There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself before planning to open a new practice. The most important one is ‘Why?’
Why would an optometrist want to take on such a difficult feat after years of schooling, residencies, and a myriad of other sacrifices? For Dr. Angelina Gavel-Rukha in New Britain, CT, it was about freedom and the ability to make changes, updates and improvements as needed without waiting for approval from others.
Dr. Rukha believes that with your own practice, you have control of your fate and are independently responsible for your success. Having your own practice allows you to experience new levels of pride in your services and products while also fulfilling your unique vision to serve both your patients and your staff. “There is also the freedom to have the exact work—life balance you want, allowing for more quality time with family and friends,” said Dr. Rukha, owner and founder of Rukha Eye Care.
After identifying the ‘why,’ it’s critical to learn ‘how.’
Four years ago, in July 2017, Megan Douglas joined EYEcenter Optometric as their full-time Marketing Director. Since her arrival, she has managed all marketing and communication for EYEcenter Optometric, a five-location optometry office spread across the Sacramento region in California.
Megan focused her marketing efforts on raising brand awareness, bringing in new business, and retaining customers in the community. “The first few years were a lot of trial and error to see what would resonate with our customers,” she recounts. Their tactics included attending public events, advertising at schools and retirement homes, digital and print advertising, direct mail campaigns, and social media marketing.
Her commitment to elevate EYEcenter Optometric has helped Meghan and the team take a holistic approach to marketing. “It was beneficial that the practice had available resources and foresight for a full-time role dedicated to marketing efforts. Having someone spend time paying attention to messaging and developing our patient communications is huge.”
Megan has worked to create and implement a strong brand identity, relevant content, and regular performance tracking and reporting for the EYEcenter Optometric Team. “They have given me a great deal of trust and have empowered me to do what’s right for the business.” Megan coordinates and meets with her team regularly. “Open lines of communication with management has been crucial; we have worked hard to make sure everyone is on the same page,” she says.
With eye care professionals (ECPs) working their way back to ‘normal’ while the COVID-19 pandemic continues and uncertainty remains for all businesses, one optometrist is glad he made the switch to a more efficient practice management tool when he did.
The Eyefinity Team recently caught up with Shane Fontenot, O.D. of Advanced Family Eyecare to hear about his transition from Officemate/ExamWRITER to Eyefinity Practice Management and Eyefinity EHR from VSP Global®. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:
“I purchased Eyefinity Practice Management and Eyefinity EHR in May 2019 and went live with the cloud-based system about five months later in November 2019,” said Dr. Fontenot. “With all the craziness that began in 2020, I’m so glad I made the switch over to Eyefinity when I did. The change has allowed my team to increase our efficiency and see and treat patients safely and effectively throughout the pandemic.”
But how is this increased efficiency possible with a cloud-based system, and what exactly is the ‘cloud?’
Consider this: Do you find yourself chaotically searching through files or clicking between countless open windows? Do your patients sign-in for appointments with pen and paper? If so, now may be the perfect time to plan ahead and make a commitment to achieve faster, more efficient workflows in your practice.
You probably already know that there is a way to eliminate inefficiencies – such as antiquated servers or paper charting – with state-of-the-art practice management technology, like Eyefinity EHR and Eyefinity Practice Management, software from VSP Global®. What you may not know is how fast and seamless the transition can be.
Read about how Dr. Veronica Barber of Vista Point Eye Care in California transitioned to her new Eyefinity solutions in just 30 days and why she says it was totally worth the effort.
On the Fast Track to a Better Practice
Like many other Eye Care Providers (ECPs), Dr. Barber had to change the way she ran her business in the face of COVID-19. In doing so, she saw an opportunity to do something she had wanted to do for several months.
“I knew I wanted to try Eyefinity in 2019, but I was hesitant to pull the trigger because the task of transitioning to a new software and training my whole team was daunting,” said Dr. Barber. “When business started to drop due to the pandemic, I knew it was time.”
The time to transition to a new practice management software can typically take 90-120 days, but Dr. Barber was certain her team could do it faster, and with Eyefinity’s help, they did!
Imagine being asked a month ago, “How would you feel about managing the care of your patients from the phone or the web?” I would hazard to guess that few of us had considered it a real possibility. COVID-19 awakened our industry to the applicability of remote care, while the government’s injunction of telehealth waiver 1135 made it a reality overnight.
Some say telehealth services, across all medical verticals, could have been adopted long ago. Though for good reason, telemedicine has been governed by strict regulations. Like me, many of you may have been watching the industry grapple with a position on this topic.
At Mallinger Family Eyecare, Dr. Jennifer Mallinger, Dr. Julie Arcemont, and the staff strive to surpass the expectation of care for every patient. This isn’t easy in a world where there’s an app for everything, and folks are accustomed to walking into Starbucks and ordering their “usual” like a regular. Today’s patients expect more than just a solid prescription. It’s about the complete experience.
To keep up with patients’ growing expectations, we decided to go paperless about a year and a half ago. I can’t even describe how scary that was, but change always is. With support from Eyefinity® and our scanner, we successfully moved to Eyefinity EHR.
When you think of electronic health records, you probably assume you need to be tech savvy. But with Eyefinity EHR, understanding how to use an iPad is all you need to get started. Yes, there are times when something simple can get a bit involved. It happens with computers too, but that is when the technician saves the day!
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” attributed to hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky. I’ve always loved that it speaks to taking chances and not backing down from the unfamiliar. Continue reading “Swing, Baby, Swing – Forward Together”
In 2016, an estimated $390.05 billion was given to U.S. charities according to Giving USA. “Why is Steve sharing this fact with me?” you ask. In my opinion, the foundation on which Optometry is built is giving back. Continue reading “Giving Back – Forward Together”
This past month, it has been such an eye-opening experience to reflect on what it means to move “Forward Together.” From how “grit” is a uniquely human quality that helps us to persevere, to how we are all connective tissue in the optometry industry, we are starting a much larger conversation about advancing our communities through top-notch optometric care. Continue reading “Getting Schooled – Forward Together”