Important tips for making your ophthalmic practice a success
Your eye care practice is not a static enterprise. Every week, you gain patients, lose patients, encounter new challenges, confront new obstacles, adopt new technologies, and gain new insight into how to better serve your patients.
At its most basic, growing your practice helps you earn more money. But there is more to it than that. By growing your practice and focusing on optometric management, you can help offer a better working environment for your employees, get more satisfaction from your profession, help more people, offer better services, and even earn more time off for you or your employees.
Growing your advanced ophthalmology practice today also sets you up for success down the road and helps you weather challenging economic situations – like the pandemic we have all just waited through, which saw in-office visits plummet and many practices scrambling to make ends meet or switch to a telehealth model of service delivery.
So, while the reasons for growing your ophthalmic practice with advanced eye care solutions are clear, how to do so may be less than clear, particularly because market dynamics may be complicated, and most eye care physicians are well versed in the science of eye care and less so in handling the day-to-day challenges of running a practice in a complicated, dynamic, and highly competitive market.
This blog lays out nine top tips for making your ophthalmic practice a success and providing advanced ophthalmic practice management solutions.
Improve the image of your office
Your office has to do more than just be a place where patients are cared for. It needs to be a comforting environment where patients can gain confidence in your services and are put at ease. In this regard, no detail is too small, from the cleanliness of your bathrooms and toilet area to the newness of the magazines, the cleanliness of the carpet, and the background music that is playing in the waiting room. Small efforts can have a big payoff here, and simple things like painting the walls, having the floods professional cleaned, and having the parking lot regularly cleared of trash, weeds, and loose gravel can make a great first impression and ensure that your parents have confidence in the treatment and suggestions they are about to receive.
Rethink your marketing plan, and make sure you are marketing on social media
Ophthalmology management and marketing has to be a major component of any effort to gain success for your eye care practice. This can involve multiple steps aimed at different customers in different stages of the buyer’s journey. You should have an ad campaign to draw in new customers, and a welcome campaign to set them up properly once they sign up for an appointment. Older customers need a nurture campaign to encourage them to come in for regular eye care. These campaigns can be run on multiple fronts. For example, an all-around social media campaign can be used to reach a new set of audiences and nurture the ones who have already expressed interest. Email can be used for welcome campaigns and nurture campaigns. And blogs, a landing page, and a new website design or website update can keep your content fresh and relevant and make sure you rise to the first page in Google search engine rankings.
Invest in the latest technologies
While the basics of ophthalmic care may not have changed much in the past few decades, how that care is delivered sure has. New technologies enhance patient care, make your job easier, and project an air of confidence and professionalism.
Ensure your front desk creates a positive first impression on customers
Pay close attention to how your front desk staff are interreacting with patients, both new patients and old patients. Ensure that staff are trained in properly greeting and accommodating patients, and make sure all of those interactions are optimized so that they engender confidence and satisfaction for patients.
Get your team all on the same page and working toward the same goals
It is not enough to have great employees. You need great employees who are committed to working together as a team to reach collective goals. While it can take a good amount of time and effort to develop your individual employees into a team, it is fully worth the investment of time.
Leverage the power of electronic health records
Electronic health record systems (EHRs) can be powerful eye care practice management software tools that can save you time and money and enhance the experience you provide to patients. Useful features many practices overlook include easy patient scheduling, intelligent patient workflows, smart task management capabilities, built-in templates and order sets, 24/7 access from any device, and tons of analytics and business data reporting features.
Engage with patients every chance you get
Patient engagement before, during, and after every procedure can produce results and lead to referrals. This can include patient education and follow-up letters or emails. All of this combined can improve the experiences of your patients during the consultation, during the procedure, and after the treatment. Never pass up an opportunity to make a great connection with patients.
Maintain access to capital and make sure you have savings in the bank
If the pandemic taught us one thing, it was that literally overnight our offices could be locked up and shut down. While this may have slowed the spread of the virus, unfortunately, it did not stop the need to pay bills. Just like you do for your household, you should keep no less than three months’ worth of expenses on hand in cash and cash equivalent so you can continue to handle operations that require payments even if your doors are closed. Also work to maintain lines of credit such as credit liens, working capital accounts, and personal funds that you can dip into should the need arise.
Hire the right help before you actually need it
It’s satisfying to do much of this work on your own but knowing when to call for help can be a huge asset for your operations. Consultants, marketers, and technology suppliers can step in and offer key assistance and access to tools, solutions, and technologies when you need them the most. This brings a fresh perspective to your business and offers you the sorts of professional services that your own staff may simply not have.
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