Reader and Industry Forum
Consider a Concierge Lens Practice to Prevent Dropouts
BY IRWIN AZMAN, OD
Despite new contact lens designs, materials, and care solutions, a contact lens dropout epidemic still exists. While as low as 5 percent to 10 percent of patients have been reported to drop out of lens wear (Pritchard et al, 2010), one 2010 survey reported that dropout rates are as high as 16 percent to 30 percent (Rumpakis, 2010).
I believe that one powerful way to counter the epidemic is a concierge practice model. This model enables more in-depth patient management and treatment in such areas as ocular surface disease and the prescribing of appropriate lens materials/designs.
Why a Concierge Practice Model Works
Contact lens success hinges on four key components: 1) comfort all day; 2) clear, stable eyesight all day; 3) minimal or no anatomical and physiological changes in the tear/cornea/lid interface; and 4) a variety of options, from single-day disposables to 30-day continuous wear lenses, to assure biocompatibility to the eye.
A concierge practice provides the framework to address these four components—in turn driving up contact lens success.
With this improved care model comes improved remuneration for extended services. Our decades-long experience with concierge care—both in our own and in client practices—documents that patients are willing to pay more for this much-improved level of care. Post-care, they report extremely high levels of satisfaction, evidenced by robust patient loyalty and retention.
Typically, a concierge contact lens practice reduces a traditional practice patient population by 5 percent to 20 percent—dependent in large part on the degree of delegation, the flow of patients, and the technology employed.
In turn, practitioners have the opportunity to spend more quality time addressing all relevant issues, including refraction, eye health, systemic health, and visual needs. Practitioners also can enjoy the “luxury” of providing indepth explanations of diagnoses and treatment options—enhancing patient trust, education, compliance, and satisfaction.
The concierge practice model results in net income increases, improved patient loyalty, higher employee satisfaction and retention, and a generally enhanced work environment. Practitioners also can opt to spend less time in the office, while enjoying the time spent in the practice much more than they did previously.
How You Can Get Started
Implementing a concierge model concept is initially complicated and requires a committed attitude. Three critical elements are total staff buy-in, willingness to raise fees in tandem with seeing fewer patients, and carrying premium contact lens materials/designs. Concierge practice success hinges on strict adherence to all three elements.
Once you decide to pursue a contact lens concierge practice, hire a contact lens concierge partner experienced in setting up turnkey operations, able to prove its claims, and willing to tie its compensation to increased practice revenues. With the right firm in place, the process generally unfolds very efficiently and with surprisingly few glitches.
Enjoy the Benefits
I personally attest to all these benefits achieved via the concierge model. Eliminate the dropout epidemic, watch benefits accrue to patients, and discover renewed practice satisfaction coupled with financial reward—a true win/win/win! CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references.asp and click on document #216.
Dr. Azman is the co-founder of The Dry Eye Center of Maryland and Azman Contact Lens Specialists of Maryland. Dr. Azman is also the co-founder of Ophthalmic Practice Transformations (OPT), a unique consulting firm specializing in concierge care for the dry eye and contact lens practice.