June 16, 2021
Staffing is a challenge for many ECPs right now as business builds back, while the new CDC mask guidance is causing confusion and tension in offices, according to Wave 23 of Jobson Optical Research’s COVID ECP Impact survey, as reported on by Vision Monday.
The character of current business among ECPs and optical retailers is running significantly higher in May 2021 in terms of profitability per patient (+29 percent), number of patients per day (+34 percent), revenue (+34 percent), optical sales (+35 percent) and capture rate (+23 percent) versus the May 2020 shutdowns and closings in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, each of these practice business benchmarks are again, in the latest Wave 23 of the Jobson Research ECP Coronavirus Survey, which was conducted May 26 to May 28, starting to even up to flat in comparison with the same period of 2019.
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When asked if their practices could accommodate more patients than they are currently seeing now, there has been a primary problem for most of the respondents—some 48 percent now indicate that lack of staff is their big challenge at the moment. Relatively few respondents now believe that lack of patient traffic (only 9 percent in the latest survey) or government restrictions (12 percent) are a barrier to business.
Forty-five percent, though, cite “other reasons” as to why patient capacity could be higher. Based on responses to questions about the new CDC guidelines, which changed toward mask wear for those vaccinated (with the exception of health care locations), could be part of a reason why. Respondents report that the challenges of managing vaccinated patients, and trying to ascertain who might not be vaccinated, has been a trying issue in terms of communications, tension and, in some cases, broken relations with customers, including some walkouts.
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