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Mark Hinton

ECP Excellence is Within Your Grasp If You Keep these 19 Things in Mind

First and foremost: Eyecare is not a job, it’s a noble career.

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THIS YEAR, I had the honor to judge INVISION Magazine’s America’s Finest finalist entries highlighting independent ECP excellence.

Reviewing the websites and social media profiles, along with the personal beliefs and stories, mission and vision behind these practices — from serious to fun and even funky — all vying for best of was so very difficult. I was constantly thinking objectively (facts) versus subjectively (feelings). My own business could be judged by the same means and the outcome could very well vary depending on the personality of the judge.

The process, however, was enlightening for me. My intention throughout was to be thoughtful, thorough and helpful. There are so many aspects to creating, developing and designing a business. Aesthetics, mission, vision, social media aside, the challenges of operating a successful business are daunting.

I’d like to share a few ideas to consider for your successful practice…

  • Eyecare is not a job, it’s a noble career.
  • It’s not a staff, it’s a team.
  • The better your team is with communication to your patient, the higher your revenue per patient.
  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott is a wonderful book to help team members navigate “feelings” with each other.
  • Traction by Gino Wickman is the EOS (System) to operate and grow your practice in the most successful way.
  • People don’t run the practice, systems do, and people run the systems.
  • Help patients opt in, not opt out, of your treatment plans.
  • A well-trained and coached team feels confident and enjoys the workplace.
  • Measure it and grow it.
  • Most PM software systems provide a “rear view” snapshot of your metrics. A datamining software like EdgePro offers that and a projection of where you’re headed so you can see trends happening live. It’s good to know where you’ve been, but it’s crucial to know what’s in front of you and how to get there or avoid it.
  • Carve out time. Without time to develop and practice every aspect of patient care with individuals and departments, you won’t be as great as you could be.
  • Your handoff from exam to optical could be so much better than it is. Capture and increased revenue per patient happens in the exam room first! How great is yours?
  • Develop “save-the-sale” pricing. Capture rates in private practice optical are dropping. “Big Box” optical has commoditized eyewear and from the consumer perspective all lenses/glasses are the same. Beat them at their own game; your lab can help.
  • Maximize your patient vision savings plan all year around.
  • Discontinue using the words: insurance, coverage, allowance, overage, unfortunately, and out of pocket! These words are not retail friendly. Managed Vision Care plans are discount plans, they do not insure the patient.
  • Learn to love photochromic lenses. They make far more sense than clear-only lenses for healthy contrasted sight and they’re an “annuity” for profit.
  • Your optical is a pharmacy. Think about it!
  • Add non-insurance revenue generators.
  • Connect with patients by their preferred name. It is just respectful. Don’t assume their name. Formal names are transactional and preferred names are relational. Relationships win!
  • Meet as a team every week. Every team that won a playoff practiced, strategized, and then practiced again between games.

Implement these things and you may be up for America’s Finest, highlighting independent ECP excellence.

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Mark Hinton is a practice owner, as well as CEO and president of eYeFacilitate, a private practice consultancy. A sought-after ABO/COPE approved practice management expert, with eYeFacilitate he helps practices drive optical efficiencies, maximize managed care revenue and profit, improve capture, and increase revenue through simple systems with a focused process. Email him at [email protected]

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