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BUSINESS: Industry Profile

Facilitating Patient Care

Sergio Duplan is region president for North American Operations at Alcon Inc. In this exclusive interview, he answers, in part, our questions about the immediate challenges facing optometry and Alcon’s efforts to help O.D.s address these challenges.

Optometric Management (OM): How has your experience led to your current position?

Sergio Duplan (SD): With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, I started my professional career at Procter & Gamble. After receiving an MBA degree from The Wharton School, I worked in several positions at Eli Lilly and Novartis before joining Alcon in 2012. A common thread [throughout my career] is working with customer-focused companies that make a real difference in people’s lives.

OM: What, in your opinion, are the greatest immediate challenges facing optometry, and what opportunities can be leveraged to overcome them?

SD: The eye care landscape is becoming increasingly complex, due to rapidly evolving patient and practice needs, as well as ongoing technology advances — including internet-based competition, online refraction and subscription models, to name a few. Patient needs are evolving with increased screen time, undiagnosed dry eye and presbyopia. A willingness to try new things and never stop learning — whether getting training on new technologies, effectively using social media or finding new ways to grow your practice — is critical for practice success. Delivering a personal experience to patients, one that best meets their needs, is how ECPs can continually differentiate their practices.

OM: What is Alcon doing to help optometrists address these challenges?

SD: ECPs are at the frontline of eye care and often have lifelong relationships with their patients. For this reason, Alcon is putting more resources into supporting the education and training of ECPs to help them further educate [their] patients. This includes a wide variety of learning experiences, from hands-on training at our Alcon Experience Center, to cutting edge virtual reality training, like our newly launched multifocal training. ECPs can find more than 700 training videos and an online version of the Virtual Eye Experience on AlconExperienceAcademy.com .

(OM): Does Alcon offer any ECP tools for social media?

SD: Alcon offers a Marketing Portal that provides comprehensive social media resources [to help] ECPs to better reach patients. Furthermore, we intend to invest and innovate in digital technology to develop new business models [that will] allow ECPs to better engage with patients.

OM: What does the profession need to know about Alcon in the coming year?

SD: Patients are at the center of everything we do and at the heart of our commitment to help people see better. Alcon is focused on continuing to bring meaningful innovations — both in products and programs — that support eye care needs throughout an individual’s lifetime, deepening our focus on patient and practice outcomes.

Our recent acquisition of Tear Film Innovations Inc. and its iLux device is a great example of how we’re bringing this to life. Another example is our multifocal contact lens portfolio that helps patients remain in contact lenses, while driving patient satisfaction and practice loyalty.

OM: How can optometry best work with industry to ensure both thrive?

SD: Being open to ongoing advancements in contact lens technology and dry eye solutions and giving your patients access to them is a great way to benefit your patients and your practice. OM