No doubt, you are feeling the pressures of reduced reimbursements from third-party payers and competition from alternative sources from which patients can get their materials. To compensate for this, you may be thinking about finding new ways to grow your practice and better serve your patients. We asked doctors about what new revenue streams they’ve added in their practices and what advice they had for others. Some common themes occur: using new technology to provide more care for dry eye patients, fitting specialty contact lenses, investing in new equipment, and garnering referrals from satisfied patients.

“Added two clinic slots to see advanced dry eye, purchased the TearLab Osmolarity Test and purchased LipiFlow/LipiView systems.”

“We are adding a Pentacam to our office for general care as well as remodeling our frame room, as we also include new software support for our new services.”

“We added an OCT. We used to refer out all glaucoma suspects. We are now keeping them in-office and following them with this technology and office visits. One partner does all specialty contact lens fits and LASIK, and the other does glaucoma.”

“For dry eye, added instrumentation, the TearLab. Added a new associate and discuss with patients the availability of myopia control for children.”

“Added myopia control center, ortho-K fitting sets, IOL Master to measure axial length, and multifocal contact lens (NaturalVue).”

“We added vision therapy. To get the word out, I spoke to two different groups of various agencies involved in early development intervention.”

“Increased office space dedicated to dry eye. Added diagnostic testing equipment as well as instrumentation to manage lid disease.”

“Working with ophthalmology group with two cornea specialists and a plastic/reconstructive surgeon who refer dry eye patients.”

“Discussing myopia control with patients who fit the profile for successful CRT fits.”

“Opening up a dry eye center, dedicated phone line and a new separate website. Purchased BlephEx and LipiFlow.”

“Added new topography and meibomian gland analysis to assist with scleral/GP contact lens fits as well as dry eye treatment.”

“In-office BlephEx procedures. Fitting more scleral lenses, not just for keratoconic patients but for dry eye patients as well. Added TearLab services about two years ago.”

“New associate and introduction of a myopia control program.”

“I have been expanding my nutraceutical offerings but am slowly moving my patients to direct shipment for the companies we use because i am running out of room to stock so many new products.”

“We expanded our practice in the later part of 2017. With an additional exam lane, giving us four in total, I am going to use the new addition for vision therapy and occupational therapy a few days a week.”

“First, you have to maintain the basics, so reviewing recall process to keep encounters up each day in key performance areas is important, then using the database and external marketing to enhance a specialty area. We selected multifocal contacts and shell contacts (especially as a solution to ocular surface disease-related contact lens dropouts). We have an OSD center, so we added BlephEX and may add MiBo Thermoflo along with our existing TearLab.”

“I recently purchased an OCT, which will allow me to offer a broader service to my patients.”

“Purchased an OCULUS Keratograph 5M for its dry eye module. Have been using it to evaluate dry eye patients.”

“Target marketing.”

“Adding new technology every year, whether it is in the lab or the medical area, and educating patients about it has increased referrals a ton in our practice. I once heard at a CE class from a wonderful practice-management guru that every year patients come in, they need to see something new or be educated about something new, even if it is as small as changing a rug or picture in the office.”

“Stay ahead of the trends. Find new services that distinguish you from others. Focus on service rather than materials.”

“If you are standing still, you are falling behind. Stop complaining that things should not be the way they are, and start defining your practice and your care to this ever-changing world.”

“Do everything you can to please the patients that you have. Patients are not as loyal as they used to be, and any little thing will quickly send them away as well as send them to Google for a negative review.”

“The healthcare world is going through tremendous changes. I’m in my late 60s, and I know that if I don’t change and grow, the world will leave me behind. In my area, only one physician is not part of a hospital or group network. The days of solo eyecare practice are limited.”

“Word of mouth is our biggest referral source. Customizing the experience for each patient and giving them a fun experience like they have never had is our goal. This has gotten our referrals and reviews online to be our number one source of advertising.”

“Always do what is best for your patient because word of mouth is the best advertisement that you will ever require.”

“Specialty lens fitting—sclerals, multifocals, hybrid, ortho-K—has made my practice thrive over the last 10 years. Attend Vision By Design conference. Get good at fitting these, and drop every vision plan. Also include low vision services. It’s very easy to have a profound impact on patients with these needs. Be an InfantSee volunteer. It’s well worth the effort to gain new patients from these visits.”

“Identify an area of specialty interest and make the investment to differentiate your practice, enhancing patient services and growing the overall practice.”

“Go ahead and try. Get a list of patients who might benefit from the new service and promote it.”

“Find a specialty you enjoy and network with other ODs/MDs. Share special cases you have seen.”

“Make sure you have dependable, responsible, caring staff.”

“Explain how a one-on-one service can better aid a patient’s vision care vs. online.”

“Plant seeds every year for new services/products. Even if the patient declines, they will know you have new offerings available. I never want the patient to wonder why they had to hear about things outside our office.”

“Take advantage of the knowledge available to you by the companies that support the private-practice optometrist.”

“Don’t be afraid to offer scleral lenses in your practice. It is a big referral source once the word gets out that you fit them.”

“I have had great success carrying Bruder masks, Cliradex wipes and foam, p.r.n. omega 3s, OPTI-FREE PureMoist and ACUICYN over the last two years or so. They form a nice revenue stream for the office, and the patients appreciate the convenience.”

“Address device usage and blue-blocking technology with each patient at every annual exam.”

“Just try something; you’d be surprised. Don’t sell yourself short.”

“You need to offer better service, a specialty niche, and accept fewer vision plans. Your quality of care and life will improve immensely. Only 10% of our services involve third-party payers.”

“Don’t panic, as change will always be part of business, but do something now. Key indicators suggest we have opportunities to expand medical care and differentiate our practices with specialty services. Go beyond refraction and contacts. Make the most of each encounter, addressing all your patients’ medical, nutritional and ophthalmic eyecare needs and wants, and provide great experiences.”


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