This issue marks the 800thOM Tip of the Week! On this special occasion, I want to share an inside scoop with our loyal readers about some exciting news: I have just completed writing and publishing a new book, which is a compilation of tip articles from the past 15 years. The title of the book is: Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week.
Over the years of writing this weekly series, readers have often suggested that I put the tips into book format. Many readers have asked for a better way to look up articles by title or topic category and I couldn’t agree more. The book is organized by topic into 20 chapters and the tips are sections within each chapter. There is also an index of key words. With over 700 pages, it really is a comprehensive book on practice management. It is designed to serve as a reference for eye care professionals and it also many be used as a textbook for optometry students.
Practice Management in Optometry is much more than a collection of articles. Because I had so much content to work with, I selected only the best articles and eliminated outdated and redundant material. I spent many hours reviewing, selecting, updating and expanding the tip articles into sections for this book.
A bit of history about the tip series
I launched the Optometric Management Tip of the Week series in January 2002. At that time, the use of the internet and email was still somewhat novel. America Online (AOL) was one of the nation’s largest service providers and it charged its users by the hour until shortly before that. About 1/3 of all internet users were using dial-up modems in 2001. But magazines and newspapers were already seeing the trend that the printed word could be delivered so much easier and cheaper via electronic means. I was Chief Optometric Editor of Optometric Management magazine at the time and I thought we could embrace the new technology in the form of a weekly e-newsletter.
I strongly believed there was tremendous value in a good idea and there were many good ideas in existence that most ODs did not know about. And there were millions more ideas that we had not thought of yet. I love the experience of finding a new idea (on my own or shared with me by a colleague) and implementing it in my practice. On many occasions, I saw a new idea turn into increased profitability or efficiency and I found that extremely exciting. I saw the OMTOTW as a way to share those new and potentially big ideas with other optometrists.
I must admit that I really did not know if the tip of the week venture would be successful or how long it would last. I didn’t know I would write an article per week for over 15 years. As I revised and organized the articles for this book, I discovered that I have written well over one million words in this tip series. What I did know was that I had a passion for practice management and I loved to teach. I liked to write in a casual, conversational style and I enjoyed making topics simple and practical.
It turned out that ODs liked it also. The tip series caught on and became one of the most successful publications in optometry. Within a year, we had over 15,000 opt-in subscribers to the Management Tip of the Week and currently an estimated 20, 000 eye care professionals receive this ongoing series. I am told by the publisher that the click open rate has always been extremely high. I also have direct evidence of the success of the tip e-newsletter by the very large number of emails I receive from readers in the United States and all over the world. The response depends on the topic, but it ranges from a dozen per week to literally hundreds. I am always gratified by the ODs who come up to me at meetings to tell me that they have enjoyed the tip series or they use it in their office staff meetings.
I want to thank several people at PentaVision, the publisher of Optometric Management and other eye care publications, for partnering with me on this book project. This includes Roger Zimmer and Rob Verna, who have supported me from the beginning of the OM Tip of the Week. Also, Kathy Shafer, who has proofread and edited my tip articles for nearly the duration of the series. She is the one person who I’m sure has read all the tips! Thanks to Shannon Simcox and Amy Wauhop for assistance in the marketing plan for the book and to Jim Thomas, Doug Parry and others who have provided help and support for me over the years. And thank you to Pat Herron, former vice president at Boucher Communications, who approved my request to try the tip idea and let me run with it.
I also want to thank the three companies that have sponsored the OM Tip of the Week through the years: Alcon, Bausch + Lomb and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. This publication would not be possible without their support.
Chapter topic list
Here is a list of topics covered in the book:
Starting and Organizing a Practice • Office Design • Instrumentation • Strategic Planning • Organizational Behavior • Human Resource Management • Office Managers • Staff Training and Meetings • Customer Service • Practice Marketing • Recall and Reactivation • Business Operations • Managed Care • Clinical Efficiency and Delegation • The Medical Model • Contact Lens Practice • Optical Dispensing • Associate Optometrists • Practice Finance and Metrics • The CEO Model.
Thank you for your support and for reading the tip articles for the past 800 weeks!
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Editor, Optometric Management Tip of the Week
Dr. Gailmard's new book, Practice Management in Optometry: A Blueprint for Success Based on the Optometric Management Tip of the Week, is now available on Amazon.