Grow Your Practice: Attend a Practice Management Conference
November 7, 2012
From my perspective as a speaker at many eye care meetings, I find there is a large segment of ODs who are not interested in practice management (PM). Ironically, I may not be reaching them with this article because they probably would not subscribe to this publication. But there is a range of interest in PM among all of us. In this article, I hope to inspire you to seek more practice management education at live meetings and at webinars because there is a very high return on your investment of time and money.
CE or no CE
In many cases, the continuing education (CE) credit that is required for optometric re-licensure is a major factor in the meetings optometrists choose to attend. The number of classroom hours required by most states (and many non-U.S. jurisdictions as well) is quite high. As you probably know, most states do not recognize practice management as a valid category for CE credit. Some states accept a small number of credit hours in PM, like two out of 50. Other states accept zero.
Doctors who attend practice management courses do so for the pure educational value; not for CE credit. Interestingly, in my observation, the doctors who like to attend practice management meetings have the largest and most successful practices. Of course, not everyone wants a large, high income practice and to each his own, but I talk to many ODs every day who want to earn more. For those who want more practice profitability, I strongly recommend attending several practice management courses every year.
There are many sources for great meetings. Since you are reading this article, you obviously have an email address and I am confident you see many opportunities for practice management. My point is to take a good look at these offerings and choose some of them. Move outside of your usual circles.
Consider these resources for practice management education:
Smaller specialty meetings
Doctor alliance groups
Vendors and Laboratories
Live meetings away from your home state offer many benefits. You will incur some travel costs and you have to take some time away from the office, but the return on investment is very high. You will gain new insights into many topics that result in higher revenue. There is a level of enthusiasm that will inspire you to implement new ideas. You will have an opportunity to reflect on what your practice is doing well and where you can improve. And some of the best learning comes from talking with like-minded colleagues at breaks and at meals.
There are also an increasing number of excellent opportunities for practice management via webinars. Many of these are free and may have a sponsor. Some PM webinars are completely generic and some are product-based, but both can bring very high value. Many of the best opportunities to grow your practice involve a product or instruments. The leading companies in these fields are ideally positioned to provide education on the products. They hire leading experts to show you the way. Attend with an open mind.
Practice management courses cover a wide range of new topics, such as:
Marketing with social media, email and websites
How to recruit and higher better staff members
How to motivate and train staff
Frame board management
Contact lens practice building
Buying or selling a practice
Coding and billing
Electronic medical records
Staff members need high level education also
Meetings with top practice management education are also valuable for staff members to attend. Practices that think big and send key staff to an out of town trip are rewarded with higher productivity and better attitudes at work.
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.