PLEASANTON, Calif., October 25, 2017 — One of the intents of the Best Practices initiative is to not only uncover the innovative things that eye care professionals do to succeed, but to share them. At Academy 2017 in Chicago, CooperVision, Inc. hosted its 2017 Best Practices roundtable discussion featuring eight of this year’s 10 honorees.
The honorees gathered to collaborate over some of the industry’s most pressing topics, including: trends in the future of clinical practice and practice management; how to effectively grow an eye care practice as optometry continues to evolve; how to incorporate and leverage new technologies; and more.
“The rapidly changing nature of the industry has brought challenges to eye care practices across the nation, but the Best Practices honorees are finding ways to reframe those challenges as opportunities,” said Michele Andrews, O.D., Senior Director of Professional and Academic Affairs, North America, CooperVision. “Individually, our honorees are tremendously talented and successful practitioners. Collectively, their brainpower is beyond impressive. It was an absolute privilege to bring them together for this discussion.”
On the issue of how to maximize practice growth, several of the honorees agreed that it is key for eye care practice owners to reconsider how many patients they see overall, enabling them to dedicate the right amount of time to each patient. They have found this approach actually increases revenue since patients are receiving better service.
“I need time to talk to my patients about my specialized services,” said Gina Wesley, O.D., FAAO, of Complete Eye Care of Medina, a 2017 Best Practices honoree. “When I allowed myself to see a higher number of patients, my profitability was down. Now, I see—at most—15 patients per day.”
Further, practice owners must set aside time in which they do not see patients at all.
“I’ve found the biggest enemy of growth in a practice is not the amount of time you spend seeing patients, but a lack of time spent not seeing patients,” said David Kading, O.D., FAAO, of Specialty Eyecare Group, another 2017 honoree. “If you’re not growing, it is likely you aren’t spending enough time working on your business. You’re spending too much time working in it.”
Mehdi Kazem, O.D., of Lawrenceville Family Eyecare, touched on how digital platforms and technologies are changing patient expectations, and practices are needing to adapt to meet new demands. Honorees shared how they are utilizing social media, patient relationship management systems, and online scheduling to keep connected with patients.
Discussion soon turned to community involvement and its role in the honorees’ practices.
“I’ve built my brand and my practice through my connection to the community,” said Will Tantum, OD, of Blount County Eye Center. “Our philanthropy is our single greatest recruiting tool. The people in our community, they want to be a part of it—they want to work for us because of what we’re doing.”
Dr. Tantum developed his practice’s “Eye Love Wear and Share” program—an in-house one-for-one eyewear-giving program—in 2014. Each time a patient purchases a frame at Blount County Eye Center, a new frame is donated to someone in need.
Giving back to the community in which she works is a cornerstone of the practice Shauna Thornhill, OD, has built. She shared during the roundtable how her upbringing in a low-income household shaped her commitment to helping others.
“Education is the path out of poverty,” said Dr. Thornhill. “I am always looking for ways to give back to the East Amarillo community, who gave so much to me when I needed it as a child. We regularly sponsor local sports teams and other programs, and we work every year to grow our ‘Free Eye Exam/Toy Drive Day,’ which benefits Toys for Tots. Last year, we collected $30,000 worth of toys.”
The honorees also offered insight into their different approaches to clinical practice. For example, Britney Caruso, O.D., FAAO, of Caruso Eye Care has taken a special interest in diet and nutraceuticals as they relate to eye health.
“Patients are looking to us for answers, and there are natural ways to treat eye conditions—from dry eye to macular degeneration,” said Dr. Caruso. “Providing this level of care is what sets us apart and makes us special as optometrists.”
Dr. Wesley says she has always followed a preventative care model in her practice.
“We need to be proactive instead of reactive,” she said. “As medical care continues to evolve, it’s going to fall onto optometrists to provide a higher level of care. We need to be ready to serve patients in that way, and make sure we’re educated on how to do so.”
Jason Ortman, O.D., FAAO, of Castle Pines Eye Care, sees digital eye fatigue as an opportunity for optometrists to solve a growing problem among patients.
“Today, most people spend a lot of time in front of screens. We need to be prepared to handle digital eye fatigue and the associated dry eye,” said Dr. Ortman. “We have the opportunity to help patients work more effectively in their offices and at home. We are the experts who can address and meet those needs.”
The panel also sees value for patients—and subsequently, their practices—in the advancements in contact lens technology.
“Contact lenses present significant opportunity,” said Brent Fry, O.D., of Premier Eyecare. “We’ll often see patients who aren’t wearing contact lenses because somewhere along the line, they were told that they couldn’t. But today, with the wide range of contact lenses available, particularly from CooperVision, contact lenses should be on your mind for every patient. From toric to multifocal lenses, and specialty lenses in general—if you can get those patients seeing 20/20, they’ll be your patients for life. And they will refer all of their friends. That is the power of the tools we have available to us.”
The two remaining honorees—Katherine Schuetz, O.D., of Little Eyes, and Stephanie Woo, O.D., FAAO, of Havasu Eye Center—were unable to attend due to professional obligations.
CooperVision is currently accepting applications for its 2018 Best Practices program, which recognizes eye care practices that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership, and patient experience. All U.S. optometry practices* currently fitting contact lenses are eligible to apply. Applications are due by October 31, 2017, and the 2018 honorees will be announced after the New Year. For more information, visit www.eyecarebestpractices.com.
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* For full details on the Best Practices terms and conditions, including eligibility requirements, refer to https://www.eyecarebestpractices.com/terms-and-conditions.
CooperVision, a unit of The Cooper Companies, Inc. (NYSE:COO), is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of soft contact lenses. The Company produces a full array of monthly, two-week and daily disposable contact lenses, all featuring advanced materials and optics. CooperVision has a strong heritage of solving the toughest vision challenges such as astigmatism and presbyopia; and offers the most complete collection of spherical, toric and multifocal products available. Through a combination of innovative products and focused practitioner support, the company brings a refreshing perspective to the marketplace, creating real advantages for customers and wearers. For more information, visit www.coopervision.com.
About The Cooper Companies
The Cooper Companies, Inc. ("Cooper") is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE (NYSE:COO). Cooper is dedicated to being A Quality of Life Company™ with a focus on delivering shareholder value. Cooper operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. CooperVision brings a refreshing perspective on vision care with a commitment to developing a wide range of high-quality products for contact lens wearers and providing focused practitioner support. CooperSurgical is committed to advancing the health of families with its diversified portfolio of products and services focusing on women’s health, fertility and diagnostics. Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, Cooper has more than 10,000 employees with products sold in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.coopercos.com
Heather Kowalczyk, APR
McDougall Communications for CooperVision, Inc.
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