O.D. to O.D.


George Bernard Shaw said: “I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.”

As we begin 2019, what beginnings, opportunities and adventures come to mind? It is truly invigorating to think of a new year as a clean slate and an opportunity to create something wonderful.


When contemplating goals and dreams, I cannot help but take a look back. There was a time when I didn’t have an understanding of how to deal with past challenges in a positive way. I have since learned to use those challenges to help me identify areas for improvement. I then create a sketch and set goals for the future.

Here is an example of how my look back will help me set goals for 2019:

Accomplishments in 2018:

  1. Growth in net revenues of x%
  2. Increase in number of multiple pairs of x%
  3. Increase daily disposable lens patients to x%
  4. Increase in multifocal contact lens patients to x%
  5. Net promoter score consistently at 9 and 10

Challenges in 2018:

  1. Increased patient confusion of what eye care and quality eye wear is or should be
  2. Managed care changes for patients and the practice
  3. Increased number of patients on insurance for which we are not in their network

Goals for 2019:

  1. Increase net revenues to x%
  2. Increase number of multiple pairs to x%
  3. Increase number of patients in daily disposable lenses to x%
  4. Increase multifocal contact lens patients to x%
  5. Continue to evaluate current systems in place for how they bring value to patients
  6. Eliminate services patients don’t find valuable
  7. Add services of value to patients that we don’t currently offer


When evaluating your areas of challenge and creating a plan for 2019, it is as important to eliminate non-value services as it is to add new. A 2019 plan may not even include additions. For example, it may simply be better utilization of your current technology to allow you to increase efficiencies, so patients don’t have to spend as much time in the office.

Another attainable goal is to increase percentages in current areas of the practice that patients find valuable, such as specialty contact lenses, dry eye evaluations and multiple pairs of glasses.


So now that you have looked at the past, evaluated the challenges, determined where you have opportunity and created a sketch for improvement, where can things go wrong? Often, people substitute rational excuses for action. The most often used:

  1. I am too busy.
  2. I have too many projects already ongoing.
  3. I don’t have staff buy in.
  4. My practice is different.
  5. I don’t have the money.
  6. I failed to convert the sketch into a plan and follow through.


To achieve success and avoid excuses, keep in mind the “opportunity cost.” For example, if switching a patient to a multifocal daily disposable contact lens will provide additional revenue and (most importantly) delight the patient, then the cost of not achieving that goal (the cost of the missed opportunity) is patient dissatisfaction and associated lost revenues.

Next month, watch for ideas on how to convert your sketch into a plan. Until then, as Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece!” OM

Twitter: @DrAprilJasper
Facebook: @OptometricManagement