to.”
In addition to making the Dry Eye Center part of the practice’s name, the partners say they have used other marketing tools to publicize it.
For instance, Dr. Yount says they improved their patient survey to systematically ask questions about lifestyle, medication and symptoms that might provide insight to a patient’s DED severity.
Dr. DeRose adds the practice’s on-hold message system, practice website, Facebook page and quarterly e-mail newsletter include DED education.
Further, the practice has been involved in four industry-sponsored DED studies, which the doctors say have garnered them patients.
“We got a lot of new patients who came to us specifically to participate in the dry eye studies, and now many of them [have become] long-term patients,” she says.
Dr. Loomis says focusing on DED has helped grow their patient base, thanks to referrals.
“Dry eye [disease] patients become long-term patients, and they are ones who appreciate you took their concerns seriously,” he explains. “Once you have a dry eye patient, they are yours for life.”
Advice for others
When considering focusing on a specialty, Dr. Yount says to select one on which you are prepared to continually amass education.
“You have to form an interest in it so you can address it with confidence when a patient who has the condition presents to you,” he says. “This generates patient referrals.”
Dr. Loomis says, regardless of the specialty, remember to always remain patient-centric, and pick something you enjoy.
“That combination will always improve the bottom line all by itself,” he says. OM
DO YOU HAVE A UNIQUE PRACTICE? E-MAIL JENNIFER.KIRBY@PENTAVISIONMEDIA.COM. OM OFFERS AN HONORARIUM FOR PUBLISHED SUBMISSIONS.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: October 2013, page(s): 46