o.d. to o.d.
I Make a Prediction? Your
Year Will End ...
in one of three ways. But as is always the case, the future is in squarely your hands.
WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O. Chief Optometric Editor
I write this, summer became a memory only two days ago. For optometry the back-to-school
push is complete and practitioners are doing one of three things.
One group of optometrists is settling in for
their slow-down for the fall. Others are, for the first time, looking at their production
for the year and trying to decide whether their practice has grown. Finally, others
are already hibernating, settled in for their long winter's nap.
I'd like to make a prediction of how
all three of these groups will finish the year.
The complacent ones
The first group settling in for the fall slow-down
will finish the year and nothing more. Their complacency dictates that the market
will guide their practice to greater or lesser practice growth and/or profit as
opposed to them or their practice driving the market.
The second group who are just now, and for the
first time in 2006, looking at their production and practice patient flow to see
how they're doing, will tell you that they didn't need to monitor their practice
all year long because they "have a feel" for how they are doing, that their finger
is on the pulse of the practice and that they have a sense that everything has been
This group will act in one of three
1. They will recognize that once again
their practice hasn't grow or in fact that it may have shrunk. They can always blame
the discount stores or managed care, so there's no need to take responsibility for
2. In an attempt to produce enough
between now and the end of the year to save themselves from the doldrums
they will panic and begin to flog their staff as well as their recall system,
neither of which they have paid any attention to all year long.
3. They will recognize that a year's
productivity is not a function of taking a snap shot of their performance once 75%
of the production calendar has passed them by. They will begin to regularly monitor
their performance and attempt to impact their market, rather than letting the market
Now for the nappers: I think anyone could predict
their outcome and unfortunately, it's not pretty. The nappers won't use the slower
time of the year as an opportunity to plan for the future, educate themselves as
to better billing and coding, or seek opportunities to train their staff and enhance
their efficiency. They don't feel the need because everything will rock along the
way it always has.
The optometry that the nappers participate
in is alarmingly not that rare. In fact, it's a rather large group. The nappers
are not a group comprised only of older practitioners, nor are they only the optometrists
in private practice or the ones who aren't therapeutically certified. They are everywhere
and cut across all modes of practice.
Perhaps this is why I've heard that
optometry is a sleeping giant.
Optometric Management, Issue: October 2006