Insights From Our Editors

2019 Brainstorming: New Ideas for Your Practice

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Oct. 31, 2018

Where do you get new ideas to improve, and grow, your practice? Here are ideas that small businesses can pursue next year, including how these ideas could apply to optometry practices.

Out of the 50 ideas that small businesses can pursue, we selected the top five that were most applicable to eyecare practices.

Data Crunching
Your practice management software contains a gold mine of information. The problem in most practices is that the software does not easily give meaningful reports. Third-party programs such as Glimpse and The Edge were created to address this issue. Many of the larger practice management software companies are looking to upgrade their reporting capabilities to create more meaningful reporting systems within the next year or two. But you need the reporting capabilities today.

We are now in the era of big data, and as artificial intelligence becomes more common, the expectation is that your practice management software will give you useful insights into your practice that can be translated into a meaningful business advantage.

If your reporting system is currently not easily meeting your needs, then hire someone to create custom reports from your current practice management software package or purchase a third-party solution within this next year.

3D Printing
The ability to custom print a frame that matches the patient’s head perfectly, and does not require a frame adjustment, is a major step forward. There are many uses of 3-D printing within eyecare that range from eyeglass frames to contact lenses. The price of 3-D printers is becoming more affordable, and the technology is becoming better. Over the next year or two expect to see 3-D printing move into eyecare offices. Keep your eye on this technology as it advances.

Charging Station
In the electronic world that we live in, searching for an electrical outlet or a charging station is something that we all have found ourselves doing. Putting a charging station into your reception area, enabling your patients to charge their cell phones and tablets, is something that you can do right now. It’s an easy way to add a low-cost service that your patients will appreciate.

Charging stations come in many shapes and sizes. Charging stations do not require a lot of space. Here are two examples to consider:

If you want to take this up a level, put a marketing message on or near your charging station.

Outsourcing
More and more practices are beginning to outsource business activities to make practice life easier. Two examples would be human resources (HR) and coding & billing. Both of these activities require sophisticated understanding and nuanced implementation, as well as considerable effort to stay current with changes in laws and regulations.

HR outsourcing can be as simple as basic payroll processing to as complex as regulatory compliance and benefits administration. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) offers full HR services. A Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO) provides the same benefits as a PEO, but goes beyond to assume responsibility for the payment of payroll taxes.

The goal of outsourcing is to free up your staff to provide better patient care more effectively and efficiently with the end result being a higher net profit. Put some time aside this week to consider if it would be better for you to outsource some of the work your staff is currently doing.

Translating Services
What happens when a patient comes into your practice speaking a language that no one on staff speaks? And what happens if they do not bring a translator with them? There are electronics solutions in today’s world that work in real time allowing conversations to occur. These devices are about the size of your cell phone.

Two examples of this technology would be LeTrans and Google’s Pixel 2 with Bluetooth headphones called Pixel Buds. These devices permit conversations to occur in real time.

This might be a workable solution for you and your practice when you’re caught without a staff member who speaks the language of the patient sitting in your chair.

References
i. https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/3d-printing-technology-in-ophthalmology
ii. http://www.eyedolatryblog.com/2014/08/the-future-of-eye-care-and-3d-printing.html
iii. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQVIRCnEZ0A
iv. https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/04/googles-airpods-competitor-do-real-time-language-translation/
v. https://reviewob.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ankar.jpg

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