Article

THE BUSINESS OF CONTACT LENSES

NEXT TIME, JUST KILL ME

For the third (and definitely the last) time in my 32-year career, I (we) moved my office. The new office is huge, bright, cheerful, innovative, and exciting...but what a nightmare! While exciting, moving an office is a very stressful event. I strongly advise crisis counseling before and after for you and your staff—and maybe friends and family, too.

Crisis communication with patients isn’t a bad idea either. When, inevitably, the office staff has to go days (or weeks) without phones or fax, or it takes three days longer than predicted to map the new computer network, get more licenses, etc., your ability to honor the ideal scene of treating your very valuable patients in a timely fashion can be tested, to put it mildly.

Moving Logistics

First, the logistics of moving an office—not to mention designing and constructing that office—are a colossal distraction that can erode the quality of care rendered by both eyecare practitioners and their staff members, and this is even before a single box is packed. It is important to have an action plan to ensure that all orders and returns are done, and credits are tidied up, before the move occurs.

Do everything feasible to dispense everything possible before the move. The more product that can be pushed out the door, the fewer things that have to be moved and can potentially be lost, broken, inadvertently thrown away, etc.

Cleanliness

In my mind’s eye, I thought that my office ran a really good, tight ship of cleanliness and that we were on top of everything. Wrong! It was so embarrassing to see the volume and size of the dust bunnies lurking in the nooks and crannies of the old office. In fact, I did not want to relinquish the space to the custodial staff until it was cleaned first.

Baffling Buildup

Trial lenses!?! Let’s not get started on trial lenses. The office runs out of those things all of the time. However, when we moved, we magically had our hands full of expired trials that needed replacement. How did that happen?

We also had some medication, tear supplement, and contact lens solution samples that were expired. Expired? We use those things until there is nothing left. What on earth was going on here?

Do Better Moving Forward

Practitioners’ bandwidth during a move does not lend itself to much self-reflection. But, once the dust is literally and figuratively settling, they have to begin to think about process.

The odd dust bunny behind a filing cabinet notwithstanding, how can practitioners do a better job of controlling the controllable in a manner that doesn’t make them live in mortal fear of someone going through their offices with a fine-toothed comb?

Clearly, there is a better way to inventory trial lenses, contact lens solutions, and drug samples to ensure that nothing on the shelf is expired.

Practitioners must do a better job of partnering with their lens and solution reps from the various companies to confirm that their trial and retail inventories are complete and current. Those representatives are great resources for controlling this aspect of the practice.

Personally, in our policy manual, I will set some policies for directing these tasks in a more formal way so that we guarantee that these tasks get done. Also, we will begin a periodic deep cleaning cycle. This is a task that we will do one room at a time.

Moving is hard, but it’s also a great experience. We found some weaknesses that will get corrected. Everyone should at least do a “moving drill” to find their offices’ weaknesses. They’ll be surprised what they find lurking. CLS