TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN
DIVERSE POPULATION –
You and Your Patients Speak the Same Language?
Barbara Anan Kogan, O.D.
In most communities across America,
patients are in need of vision care from a doctor who "speaks their language." This
includes patients of Hispanic or Asian decent as well as the number of newly adopted
children from such countries as Russia.
If you are not bilingual or multilingual, consider hiring
a staffer who speaks the most common languages other than English
in your community. Consider hiring optometrists from "the old country," on a part-time
basis to fill this communication need.
Practices have found success in marketing their services to non-English
patients through outreach to local religious institutions, schools (contact the
principal and the nurse), restaurants and other businesses that cater to a diverse
Another language that is a practice builder is sign language for
the hearing impaired. Sources for a staffer who can assist in sign language include
the local otolaryngology society or school for the deaf.
SNAPSHOT OF PRACTICE ECONOMICS
The Value of Contact Lens Patients
recently reported the results of a London Business School survey of Europe, which
concluded that over their lifetimes, a typical contact lens patient is more profitable
than the patient who wears spectacles only (OM April, "Which is More Profitable?"
page 65). New research from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
corroborates this conclusion with U.S. patients.
In a Vistakon-sponsored presentation held during the annual
AOA Congress, Kelly Kerksick, O.D., explained the findings of the Wharton study.
She said the data suggest that "the additional purchasing activities of contact
lens patients" boost a practice's revenues. These purchases include spectacles:
47% of the patients in the survey wear contact lenses and spectacles, 45.8% wear
spectacles only and 7% wear contacts only.
Over a five-year period, the contact/spectacle patients generated
$757, vs. $591 for spectacle only patients and $572 for contact lens-only patients.
Additionally, the contact/spectacle patients visited their doctors
an average of 1.54 times per year, while the contact lens-only group visited 1.39
times and the spectacle-only group visited 1.00 times. "The more often you see patients,
the more inclined they are to spend money on items such as sunglasses," says Dr.
Kerksick. (Dr. Kerksick's strategies for capturing the needs of patients are presented
on page 58.)
The survey results were based on the responses of 78 private practice
optometrists and 36 O.D.s who operated in retail settings. Each doctor selected
20 patients who had visited the practice recently and had a history with the practice.
The patients were required to have some type of vision correction and were not recent
Many Meetings Does it Take?
In a recent survey of optometric practices,
nearly half (48.3%) hold meetings once a month or less. The numbers for the
survey are based on responses from 174 readers who replied to a recent OM "Quick
Poll" on this site.
Practices hold staff meetings:
Once a month or less
1-3 times a month
2-4 times a week
Vistakon's "Moist" Daily
Vistakon recently introduced "1�Day
Acuvue Moist" daily disposable contact lenses in the United States. Made of
etafilcon A, the lenses employ Lacreon technology, a process that permanently
embeds a water holding ingredient, similar to that found in natural tears, into
the lens. According to Vistakon, this technology locks in moisture allowing eyes
to feel fresh and comfortable all day long.
Vistakon has begun introducing the lens at some
eyecare practices in the United States. The company expects to expand
distribution in the coming months.
The 1�Day Acuvue Moist and 1�Day Acuvue are the
only daily disposables with UV blocking. In addition, the FDA cleared both
lenses for patients who suffer symptoms associated with ocular allergies during
contact lens wear. A new Vistakon-sponsored survey reports 73% of contact lens
wearers suffer from eye allergy symptoms and of those, 54% find it very
uncomfortable to wear their lenses while suffering from allergies.
While most respondents said they do not wear
daily disposables, this modality may be the best alternative for allergy
sufferers "because allergens may build up on the lenses over time" says Leonard
Bielory, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, Director,
Division of Allergy/Immunology & Rheumatology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.
Sciences sales representatives will
begin detailing and sampling the CYNACON/OCuSOFT Lid Scrub family of
eyelid cleansers to existing ophthalmic and optometric customers.
appointed Dr. Joseph Boorady as COO. Previously, Dr. Boorady was VP and
executive director of the University Optometric Center at the SUNY College of
In the July continuing education article, the
chart on p. 31, "Solution and Lens Combination Staining," lists ReNu MultiPlus
incorrectly. The correct label is ReNu with MoistureLoc. The most up-to-date
multipurpose solutions grid can be found at www.staininggrid.com.
