Seven success strategies for your eye care practice
Gone are the days where being a generalist optometrist alone is a successful approach for the long term. A practice that continues to succeed necessitates a combination of excellent patient care, effective business strategies, and staying up-to-date with industry trends.
While specific approaches may vary, there are some common strategies that top optometric practices employ to foster growth.
Exceptional Patient Care and Experience
Top practices prioritize personalized patient care, doing so by building relationships and addressing individual needs. This is more than checking vision, but taking a holistic approach to the person in your chair.
Strong offices take the time to educate patients about their eye health, treatment options, and preventive measures to optimize their visual and ocular well being. A critically overlooked component of patient experience is efficient appointment scheduling and consistent office flow that respects patients' time and enhances their experience.
The above works best when delivered by a welcoming and knowledgeable staff that works together to create a positive atmosphere. Patients often come to see the doctor, but stay for the staff; to put it another way, patients unhappy with their experience will go somewhere else and most will never tell you why.
Investment in Technology
Top practices invest in state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technologies to differentiate themselves by offering accurate, efficient, and necessary services.
Streamlining patient record keeping, reporting, and appointment management using software like an EHR or PMS is a baseline expectation at this point, but making sure your team knows how to maximize the systems’ value improves patient care, office efficiency, and profitability.
Improve patient access by using telehealth Services. Have you thought about offering virtual consultations or the convenience and expanded practice reach provided by remote follow-ups or health checks?
With the ever changing demand on the eyes, patients continue to seek solutions for their comfort and health, even if they can’t articulate what they’re looking for; it’s never too late to add a specialty service and become their eyecare hero.
Dry Eye, Neuro-Optometry, Sports Vision, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Vision Therapy, Low Vision, Behavioral, Occupational Vision, Ocular Disease, Aesthetics, are all great ways to practice in a different setting. Focus your patient interaction and be even more impactful by carving a niche.
Marketing and Branding
Effective online marketing, a useful and user-friendly website, active social media, and other digital presence tools help practices reach and engage with patients.
Providing valuable eye health information to your patients where they are, which is mostly online, through blogs, videos, and webinars positions the practice as a source they can trust.
Community Engagement and Referral Networks
Active participation in community events, health fairs, and partnerships with local businesses reminds the community that your practice is a local healthcare resource, one that they should support.
Start with collaborating with other healthcare professionals such as primary care physicians and ophthalmologists to build up your referral network; you can add other optometrists to that network once you build a specialty that they don’t serve, but be respectful and stick to the specialty element in partnership with them.
Staff Training and Development
Continuous Education is key for today and for tomorrow. Keeping your staff up-to-date on the latest industry advancements, processes, and procedures ensures high-quality patient care and builds staff morale.
Training shouldn’t be limited to technical knowledge, by providing staff training in communication, empathy, and patient interaction your patient experience, retention, and profitability stand to grow by leaps and bounds.
Doctor-driven optical dispensary excellence
It’s important to recognize that your patients rely on you to help them understand how to optimize their visual experience. Despite lenses not being adequately covered in optometry school, it’s vital that you as a practice owner understand the features and benefits of the lenses you offer and how they impact your patients’ lives.
Offering a diverse range of high-quality eyeglasses, contact lenses, and specialty eyewear creates opportunities for upselling and patient satisfaction. High quality does not always mean the most expensive thing you can sell, or the newest tech, it mostly means matching your products to your patients needs and wants.
Well-trained opticians are essential to guiding patients in frame selection and tying patient needs and style preferences to the products your practice offers.
Monitoring practice data, patient demographics, appointment patterns, and revenue sources helps identify growth opportunities and areas for improvement. If you don’t know what’s happening in your practice today, how can you possibly expect to know what needs to change?
These strategies are not exhaustive, this is a high level overview of some things the most successful practices today do to generate that success. When tailored to the specific needs and goals of your optometric practice, strategies like this will contribute to sustained growth and success.
Like most things, your business is not going to grow on its own, or without significant help from you and your support system.
It's essential for optometrists to continually evaluate their practice's performance, adapt to industry changes, and remain profitable year over year. If your business isn’t financially successful, it will be impossible to provide the kind of care they deserve.