Article Date: 3/1/2006

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Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

IN MEMORIAM

On February 13, 2006, my business partner and dear friend Bob Boucher, 59 years old, passed away after battling a serious illness for the past few months. Bob was a wonderful role model for all who knew him. His business savvy, knowledge and experience impacted the lives of so many in both vision care and business publishing over many years.

A 1968 graduate of Bucknell University, Bob started his business-publishing career at The Chilton Company in 1969. During the next 23 years, Bob worked for The U.S. Business Press, Gordon Publications and served as President and CEO of Gralla Publications in New York. In 1992, Bob was recruited by the equity firm Brentwood and Associates to form Cardinal Business Media as President and CEO. Over the next five years, Cardinal grew to be a dominant player in business publishing, serving numerous specialty areas including the optical and vision care markets. In 1997, I had the privilege of acquiring the vision care titles and a number of technology publications with Bob, and Boucher Communications Inc. was formed. The business grew steadily and by 2005, we were the publishers of five leading eyecare-related publications, Ophthalmology Management, Optometric Management, Eyecare Business, Contact Lens Spectrum and our newest publication, Retinal Physician, which we launched in 2004. Along with his tireless work in the office, Bob was also active on several boards, as well as the American Business Media.

In September 2005, we sold our company to Wolters Kluwer, a leading provider of healthcare communications around the world. As I look back over our years together in business, I realize how fortunate I was to know such a great man. Speaking for our employees, colleagues and many industry friends, Bob will be missed by everyone he touched in his life.

Bob is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, his sons, Michael and Brian, his parents, Robert N. Boucher, Sr., and Charlotte K. Boucher, five grandchildren, and his brother, David M. Boucher.

The family is requesting donations in Bob's memory be made to the American Brain Tumor Association (1-800-886-2282 or hope.abta.org).

-- Pat Herron, Executive Publisher, LWW VisionCare

SAME EFFICACY — LOWER EXPOSURE

Alphagan P 0.1%


New Alphagan Formulation Announced

Allergan has introduced Alphagan P (brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic solution) 0.1%, a new formulation of the original Alphagan 0.2% and Alphagan P 0.15%. This new

 treatment for open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension was designed to ensure that patients receive maximal therapeutic efficacy, while the lower dose of brimonidine (0.1%) significantly reduces patient exposure to the drug.

Results from a 12-month clinical trial show that IOP reductions achieved with Alphagan P 0.1% ophthalmic solution were clinically equivalent to those reached with Alphagan 0.2%. The difference in mean IOP reductions between Alphagan P 0.1% and Alphagan 0.2% was less than 1mm Hg at all time points over a 12-month follow-up period.

DO YOU SET THE BAR TOO LOW?
Pop Quiz: A Quick Test of Your Loyalty I.Q.

"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinson and Claire Brand, authors of "Emotion Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, 2001). With that in mind, here's a quick test of your Loyalty I.Q.

TRUE OR FALSE?

►Patient retention is the same thing as patient loyalty.

►The outcome of a visit determines a patient's evaluation of the experience.

►The goal of most transactions is to meet patient expectations 100%.

FALSE. Patient retention is not the same thing as patient loyalty. If yours is the only optometric practice in town, you'll retain your patients. Suppose, however, other practices, perhaps lower-cost ones, open in your area? Will your patients remain loyal? Loyalty implies a choice. It's a very important distinction.

FALSE. Patients typically use two criteria to evaluate their overall experience: process and outcome. Both must match the client's expectations to be judged satisfactory. If either falls short, it will result in a negative experience. For example, if your diagnosis and Rx successfully resolve a patient's vision problem but the receptionist is rude, the patient's overall evaluation will be negative. If you and your staff provide five-star service but fall short in the patient's mind on the comfort of contact lenses, the evaluation will again be negative. What this means is that the caring is as important as the care itself.

TRUE. But that's the problem. Many optometric practices set the bar too low, at the expectation level, and thus only provide the basics of what patients expect. "Core service doesn't generate loyalty," says Stephanie A. Busty, a training specialist at New York City's Beth Israel Hospital. "It's getting the service up to extraordinary levels. We want to exceed expecta-tions. We want to knock their socks off." (E.B. Fein, "Hospitals Get Hoteliers' Service Lessons," The New York Times, July 24, 1995, B1, B6)

-- By Bob Levoy, O.D.

FDA APPROVAL & CLEARANCE

The FDA recently approved Exubera (insulin human [rDNA origin], Pfizer), a dry powder insulin that is inhaled using a handheld inhaler. Exubera is the first inhaled and non-injectable insulin option in the United States since the introduction of insulin more than 80 years ago.

 ►The FDA has approved ISTA Pharmaceuticals' supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for Xibrom (bromfenac ophthalmic solution) 0.09%, expanding Xibrom's indications to include the treatment of pain following cataract surgery. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory solution was originally approved for the treatment of ocular inflammation following cataract surgery.

Heidelberg Engineering GmbH has received FDA clearance for the company's SL-OCT product, the first commercial optical coherence tomography device used for cross-sectional anterior segment imaging. The SL-OCT provides easy-to-use, noncontact cross-sectional scans of the anterior segment. Chamber angle, pachymetry, flap thickness, corneal curvature and comprehensive biometric measurements are possible with the instrument, as well as pre- and post-surgical comparisons.

