Article Date: 12/1/2002

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How to Make $500,000 More --
Without seeing one extra patient.
Gary Gerber, O.D.

A lot of today's equipment promises to secure your financial future. Trade shows are a great place to see this in action. But when it comes to increasing profitability, you already have all the equipment and tools that you need. I'll explain what I mean.

ILLUSTRATION GRAHAM PARSLOW

Missing a great opportunity

Your exam chair transforms a person into a patient who's ready to hear and act upon your recommendations. Our consultants frequently sit in on their client's patient exams and they've noticed that most doctors struggle more with case presentation then they might while performing Goldmann tonometry on an apprehensive, lid squeezing child.

In the case of the apprehensive child, O.D.s readily take command of the situation. They're firm and authoritative, convincing without being overbearing. Yet when presenting their recommendations for ophthalmic products or additional tests, they frequently flounder. At this point, they lose eye contact and their body language changes as they try and win the patient over to their clinical way of thinking.

Hesitating and never really delivering a firm message, the verbal exchange with the patient typically ends with him asking, "Gee doc, what do you think I should do?"

Identifying common errors

Hearing this repeatedly, our consultants looked at the videotapes we make during client visits and searched for instances where doctors could've easily generated more profit per patient simply by recommending the best treatment, contact lens, ophthalmic lens, etc. At no point would there have been any "hard selling."

After watching the videotapes, we came up with seven common mistakes.

1. O.D.s didn't tell patients wearing older technology contact lenses about newer and better (and more profitable) modalities such as Ortho-K or single-use lenses.

2. Unless patients ask, O.D.s didn't tell them they could wear contact lenses instead of eyeglasses.

3. O.D.s rarely discussed refractive surgery unless again, the patient brought it up himself.

4. O.D.s who treated patients with common conditions such as posterior vitreous detachments told them to come back in one year instead of a shorter time interval.

5. Our clients weren't informing computer users about CVS-appropriate vision correction.

6. O.D.s rarely discussed prescription sunglasses.

7. Patients not needing a prescription change weren't told about the need for a spare pair of glasses or more fashionable frame styles.

Making some changes

Had our clients presented these recommendations to patients and had only half of the patients acted on them, the typical practice would have increased their profits by a considerable $500,000!

We've seen significant improvements in bottom-line profits by helping doctors avoid wishy-washy terminology, poor body language and a host of other common mistakes. Without taking doctors out of their individual comfort zones, we've helped them take advantage of hidden revenue streams that are coursing through their practices.

Say "yes" to increasing profits

Videotape yourself with your next patient and ask, "Could I have been more convincing, direct and assertive without being pompous and condescending?" The answer is often "Yes." And that small "yes" can lead to big profits.

DR. GERBER IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE POWER PRACTICE, A COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN MAKING OPTOMETRISTS MORE PROFITABLE. LEARN MORE AT WWW.POWERPRACTICE.COM OR CALL DR. GERBER AT (800) 867-9303.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: December 2002