Big. Small. New. Established. CooperVision’s Best Practices are different, but they share a common goal: To deliver exceptional care to patients, even in the face of increasing competition and challenges. Established in 2015, Best Practices recognizes and celebrates the visionary, innovative, and unexpected aspects of care delivery that best serve patients and advance the profession. In this series of articles, CooperVision’s 2018 class of Best Practices honorees will be highlighted, one by one, to uncover and share some unique aspects of their practices that help them thrive—with hope that other practitioners may garner inspiration to bolster their own success. This month, Carmen Castellano, OD, of The Koetting Associates in St. Louis, Mo., shares the history of his practice, and how it has evolved over the years to meet the needs of its patients.
Q: Your practice has deep roots in St. Louis as a family-run business. Can you tell us more about that?
The Koetting Associates was first founded by Felix Koetting, OD, in 1921. He was joined in practice in 1947 by his son, Robert Koetting, OD, who was intrigued with contact lenses and began a practice exclusive to contacts in 1961. I joined the practice in 1982 and purchased it four years later. I have been fortunate to continue the tradition of the family practice, as my two sons—Joseph Castellano, OD, and Nicholas Castellano, OD—both practice with me now. What services do you offer at The Koetting Associates? We offer virtually all primary care optometric services, including eyewear and contact lens care, medical eye care, the treatment of dry eye and glaucoma, as well as cataract and refractive surgery comanagement. But our practice is known for contact lenses, and we have grown that area of our practice to the point where approximately 60% of our revenue is contact-lens related.
Q: Are there additional services you are currently considering for your practice?
We would like to expand our dry eye services to formalize that part of our practice and enhance the quality of care in that area. It’s an opportunity that dovetails nicely into our contact lens practice, because contact lens wearers can struggle with dry eye. This would enable us to help make their wearing experience more comfortable.
Q: What advice would you give your peers about staffing and team dynamics?
Your staff is the most important aspect of your practice. They are an extension of you, and responsible for the first impressions your patients receive. If you don’t have an exceptional staff, it doesn’t matter how fantastic a doctor you are—your practice will be perceived negatively.
Q: When looking at the needs of today's patients, do you anticipate needing to modify your practice to account for changing demands?
To remain competitive, eye care practices need to add as much convenience as possible. We also need to stay focused on providing high quality care, showcasing the value of our services and expertise.
Q: If you could tell someone only one thing about your practice, what would it be?
We are the premier contact lens care practice in our area. We have participated in research studies that investigate a variety of contact lens materials, designs, and care products, which enables us to stay on the leading edge of contact lens technology.
Q: What does being a Best Practice mean to you?
It is an honor to be recognized for the things we are doing that go above and beyond. I know that the other practices who have been chosen are well respected, and it is a privilege to be considered among them.
Congratulations to Dr. Castellano and The Koetting Associates! This year’s honorees will collaborate to tackle the most demanding challenges of contemporary opto-metric practice. For more information about the program, its honorees (both current and past), and updates about how they are working together to advance the profession, visit www.eyecarebestpractices.com.