Article Date: 12/1/2013

Purchasing
Technology
purchasing

Develop a Tech Game Plan

Stick to your practice's fundamentals to ensure successful implementation.

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APRIL JASPER, O. D.

I continue to be amazed at the strategies many businesses outside eye care are developing for purchasing technology. The reason: oftentimes it's “no strategy.”

We, as optometrists, are usually savvy about tech purchases, due to the way we are reimbursed for procedures. Also, many of us operate small businesses where every purchase has tremendous impact on cash flow.

As you consider your strategy for technology purchasing and implementation for next year, remember these principles.

1 Know your practice's vision.

Before making any decision for the practice/business, always consider your mission.

If your mission is to be the best in medical eye care and you have a significant number of glaucoma patients, put related medical equipment at the top of your technology wish list. If you are a vision therapy (VT) practice, make VT equipment or an enhanced VT room the priority.

2 Set goals based on your vision.

Think about where you want to be in your business in five years, then plan out your technology purchases in an effort to get you there. For example, if you plan on adding a specialty element to your practice, such as VT, your goals will include the purchase of equipment necessary to this specialty.

Create a flow chart that maps long-term goals, including the timing of when you want to include each piece of equipment in your practice. You may want to buy one piece of equipment per year based on a plan determined by your tax accountant and financial planner. For instance, if your goal is to be the ultimate orthokeratology practice, plan to purchase a topographer.

3 Develop a strategy for implementation.

The biggest mistake an eyecare practitioner could make in a technology game plan is neglecting to create an implementation strategy.

Use your flow chart to determine “why,” “how” and “when” you will utilize this new technology. Then keep metrics on the utilization, acceptance and profit realized with this technology.

Re-align your strategy as you evaluate these metrics until you find the strategy that best suits your practice. For example, if you plan to use a new OCT on an as-needed basis only but start to see value in a pre-screening type of utilization, create a new plan on how to implement it as part of an optional wellness exam.

4 Look at the big picture benefit.

Ideally, new technology will improve your immediate profit through the ability to bill for a procedure.

In addition, it should positively affect the overall customer experience in your practice, which impacts long-term practice growth. I have purchased numerous technologies that had no billable code, yet became a valuable part of my practice due to the increased efficiencies and exceptional customer experience that aligned with my vision/mission.

A valuable lesson

I have learned to look at everything I do through my patient's eyes. It's important you do the same.

If your technology game plan means nothing to your patients, then it is most likely not the game plan you should have. OM

DR. JASPER IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE IN WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. E-MAIL HER AT DRJASPER@AESWPB.COM, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: December 2013, page(s): 44