Change is all around us, and those businesses that can adapt will succeed. Those who flounder will fail. Adopting new technology in our office can be a challenge, but in the current environment, this has become crucial to success or failure. Twenty years ago, we had to implement new technology very infrequently. It was a long time between the fax machine and online ordering. Today, that's all changed with so much new eyecare technology coming out every year.
Some examples include:
- optical measuring devices
- electronic patient communication systems
- online contact lens ordering from your website
- online eyewear ordering from your website
Optical Measuring Devices
Focusing on just one of these, it becomes clear that in order to succeed in an increasingly competitive market, local and regional optical groups must learn how to implement these new eyewear technologies across multiple locations not just to survive but also to thrive.
For example, with the introduction of the
AccuFit Digital Measurement System, LensCrafters is teaching patients that if you don't use an electronic measuring device then you aren't as accurate as they are.
The LensCrafters' website says that AccuFit is "five times more precise than manual measurements." In other words, if your doctor's office doesn't have AccuFit then it can't possibly make the glasses as well.
However, there are many other optical measuring devices available, including:
i.Terminal 2 by Zeiss
ABS Smart Pad
A Framework for Training
Whichever device you choose, training and implementation are equally important…if not more. Unfortunately, many times these new pieces of equipment come into our locations and end up sitting in the corner collecting dust. To avoid that, follow this framework for training:
1. Choose a train-the-trainer.
Each location should have one person responsible for learning the system and becoming the trainer. This could be your optical manager or simply one lead team member.
2. Take advantage of on-site training programs.
Many of the companies provide onsite training options. They'll come into your office, demonstrate the machine, and let you practice while someone is there to take you through it step by step. It's best to schedule an initial session and then have the trainer come back about a week later to follow up.
3. Practice on each other.
The best way to learn is to practice in a non-stress environment. The "trainer" you've chosen for your office should meet with your optical team members and let them practice measuring each other. They should measure at least 10 staff members before taking on their first patient.
4. Set clear attainable expectations.
Do you want your team to measure every patient's PD electronically, only progressive patients, or only private pay patients? Choose what works best for your office, and then hold everyone accountable. Set up a tracking form to measure the results each week. If you think utilizing the machine means "use it on every patient" and your team thinks it means "using it most of the time" then you have unclear goals, and they may not know that they're not living up to expectations.
5. Hold people accountable.
Many multi-location practices have an HR review system for bonuses and raises. (If you don't have one, check out
vhr-advisor.com). Add the new technology and expectations as part of your quarterly review process. Be up front that you expect everyone to learn and utilize the new equipment.
Follow this framework for training and stick to it every time you adopt new technology across multiple locations, and you'll not only adapt to the changes happening around you but you will also start implementing your own changes as well.
Jay Binkowitz, optometric business consultant, is chief executive officer and president of
GPN, exclusive provider of The EDGE.
Evan Kestenbaum, MBA, is chief information officer of
GPN, Exclusive Provider of The EDGE. Contact Jay and Evan directly at