Last month, we announced the winners of the 2018 Best Practices Program. This month, we begin to meet the honorees and learn a little more about the innovative thinking that makes their practice a Best Practice. Read on to learn more about 2018 honoree Christopher Smiley, OD, of Vision Professionals in Columbus, Ohio.
Q: What professional services do you offer at Vision Professionals?
A: We provide comprehensive eye care, including eye exams and vision testing, contact lens fittings, and specialty contact lens fittings. We're actually a referral center for specialty contact lenses, so we see four to five irregular cornea type fits a day. We also specialize in glaucoma care.
Q: Are there any additional services you are considering offering in your practice? Why?
A: Dry eye presents a lot of opportunity to make the patient experience better. I've been ahead of the curve, but taking my time contact lens practice forward. We don't tolerate patients staying in the same lenses year after year; we are always going to recommend they upgrade to something newer, and explain why the technology is better for t hem. We take patients who are "fine" and make them better than fine. We're also able to fit patients who haven't seen success anywhere else.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing practitioners today? How do you strive to overcome it?
A: Managed care is a significant challenge. We haven't seen increases in reimbursement, but operation costs have gone up dramatically. That means we have to see more patients in less time. The challenge then is maintaining personal care, giving patients that small, friendly office feel. We use technology to delegate a lot of the work, but still keep that quality doctor/patient time small talk, asking them about family, and then taking the time to talk about their condition and treatment plans. It's really important not to cut short the face-to face time with your patients.
Q: How are you innovative in practice management?
A: I track and pay close attention to key performance indicators. Our doctors are compensated based on a percentage of revenue, so we monitor average per refraction, per exam, number of new patients, etc. We look at the numbers on a monthly basis to see where we are doing well and where we have opportunities to improve. If we see a decrease in a certain area, we determine why. Then we collaborate with the rest of the team to make sure we're fully executing on treatment plans.
Q: Why do you consider Vision Professionals a Best Practice? What do you want your practice to be known for?
A: If a patient is motivated to be fit in contact lenses, I am confident that when they leave our practice, they will be in the best possible fit. We do everything we can to meet each patient's needs, and to provide exceptional contact lens experiences. We don't leave any stones unturned.