A new year is always a time for reflection and consideration of what we want to accomplish with the next chapter. As a goal setter, I always get excited about what the future holds and how tracking things can help me improve.
This year is an excellent year to improve your practice, not just for your bottom line, but to improve the lives of your patients. I’d like to share four steps to improving your contact lens practice this year.
Steps to Improvement
Step 1: Look at Your Fitting Fees Many practitioners charge the same amount of money for their fitting year in and year out. They feel that patients will not pay an increased fee, because it is already a lot of money. What this says about contact lens fitters is that they may not value their own time.
Consider this: You as a specialist with enhanced knowledge of how to solve problems. Even if you can solve a problem with an easy solution, it is the knowledge of how to solve the problem with an easy solution that makes you a specialist. If you evaluate your fitting fees and see that the true value is higher than what you are charging, you need to seriously consider increasing your price. All of the other aspects of improving your practice hinge on you being paid what you deserve.
Step 2: Consider Multifocal Lenses Many fitters avoid fitting patients into multifocal lenses because of the increased chair costs/time (see Step 1 on how to overcome chair costs/time). Success with multifocal lenses rarely depends on the fitters’ ability or knowledge of the lenses; instead, it depends on the ability to communicate what the lenses can and cannot do. Great fitters underpromise and overdeliver. Rethink your multifocal positioning to patients, and see whether you can increase your multifocal uptake.
Step 3: Fit More Specialty Lenses For most of us, this is going to happen if we already fit the lenses, but we can all be looking for more opportunities. Patients who have an iris coloboma and need a tinted lens, progressing myopes, the post-refractive surgery 20/25 patients—the list of non-standard specialty patients goes on.
Be on the lookout for how you can solve problems in new ways with contact lenses. When you come upon one, share it with a colleague, and tell the practitioners around town that you are looking for these types of patients. You might grow your specialty practice because others start seeing you as more of a specialist.
Step 4: Myopia Control I couldn’t be more excited about how myopia control is gaining in popularity. Having worked to slow myopia progression in my patients over my 12-year career, it is awesome to see that more and more practitioners are getting on board with orthokeratology and customized soft multifocals.
Although we do not have an on-label treatment for myopia progression (yet), we have a plethora of knowledge that helps. This year, set out to actively slow the progression in your myopia patients. Whether using a daily disposable or frequent replacement distance-center lens, a custom soft toric distance-center multifocal, or orthokeratology, individualize your treatment for each of your patients to make them and your practice better. CLS