When you hear the phrase “expanding your practice,” you may think of adding a room or moving to a larger physical space. In some cases, this is exactly what you need to grow your practice. However, a more immediate opportunity exists that doesn’t require changing the physical structure of your office.
One change you can make immediately: Provide care to the fullest extent of your education and state optometric laws. By diagnosing and managing chronic diseases, such as glaucoma and ocular surface disease, you can provide care and relief to more patients while expanding your practice.
Years ago, Cristina Schnider, OD, of Johnson & Johnson Vision, and Dave Sattler, formerly of Alcon Laboratories, Inc., introduced a special awareness program called “The Power of the Pen.” The concept was simple: Writing prescriptions for patient care is a powerful tool for optometrists. A prescription carries authority from the prescriber and provides treatment options not available with over-the-counter remedies.
Each small step to expand the scope of your practice can lead to big changes in practice growth. Over time, patients will associate medical eyecare with your primary eyecare. Upgrades to your office may include staff training, new insurance billing and reporting, e-prescribing and new diagnostic instruments.
The scope of optometric care has grown tremendously thanks to the dedication of others. I’d like to recognize the tireless efforts of: Thomas Lewis, OD, PhD, who as a professor and past president of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now part of Salus University) offered one of the first 100-hour therapeutic courses; Lou Catania, OD, who taught many therapeutic courses and was an evangelist, of sorts, for optometric therapeutics; and Michael Cohen, OD, for introducing the first-generation Visual Field Analyzer from Humphrey Instruments to optometrists. The future for prescribing by optometry is very bright indeed.