Like many ophthalmologists, you’re probably pretty into data. So when it comes to managing your practice, it’s only natural that it’s “all about the numbers.” As ophthalmic software has evolved, it’s only gotten easier (find out more here!)That’s mostly a good thing: benchmarking and tracking key data points is essential to maintaining a grip on your practice’s financial health. But that’s also why it’s sometimes difficult to get ophthalmologists to understand that when it comes to their dispensaries, managing numbers isn’t just difficult—it’s impossible!
You can’t “manage” your numbers, just like you can’t “manage” intraocular pressure, Ron Rosenberg told a group of ophthalmologists during his session at a previous AAO conference. You can only really manage the actions that affect those numbers, just like you manage the actions a patient takes that are reflected in the measurement of their intraocular pressure. “Everything that happens in a practice, every result produced, is a function of actions taken or not taken,” he says, “and the effectiveness of the actions taken (or lack of action at all) can be measured and indicated by the various data looked at—much like you might assess a patient,” he continued.
Are You Achieving Your Sales Goals?
As a physician, you may not be all that hands-on with your dispensary. More than likely, you want to know just enough to make sure your people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That’s where a productivity report comes in. A productivity report is “your roadmap to optical sales success,” Mark Johnson, ABOC told a group of optical managers at a previous Vision Expo West conference. According to Johnson, a productivity report will:
- Allow your practice to know how close—or far—you are to reaching sales goals
- Identify opportunities
- Identify top performers and low performers
The data for your productivity report can come from your POS system on an almost real-time basis, Johnson elaborates, but it doesn’t stop there. After all, you also need to understand what those data points are telling you. (Your ophthalmology clinic software can help you analyze it.) Only then can you manage your staff to ensure they are fulfilling the vision, objectives, and goals of your practice.
“Effective management is not necessarily having all of the answers. More often than not … it is asking the right questions! The answers become obvious.”—Ron Rosenberg
Poor Results? A Productivity Report Tells You Why.
A productivity report can help you determine if a problem is a process problem, or a people problem. “The key to intervening effectively is first to know whether the source of not achieving the target is poorly designed processes or underperforming staff,” says Rosenberg. “Knowing the source of the poor results will give you insight into the proper corrective actions to take,” he notes.
For example, if your optical staff has low average frame sales across the board, you’ll want to look into your inventory mix to make sure it matches your practice’s demographic. If it’s low for just one staff member, you’ll need to dig into their skill set to makes sure they know how to sell. If your average lens unit sales are good, but the average dollar value is low, it likely means you’re not selling enough premium lenses.
Another example? You notice that your sales of basic lens packages are much higher than your premium ones. This might mean that your staff needs additional training in top-down selling techniques, or that a certain staff member needs to brush up on presenting premium products as benefits to the patient.
A Force for Good
Johnson also likes to use the productivity report as the basis for optical staff incentive programs. Sharing the productivity report with your staff members, on a daily or weekly basis, helps them gauge their performance. That way, each staff member will be aware of their status and of where they stand in regards to their individual goals. They’ll also see exactly how they are contributing to the optical’s sales goals. They can see their own numbers—not just the optical’s in general—in black and white. Then, as they change their actions or implement different solutions, they can see those results show up in the productivity report. It gives them an objective look at what’s working, and what’s not.
Johnson likes to track performance daily, he tells Vision Monday. “We have seen a huge improvement in premium sales percentages such as 70 percent non-glare, 72 percent poly, and 73 percent of all multifocals sold are progressive lenses.”
Lead, or Lag?
“Smart people with good data make good decisions,” says Ann Hulett, CMPE, CEO of EyeHealth Northwest, PC and presenter at the same AAO conference. If you choose the right kind of software, you’ll have the insights you need to take action. (Learn more about choosing software here.) Note the difference between lag measures and lead measures, she advises. Lag measures indicate how you did on achieving a certain goal—you can’t act on them, because they already happened. In contrast, lead measures are influence-able and they “are something we can do something about,” Hulett says. What lead measures should you look at for each optical staff member? Here are a few to get you started:
- Revenue per patient
- Optical encounters
- Premium sales
- Second pairs
- Remake rate
- Return rate
- Warranties sold (if your practice offers them)
- Add-on sales
- Orders for annual supply of CLs
- Jobs by vision plan
More than One Metric
A productivity report is good for more than just measuring optical sales. You can apply the same principle to just about every position in your practice. A personalized productivity report generated by your ophthalmic software will increase engagement by making each staff member aware of areas where they can directly influence your practice’s profitability. For example, a productivity report for someone in your back office, like a biller or coder, might include lead measures like these, according to Huett:
- Percentage of claims filed within two business days
- Percentage of clean claims filed
- Denial rate by CPT code
- Denial rate by payer