NEW POSITION FOR EYECARE VETERAN
Vistakon Appoints Clompus as Director

Richard Clompus, O.D.

Vistakon has named Richard Clompus, O.D., to the newly-created role of director, Professional Development. Dr. Clompus will be responsible for managing Vistakon's professional development programs for current practitioners.

In his 26 years in the vision care industry, Dr. Clompus managed his own primary care optometric practice, where he provided comprehensive family eye care, contact lens and low vision rehabilitation services. He has also served as a clinical faculty member of The Eye Institute at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Most recently he was vice president, Professional Affairs for The Spectacle Lens Group of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

O.D. NOTEBOOK
COMPANY NEWS

Marco recently broke ground on new space to compliment the company's existing facility in Jacksonville, Fla. Marco will use the 10,000 square-foot addition for technician training on the EPIC Refraction System, additional staff and the increasing demand for inventory.

AWARDS

Transitions Optical named Diversified Ophthalmics the 2005 Transitions Lab of the Year. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based lab was recognized during the 10th-annual Transitions Academy in Orlando, Fla.

►Lisa G. Wohl, M.D., recently received the Paragon CRT Eye Care Practitioner of the Year Award for 2005. This 12-month national Eye Care Practitioner program is based on postcards from patients, recognizing their ECP for providing outstanding service and patient care related to their personal experience of wearing Paragon CRT lenses for overnight corneal reshaping. Dr. Wohl fit over 200 patients with CRT lenses.

►The Power Practice, an optometric consulting company, recently named Dr. John Burns and his team at Eye Design in Clinton, Md., as the "Practice of the Year for 2005." The award is given each year to practices that demonstrate exemplary clinical skills and patient care services.

eye.site

Lighthouse International now offers an online glaucoma test (lighthouse.org/glaucoma). The Peristat visual fields test, the first online glaucoma test to receive FDA clearance, takes two to three minutes per eye to complete and will cost users a fee of $15. Eyecare professionals evaluate the responses and e-mail them to patients within 24 hours. If results indicate glaucoma is a possibility, test takers will be asked to see an eye care specialist.

IMPROVING OPTOMETRIC COMMUNICATION
What Can Internet Groups Offer Optometry?

"Chatting," has been popular since the introduction of the World Wide Web, but professionals are taking it a step further.

Several Web-based communities are now devoted specifically to optometric interests. Each uses a slightly different method of connecting its members. List serve communities, such as Optcom, use e-mail to distribute messages to all of the list's subscribers. Members can send messages and reply to others. VisionCareForums.com (which provides a forum for Optometric Management and other LWW Visioncare publications) and ODwire.org (formerly Seniordoc.org) are bulletin-board services that groups messages together by subject headings. All members have access to the bulletin board, but each has the ability to choose which messages to read. ODwire users can subscribe to receive messages under a certain heading, but they will not receive all messages as through the list serve option. Each choice has its advantages.

Online communities offer O.D.s something they can't get at a local association meeting, says Richard Hom, O.D., of San Mateo, Calif., and moderator for ODwire.org's computer/software section. "The solo practitioner can't talk to the O.D. down the street because that's his competition." Here, they can ask questions anonymously to colleagues all over the globe.

Online communities also offer O.D.s the chance to compare experiences with software, equipment, clinical presentations, etc. "Sometimes doctors are unaware of the same problem happening all across the country," says Dr. Hom.

Some communities also offer help from industry experts. The success of ODwire.org spawned the creation of Proactive Optometric Physicians (POP), a group that offers members one-on-one consultations with consultants who are retained by the site. This is especially helpful, for example, if a doctor has a legal problem. POP members also benefit from buying-group discounts.

Online communities offer the benefits of just that, a community, all at the click of the mouse.

WORTHY CAUSES

The Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes (SOLCIOE) vision program is urging all members of the American Optometric Association to enroll in the Special Olympics Provider Directory, a health care provider list for people with disabilities in North America.

Optometrists are also invited to join their local SOLCIOE program. SOLCIOE, which was funded as a subprogram of the AOA Sports Vision Section, provides vision care to persons with intellectual disabilities. 

To enroll in the directory, log on to www.specialolympics.org/provider directory. For further information on SOLCIOE, please contact: Paul Berman, O.D., F.A.A.O., Global Clinical Advisor & Founder, SOCLIOE, at pberman2020@optonline.net

Marketing & Promotions

Eyecessorize, the fashion and lifestyle initiative of the Vision Council of America (VCA), shared the latest trends in eyewear and sunwear with over 30 million Americans in 2005, says the council. Top placements included the New York Post, Life and Style Weekly, Us Weekly, a number of newspapers and broadcast coverage in two segments on the CBS Early Show.

►Vision-Ease Lens, a leading polycarbonate ophthalmic lens company, announced an "Ultimate Rewards Program," which rewards ECPs for dispensing Vision-Ease Lens products. For more information, call (800) 328-3449 or visit their Web site at www.vision-ease.com.

Correction

In the February issue of Optometric Management, the headline on p. 15 incorrectly referenced the CooperVision Biomedics XC as a silicone hydrogel lens. It is a PC hydrogel lens. In the chart on p. 74, the Biomedics XC was also incorrectly listed as a silicone hydrogel lens. We regret the error.



Optometric Management, Issue: March 2006