Jan. 30, 2019
David Kading, OD, of Seattle, Washington, says that it’s clear that what optometrists do in the exam room generates revenue for a practice. But that’s certainly not the only place to gain – or miss opportunities to gain – a better financial footing. “If we’re losing money by missing these opportunities, we cannot buy new equipment or invest in the latest and greatest technology,” he says.
That’s why Dr. Kading is such as an advocate for tracking key performance indicators in his practice. “I have had a spreadsheet that is 150 lines long. It has taken me a considerable amount of time to fill out that spreadsheet and look at every data point,” he says. He does love the detail, but it’s not a practical system.
So Dr. Kading installed Glimpse, a dashboard management system from ABB OPTICAL GROUP. The system provides him and others in the office with an at-a-glance tracking. He can analyze key metrics at a daily, weekly or monthly window, for example, and compare that period to others.
“With three practice locations and six doctors, it lets me see not only how we are doing as a group but also how I am doing. Or I can look at how one optician is doing, even tracking how factors – such as the doctor on that day – can affect the numbers,” he says.
Glimpse has worked with Dr. Kading to align the data points that the system tracks with precisely the metrics that Dr. Kading wants to see; that is a benefit to him as he has long been accustomed to tracking key indicators.
Just the Facts
Being able to track these indicators gives Dr. Kading some level of control. He can make decisions backed by data about how and when to change processes or adjust pricing, for example. So he feels that his staff would gain some of those same benefits by following at least some of these metrics.
The staff can see some of the gross sales numbers so that they stay goal-oriented. For example, Glimpse provides him with a look at his contact lens services fees and sales, presenting the data of what percentage of his contact lens sales were by modality on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or longer. “We are at 95 percent daily disposable sales,” he says, “but to make sure that we stay at such a high number, we need to be able to react if we start seeing the metric slip.”
Similarly, it becomes very easy for the opticians to track anti-glare lens or multiple-pair sales, for example. “The facts don’t lie, and when I can present this information to the staff, it’s not personal. We’re not saying, ‘You’re doing a great job,’ which is something we cannot really measure, but we can say, ‘Our AR rate is dropping.’”
He can also set up the system with a friendly game and allow everyone involved to see the metrics as they compete to see who can reach the highest level of sales or production targets.
That same objective measurement has helped him adjust the way he sees events in the different practice locations. The three practice locations are fairly different, in terms of size and how busy they are. “Sometimes I got down on the staff in the smaller practice because the impression was that we were not doing as well there as we were in the larger office. Even when the smaller office revenue was up, it wasn’t up as much as it was in the bigger office.” However, he took a more careful look and saw that while the overall numbers weren’t as high, the smaller office was in some cases outperforming the other offices in the rate and percentage.
Other Pieces to Explore
That’s the kind of context that Glimpse can put at his fingertips. Even more importantly, it can provide an outside perspective, too. “We had been comparing ourselves to ourselves,” he says, when his spreadsheet was the guiding document. “If we were doing well compared to how we did last year, we felt good.”
While it’s important to track growth, Glimpse adds a database feature that allows the practice to see how it compares to other practices in the same revenue range and even to other Vision Source practices in the same revenue range. “Each of these comparisons may mean something different to you, but altogether, it provides a baseline to know how you’re doing.”
David Kading, OD, is the owner of Specialty Eyecare Group in Kirkland, Wash.