lens practice pearls
Goals to Increase Your Contact Lens Practice
THOMAS G. QUINN, OD, MS, FAAO
you have a healthy general practice but wish you were doing more with contact lenses?
Here are a few ideas to help you grow the size and profitability of your contact
First commit to providing contact lens services. Establish
financial goals and you'll be more likely to achieve them. Follow through by educating
your staff and establishing systems and policies for managing contact lens patients.
Areas to define include:
Contact Lens Fee System This should include whether you'll present
contact lens costs as global or with services and materials itemized separately.
We present our service and material fees separately. We bias our service fees high
and material fees low. This approach lets us feature the expertise and service that
sets us apart from our competition.
Wondering how high to set your fees? Look at skill level required,
anticipated number of visits, whether others in your area offer the service, what
your competition charges and your material costs. Do a gut check. Can you and your
staff present the fee unapologetically? Will your compensation be adequate so you'll
happily invest an extra visit to achieve success?
Refund policy How long will you work to achieve success before
feeling you should assess additional fees? You should spell this out at the beginning.
If you establish a healthy, but reasonable fee up front, you won't be stingy about
investing more time to meet a patient's contact lens needs. What if you're unable
to fit the patient successfully? Have a refund policy and present it in writing
at the outset.
Scheduling Provide your office staff with guidelines about how
much time to allow for lens fitting and follow-up visits and where to place these
visits in your schedule. We often schedule our contact lens visits between comprehensive
exams. Another patient's contact lens visit takes place as the comprehensive exam
patient's pupils dilate or while he selects eyewear.
Exude Contact Lenses
Once your systems are in place, have everything about you and
your practice speak contact lenses. Specifics might include:
Telephone When patients call for an appointment, ask about their
interest in contact lenses. Install an on-hold message system that informs patients
about contact lens-related issues.
Reception Area Display posters and/or brochures featuring contact
lenses. Consider a video system that educates patients about contact lenses. When
patients check in, give them a questionnaire inquiring about their interest in contact
Outreach Produce an office newsletter with a contact lens section.
Communicate with local media on contact lens issues. For example, send a press release
about a new contact lens or offer a column on the importance of hygiene with contact
If you want to build a contact lens practice, you must fit them,
even if you're running behind and it's lunchtime and you skipped breakfast. If a
patient is a good candidate, slow down and discuss contact lenses and their benefits.
The patient may need to return for a fitting, but you'll have started the process.
Stay on top of contact lens developments. Attend contact lens
continuing education courses. Learn about new designs, fitting pearls and troubleshooting
strategies. Knowledge must be constant. And when combined with commitment and planning,
you have a firm foundation upon which to build a successful contact lens practice.
Dr. Quinn is in group practice
in Athens, Ohio, and has served as a faculty member at The Ohio State University
College of Optometry.
Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: September 2005