OPTOMETRIC BUSINESS INNOVATORS
ERIC BOTTS, OD
OBC Billing Specialists
Innovativeye Clinics in Walmart
Macomb and Galesburg, Ill., and
West Burlington, Iowa
“I provide the highest quality patient care utilizing the most up-to-date instrumentation and technology because my patients are worth it.”
By focusing on providing vision care as medical care, as well as automating and outsourcing routine practice management tasks, Eric Botts, OD, has emphasized health and wellness for his patients while improving the efficiency of his practice. “My strategy is to think like a doctor,” he says. “My attitude is that a patient presenting with vision issues is a medical visit until proven otherwise. I still provide healthy or wellness exams, but the majority of my practice is becoming a medical billing model of practice.”
All of his practice’s medical billing, along with routine insurance claims, have been outsourced to OBC Billing Specialists, a service that Dr. Botts started six years ago. “OBC Billing Specialists has increased my claim submission efficiency and increased insurance fee collections because now I have a team of billing specialists working on my claims instead of one person,” he says. “Prior to outsourcing my claims submission, I often lost income on claims that were not accurately submitted or denied and not resubmitted.”
Dr. Botts has also outsourced the phone call reminder portion of his patient recall efforts. “Patient recall has a huge positive impact on my practice,” he says. “I utilize both an automated and phone call approach. The automated recall is integrated with my EHR system, therefore it requires a minimal effort from my staff.
He credits the EHR system as a big obstacle at first that ultimately had a major payoff. “Initially it slowed us down, but once we were able to learn the system, the benefits were great,” he says.
RALPH M. HANDLY, OD
Partner/ Senior Optometrist
Eye- Q Vision Care
“Latest technology, caring doctors, we strive to have up-to-date eyecare information and technology and provide personal care to each patient.”
Soon after Richard M. Handly, OD, folded his optometry practice into EYE-Q Vision Care 18 years ago, he was elected president of the board, a position he held for more than 10 years. He had been in independent practice in Fresno since 1974 and remains active in the local optometric society. EYE-Q, a four-ophthalmologist practice for 20 some years previously, invited him to make optometry a larger part of the practice.
During his presidency, “EYE-Q developed a strong referral base from local ODs and an efficient patient management process. All primary eyecare was done by optometrists, and ophthalmologists were responsible for the specialty care. “Today, this is standard, but then, it was innovative,” he says.
EYE-Q seeks to set itself apart through superior patient service. Three operators handle over 1,000 calls per clinic day. A call center handles prescription refills and other questions. “This efficient method to resolve patient requests frees up providers’ and assistants’ time,” he says.
To overcome the loss of eye contact with patients as electronic health records became more pervasive, each provider was equipped with a mobile device that allows them to face the patient directly while presenting information.
APRIL JASPER OD, FAAO
Advanced Eyecare Specialists/
West Palm Beach, Fla
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
April Jasper, OD, FAAO, has realized the benefits of balancing a high level of patient service with the need to keep an efficient streamlined operation.
One of Jasper’s greatest business management challenges has been managing staff overhead. “I tried for so long to manage the number by sticking to a number for each staff position in the office, and then I realized that no one was happy with this and turnover was greater than I could afford. I then started by paying my staff more than what was considered the ‘standard’ and found that production was greater and they were happier,” says Dr. Jasper.
“When production went up and gross revenue went up, the salaries ended up eventually falling more in line with recommendations. It is important to be willing to try new things and follow your heart when the ‘numbers’ don’t make sense.”
At the same time, Jasper doesn’t forget about the need to stay ahead of the competition by offering topnotch training. “To help all of us at the office understand our customer service competitors, we have participated in customer service training at Nordstrom, Ritz Carlton and Disney, and I also provide training based on what I learn from books about customer service experts such as the Mayo Clinic, Baptist Hospital and In and Out Burger,” Dr. Jasper explains.
Whatever management decisions she makes, Dr. Jasper is always aware of the need to maintain quality and patient satisfaction. “We have become focused on ways to increase trust in our patients by better customer service, value propositions and improved communication,” she says.
PAUL KLEIN, OD, FAAO, ABCO
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“If you don’t like what you’ve devoted your life to doing, it will be difficult to hide that from your staff or patients.”
Paul Klein, OD, FAAO, ABCO, is dedicated to continually investing in his practice. “Better trained staff, more comfortable and inviting facilities, and better and more advanced instrumentation” sets his practice apart, he says.
In practice for 34 years, he has accumulated a long list of accomplishments in the field of optometry since graduating from the New England College of Optometry in 1979. The founding editor of Optometry Today magazine and a former columnist for Vision Monday, Dr. Klein is an adjunct professor of optometry at the Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry.
He educates his staff with regularly scheduled meetings to cover management concerns, better customer service and the changing knowledge base of optometric care. To create inviting facilities, “a refreshment station in the reception area lets patients know you care about their comfort,” he says. Recent improvements he’s implemented include instituting electronic health records and switching recalls from printed and mailed reminders to electronic communication.
