Article

CLINICAL: CONTACT LENSES

EVALUATE TRENDS

OBSERVE METRICS, IDENTIFY ACTION POINTS AND EXECUTE CHANGE

TO MAINTAIN a healthy business, it’s important to understand metrics and evaluate trends. Here, I discuss two important contact lens statistics, so you can calculate, evaluate and understand where changes can, and should, be made.

1 CONTACT LENS CAPTURE RATE

Definition: This is the percentage of patients who have purchased contact lenses from your practice. A total of 100% is achieved when all those to whom you have prescribed contact lenses also purchase them from your practice.

How to find it: It is the number of patients who place an order for contact lenses divided by the number of patients who received an authorized contact lens prescription for that specific period of time.

Goal: As a general rule, the goal for my office is 80%, but there is no reason this should not be 100%.

Evaluate the stability of this number through time. Just like your frame capture rate, this number may vary from month to month, but look at the trends. Does this number trend up or down through a series of months? If you are losing contact lens orders, evaluate why. Consider the following steps:

a. Reconsider the offering. Some manufacturers have their older products deeply discounted or privately labeled at online or big box retailers. If that is your “go-to” lens, consider moving patients in a different direction because your patients deserve the best contact lenses for their eyes, and it is a little easier to compete on the price, as newer technology lenses are not as commoditized in the market.

b. Re-evaluate your pricing. Your prices may be too high compared to other retailers. To compare, view the average prices per box published by contact lens distributors. Evaluate quarterly, as prices fluctuate often.

What’s more, patients have options on where to order their contact lenses, but your office will always provide better service because you understand your patient’s visual system. Be sure to communicate this selling point to your patients.

“We understand there are various places you can order your contact lenses from, but I think you will find our prices competitive, and our service will exceed everyone [else’s]. If something changes with your prescription or comfort, we will make it right for you.”

c. Improve your patients’ contact lens-buying experience. It needs to be easy to order lenses from your office. Evaluate the process, from placing the order (telephone, text, online, etc.) to receiving the product. Is there something your office can do to improve that process?

2 PERCENT CHANGE FOR CONTACT LENS SALES

Definition: This is the percentage of change, either growth or regression, of contact lens sales through a period of time.

How to find it: Subtract year two sales from year one sales. Take this value, and divide it by year one sales, and multiply this value by 100, which equals the percent change.

Goal: Our current 7.5 billion contact lens industry has, “grown 4% to 5% every year for eight straight years,” according to Contact Lens Spectrum, a sister publication of Optometric Management. How does your office compare?

Observe the rate of your contact lens sales growth — or, possibly, regression — through long periods of time, such as five, eight or 10 years. Measure the percent change against the industry norm. Has your office outpaced the industry norm, or has your office lagged behind industry growth? If you are lagging behind, understand why.

a. Consider your contact lens culture. Are you and your staff discussing contact lenses with each and every patient? If not, consider changing your pretest protocol or questionnaire to address contact lens wear. New contact lens options in varying modalities, such as spherical and toric, are available for just about every visual diagnosis. Even if patients have dropped out of contact lenses for some specific reason, discuss newer options with them. You will be surprised at the number of dropouts who are ready to try again!

b. Look at your contact lens prescribing mix. Are you still prescribing older technology prescribed by every other private and retail eye care provider in your area? Consider differentiating your practice in as many ways as you can, so patients know they’re getting a higher level of patient care from you, which will lead to a higher level of patient connection and, thus, increased sales.

These metrics help you to monitor the health of your contact lens business.
stock.adobe.com

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

The numbers mentioned above may be pulled from your EHR or calculated from data in your practice management system. In addition, third party datamining companies may dig even deeper into your specific data. Any way you measure the numbers, stay ahead of the curve, and understand your specific contact lens trends. OM