In June, "Billing & Coding" on p. 72 lists 99285
as the code for anterior segment photography. The correct code is 92285.
HR 2238 ENDORSED BY VISION
National Children's Vision Health Plan Continues to Gain Momentum
By the end of June, The Children's
Vision Improvement and Learning Readiness Act (H.R. 2238), neared the 220 cosponsor
mark. If enacted, the bill would establish a grant program for states to provide
vision assessment and follow-up care for children. It encourages states to educate
parents about the importance of vision health.
Three hundred organizations have endorsed the bill, including
the American Optometric Association, Vision Service Plan, Optical Women's Association,
Prevent Blindness America, Lighthouse International, National Association of Vision
Care Plans and the National Head Start Association.
The bill was introduced by Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)
and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), It was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health
in late May.
The VCA advocacy website,
www.2020advocacy.com, provides more
information, as well as sample letters to send to House members.
The Management & Business Academy (MBA) has
launched the site www.mba-ce.com,
which features practice management materials and practice advice.
Sponsored by CIBA Vision and
Essilor of America, the MBA site includes information and guidelines on a host of
practice business issues, including staff salaries and job descriptions, patient
loyalty, professionalism and productivity.
OM COLUMNIST RUNNINGER IS
Optometry Hall of Fame Announces Inductees
year, the National Optometry Hall of Fame (www.ooa.org/HallofFame.html) will induct
educators, researchers, political activists and a humorist. At an induction ceremony
in October during the Eastwest Eye Conference in Cleveland, the Hall of Fame will
recognize John Costabile, O.D.; Anthony Cullen, MSc, O.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.; Merton
Flom, O.D., Ph.D.; Gideon Lang, O.D.; John D. Robinson, O.D.; LL.D.; Jack Runninger,
O.D.; and Damien Smith, O.D., Ph.D.
worked to expand optometry's scope of practice. As the secretary-treasurer of the
North Carolina State Optometric Society for over 30 years, he advocated that society
members become active participants in the political process. He educated colleagues
in the use of diagnostic and therapeutic agents and is credited with building a
grassroots political network, "which became the envy of all optometry," according
to the Hall of Fame.
Cullen, MSc, O.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.
As a clinician, educator, researcher, administrator and volunteer,
serves as an advisor to the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He
is an authority on ocular environmental toxicology specializing in the effects of
ultraviolet radiation on the eye and environmental safety issues. Dr. Cullen is
a past president of the American Academy of Optometry. He has served on the AOA
Council on Clinical Optometric Care, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry
and the Council of the College of Optometrists in Ontario.
Dr. Flom is noted as a leader in teaching,
research and professional service in the schools of optometry at the University
of California Berkeley and at the University of Houston. Noted for his work in binocular
vision, Dr. Flom is a past president of the American Academy of Optometry. He received
an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York.
Flom, O.D., Ph.D.
When he returned from service in World War II, Dr.
Lang was appalled to learn that
as an optometrist, he could not legally certify blindness. He quickly became involved
in politics at the local, state and national levels. A pioneer in political activism
in optometry, Dr. Lang pursued changes to the Social Security Act that would allow
patients the right to choose a physician skilled in diseases of the eye or an optometrist.
As the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of
Optometry, Dr. Robinson
has advocated that optometrists be permitted to render the broadest range of care
within the laws of North Carolina. The state enacted its therapeutic drug law when
Dr. Robinson was president of the North Carolina Optometric Society.
D. Robinson, O.D.; LL.D.
Often compared to humorist Will Rogers, Dr.
Runninger (a columnist and past
editor of OM), has been active in state and national optometric organizations for
over 50 years. Dr. Runninger, a 1947 graduate of the Southern College of Optometry,
where he received an honorary degree of doctor of ocular science, has entertained
and educated optometrists through his lectures, journal articles, books and of course,
his columns in OM.
Dr. Smith has been a leader of international
optometric interests for 30 years. During his term as president of the World Council
of Optometry, the WCO began official relations with the World Health Organization,
a relationship that placed optometry into the mainstream of international public
health issues and the global fight to prevent blindness and visual impairment. He
also served as the executive director of the Australian Optometric Association.
The National Optometry Hall of Fame recognizes persons whose lifetime
achievements have advanced the profession of optometry.
Smith, O.D., Ph.D
Optometric Management, Issue: August 2006