While he’s observed reduced revenues from discretionary areas of eyecare such as eyewear and contact lens purchasing due to the economic downturn, his practice capitalized on expenditures for medically necessary eyecare. “The net result has been a tremendous increase in revenues generated by medical testing and attendant medical follow-up management, which has more than compensated for reductions in eyewear revenues,” says Dr. Klein.
Although his staff first objected to requesting both vision care, as well as medical insurance cards, from patients, “we found many patients had both, enabling us to keep medical testing and management procedures in-house that patients were previously taking to ophthalmology,” he says.
BRIDGITTE SHEN LEE, OD
President & Co-owner
President & Owner
“We focus on people and building relationships with staff, patients/customers and industry representatives.”
The importance of harnessing the power of social media should never be underestimated. Bridgitte Shen Lee, OD, explained, “Five years ago, we encouraged one of our young and bright employees to create Vision Optique’s online presence with Facebook and Twitter. Our patients/customers put us on Yelp as the number one, five-star rated optometrist in Houston, and today, Vision Optique is also active on Google+, Four Square, Pinterest and Instagram.”
While social media may help with virtual connections, Dr. Lee feels that building long-term relationships with patients/customers is what sets the practice apart. “We take time to provide individualized care by addressing each patient’s medical conditions, lifestyle needs and fashion preferences,” she says. “We focus on people and building relationships with staff, patients/customers and industry representatives.”
After reaching the $1 million milestone in 2006, Vision Optique is on track to become a $1.5 million practice this year. This is accomplished with three doctors using two exam lanes in a 1,800-square-foot office open four and a half days per week. Optometry students work for the practice as full-time opticians.
A speaker on contact lens topics since 2007, Dr. Lee helped Alcon launch the first silicone hydrogel toric contact lens in the Chinese markets in November 2011. Other accomplishments include being voted Best Optometrist in Houston by Houston Press readers in September 2011 and being put on the cover of MBA Insights in the fourth quarter of 2011.
As president of iTravelCE, Dr. Lee organized CE programs to China, bringing 20 attendees with Jimmy Bartlett, OD, and Dana Ondrias, OD, to China in June 2011, and 52 optometrists and their families on a two-week journey through China with Ron Melton, OD, and Randall Thomas, OD, in June 2012.
EDWIN M. LIU, OD
President Foothill Optometric Group
“Our office’s mission: Life changing vision through innovative technology, service and style.”
Edwin M. Liu, OD, opened his first office with wife Amy Liu Longacre, OD, back in 1983. Now on his fourth location in California, this 4,200 square foot facility employs more than 20 people, including three associate doctors. “It seems that each time we move, we end up having to expand the practice,” Dr. Liu says. The style and the appearance of the office is important to Dr. Liu who stressed that a clean, uncluttered look is important, allowing the inventory of more than 1,000 frames to take center stage.
The dispensary features name brand frames such as Lafont, Morel and McQueen, “catering to a more middle to upper class clientele. We like to feature unique frames that you can’t get everywhere else.”
When it comes to innovation in eyecare, advancements in technology can be seen throughout the practice. “We pride ourselves in keeping up to date on new instrumentation and testing procedures. From our Marco Epic refracting systems, to the Quantifeye for measuring macular pigment optical density or the TearLab tear osmolarity testing system used to help in the assessment for dry eyes, all contribute to creating the atmosphere of a state-of-the-art vision care facility.”
“The technology applies not only to our testing instrumentation but is also a part of how we communicate with our patients. Allowing them to schedule and confirm appointments online is perceived as convenient and forward thinking.”
Liu is always striving to find ways to better serve the patients and connect with new ones. “Using systems like DemandForce has provided invaluable office feedback through online patient surveys, while also enhancing our web presence by contributing to search engine optimization criterion used by Google and other search engines.”
D. PENN MOODY, OD
Founder/Ceo Moody Eyes, Llc
“Give each patient a unique, exceptional experience and have fun doing it . . . the money will follow.”
As the founder and CEO of Moody Eyes, D. Penn Moody, OD, has realized that he’s a leader more than a decision maker, responsible for developing his own skills as well as those of his staff. “The key awakening point for me was when we had our five-year retrospective meeting, and I presented 17 key decisions over that span,” he says. “While preparing my material I realized not a single one of the ideas was mine. What I had done was implement them into our business. That’s when I began to understand my primary responsibility is to lead our staff members.”
Developing these leadership skills is an ongoing and intentional endeavor. “I spend time, energy and money developing my personal leadership skills,” he said, because “I believe every organization is limited by the abilities of its leader.”
Cultivating his employees is deliberate as well. “Each of our employees has an area for which they are primarily responsible,” he says. “I have learned to define the results we want, have the staff member design the process they believe is best, and then we will refine it together.”
Another cornerstone of Dr. Moody’s practice is being “totally committed to an exceptional experience for every patient,” he says. “This means listening to what they want us to do for them and providing that.”