Article Date: 7/1/2005

Your Job in the Public Eye
Leverage your practice in the community by offering unsurpassed (public) service.

Your practice is seen from at least three perspectives other than your own. Your staff, your patients and the community each have their own unique views, which contribute to the health of a practice. Examples include:

1. When employees view the practice in a positive light, staff morale and productivity are high.

2. Practices that distinguish themselves among patients earn referrals and patient loyalty.

3. The "public" value of a practice increases when it performs a community service, such as free screening or educational seminar.

Going public

The community perspective is valuable even if it lacks the direct practice impact associated with staff and patient perspectives. A number of initiatives can improve your practice in the public's eye.

One of the most effective is charity. On a local level, even efforts that appear minimal can generate significant rewards. When a practice sponsored a litter pick-up in a local park, it received a number of benefits. First, it attracted new patients and referrals. Next, it garnered publicity in the local media. But these both were side effects. The practice owner commented on how good it felt to support the community. The act of contributing to community improvements was enough, even if the practice didn't gain additional patients.

The screening door is open

Many practices offer no-cost diagnostic screening and health assessments. These numbers will continue to grow through programs such as the American Optometric Association's InfantSEE, a public health program aimed at diagnosis of early vision problems (see "O.D. to O.D." on page 4). Opportunities also exist in presenting seminars to the public on any number of eye-related issues.

How do you find the most effective options for community service? Volunteer organizers recommend that you investigate your community's needs. As G. Donald Gale, Ph.D., notes, the pessimist sees the glass half-empty, the optimist sees it half-full, the giving person starts to look for someone who might be thirsty.

Under new management

It's a pleasure for me to announce that Michelle Boyles has accepted the position of managing editor with Optometric Management. Michelle has five years experience working for optometry-related publications. I'm confident that you'll see the results of her positive, can-do attitude and her professionalism starting with the pages of this issue.

Optometric Management, Issue: July 2005