Ophthalmic Lenses

Increasing Eyewear Capture Rate: A Team Effort

By Chad Waggoner, OD,

and Kimberly Manthe, ABO


Increasing capture rate of prescribed eyewear is a team effort—where doctor, optician, technician and receptionist all sound a common message. Do it right, and measure the payoff.


DOCTOR PRESCRIBES FROM EXAM CHAIR. Use your authority as the prescriber to explain why each piece of eyewear is necessary. Make sure the patient gets the best treatment plan.

SUPPORT STAFF REINFORCES MESSAGE. Receptionist asks about current eyewear, pre-testers ask about vision difficulty and reiterate doctor’s prescription to patient and optician in dispensary.

OPTICIAN MAKES SALE. Asks same lifestyle questions doctor asked, and goes over options in-depth in optical dispensary.

Capture rate of eyewear dispensed is a critical measure of the effectiveness of the entire practice. Increasing capture rate begins with the doctor’s prescription in the exam room, but itis reinforced and finalized in the optical. Along the way, nearly every staff member who interacts with the patient also impacts whether the patient makes a purchase before leaving the office. When you improve your capture rate, you increase the likelihood that your patient will receive the treatment plan you prescribe, and you increase profitability to your practice.

Our current capture rate is 58 percent. This means we are still leaving 42 percent on the table. On average, our practice fills 3,500 to 4,000 Rxes a year. Translated to numbers using the MBA average sale of $227 per Rx, that means if our practice kept all those Rxes, and none walked out the door, we would have taken in between $794,500 and $908,000. Because our capture rate is 58 percent, that means we lost between $460,810 and $526,640 because those Rxes walked out the door and were filled by someone else. Those numbers caught our attention.

Prior to streamlining our processes, we were only at a 45 percent capture rate, so we have improved by 13 percent. Using the MBA $227 average sale per Rx number, that means we increased our revenue between $103,285 and $118,040 by just creating better systems in our practice. Our goal for 2014 is to increase our capture rate by 5 percent more over last year. That will increase our revenue by another $39,725 to $45,400. Here is how our office ensures every member of our staff helps lead patients to new pieces of eyewear.

Clickthe play button above to watch a video of Chad Waggoner, OD, discussing his practice’s approach to increasing capture rate.

All Support Staff Ask About Eyewear

When making an appointment, the patient is asked to bring in all their current eyewear for the technician to evaluate prior to seeing the doctor. When the patient checks in for their appointment the patient is then invited to explore the dispensary before their appointment if there is time. When the patient is in work up with the certified technician they go through the patient history which includesquestions like, “Are you planning to get eyeglasses today?” Also,“Do you have any difficultly reading labels, numbers or mobile devices?” And, “Are you bothered by glare or sensitivity to light?”

The answer to these questions will help the doctor and optician identify if that patient needs products such as digital progressive lenses, anti-reflective treatment or the Transitions family of products. The certified technicians conduct tests to provide information for the doctor to use in the exam. At the same time, the technician explains how each of these tests is vital to ensuring that the patient gets overall eyecare management–and the right eyewear.

Explain to Staff How Capture Rate Relates to Mission Statement

If we look at every small step from greeters, to reception, to certified technician, to exam to dispensary, there are probably hundreds of individual tasks in the capture rate process. Having the staff understand that their actions impact the success of the entire practice and the capture rate is key to a successful practice. Make sure your expectations are outlined in your mission statement. For example, if part of your mission statement is, “. . . we are here to improve the quality of life for our patients by providing the finest eye and optical care for people of all ages,” then make sure each staff member understands the impact of their individual job to making that mission statement ring true for every patient. At staff meetings we stress to the staff one team and one process. Striving daily to make a positive lasting impression on patients, and all who enter our doors, results in higher capture rates and patients referring their friends and family.

Doctor Explains Findings to Patient

The doctor then conducts the exam and explains to the patient what his or her findings are. The doctors have the largest impact on capture rate in the practice based on the power of the white coat and the education and experience that it represents. The doctor may only ask a simple question like “How do you use your glasses?,” and this leads to a conversation of what recommendations the doctor will make and print on the patient’s prescription. At Clarus, doctors are encouraged to write more than one prescription to meet all of the needs of the patient, whether it is an occupational pair of eyewear, an outdoor pair or everyday pair. The doctor prescribes what is best for each patient from the chair and then explains why. By explaining the exam steps as the patient goes through them, the patient knows that the practice is looking out for their eye health and best vision. They will understand how the exam process helps the doctor prescribe the best products for them. The patient is more trusting of the recommendations that the doctor makes during the exam, and the handoff to the optician becomes much easier.

Opticians Ask Same Questions Doctor Asked

Once the optician takes over, not only does the optician ask each patient about the question the doctor asked him/her in the exam chair, “How do you use your glasses?,” but the optician also goes over the lifestyle questions and educates the patient about the recommendations that the doctor prescribed on the Rx. Explaining options like the Transitions family of products, anti-reflective treatments, hi-index and digital technology keeps the focus on what is best for the patient’s vision. Patients have expectations about the length of their visit, customer service and about both quality and quantity of care that they receive and the quality of caring. By emphasizing the effort to give the patient their best possible vision, your capture rate will increase exponentially.

The optician is not in the exam room with the doctor during the Rx analysis. Due to the number of patients seen by each doctor at Clarus, the certified technician who has been with the patient through their exam process, will go over with the optician and patient the points the doctor made in the exam room. Then the optician explains and educates the patient on the benefits of the doctor’s prescribed recommendations. If all the previous steps have been followed with this final step in mind, then it is much easier to capture the patient’s eyewear sale.

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Chad Waggoner, OD, is a partner at Clarus Eye Centre, the 2013 Transitions Practice of the Year, in Lacy, Wash, and Kimberly Manthe, ABO, is the practice administrator. To contact: KimM@claruseye.com

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