VM REPORTS: Optometric Business Innovators Optical Dispensing By Staff Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:05 AM RELATED CONTENT VM and Review of Optometric Business Salute ODs Identifying the 2011 Innovators Marketing Digital Media Business Management Contact Lens Dispensing The Patient Experience Influencers Alphabetical List of Honorees JENNIFER BRADY COOK, OD Owner Visionary Eye Care www.visionaryeyecaretampa.com Lutz, Florida “We create a fun, relaxed atmosphere and provide our patients with a personalized experience that is second to none.” Jennifer Brady Cook, OD, knew exactly what she had in mind when she opened her practice in September 2008. “I created a vision of where I wanted to work and how I wanted it to feel,” she said. For inspiration, Brady Cook showed her architects and designers photos of Soho House in Manhattan and the Delano Hotel in South Beach, Miami. “I only hire fun and genuinely nice people who automatically know to make eye contact and openly communicate with patients. I hire for culture first and foremost because you can’t train attitude,” she said The office environment also focuses on fun. “We have no forms to fill out, we have no warning signs about our policies posted,” Brady Cook explained. Fun also is boosted by the doctor’s bulldogs, Joseph and Herbert. She jokes that she has conducted many an eye exam with a dog’s head between her and the patient—especially if that patient is a child. The dogs create a friendly office that children look forward to visiting. Employees are empowered problem-solvers. “I empower my employees by allowing them $300 per situation to fix any patient problem,” said Brady Cook. “They understand that our culture is to do whatever we can to make the patient happy.” Amir Khoshnevis, OD Owner Carolina Family Eye Care, OD, PLLC www.visionsource- carolinafamilyeyecare.com Charlotte, North Carolina “Take action. Create passion.” “Being in Charlotte, home of Wachovia and Bank of America, we were in the heart of the financial meltdown. New patient numbers were down, recall rates were reduced and our overall production was well below expectations,” said Amir Khoshnevis, OD. “We selectively increased participation on insurance panels, employed lean management initiatives to improve efficiency, and focused on improving the patient experience.” NuVue, the practice’s branded optical, exemplifies Khoshnevis’s philosophy of offering patients something they won’t find anywhere else. Jennifer DaQuano, NuVue manager, argued that “instead of allowing a mass-produced designer to sell itself (only to compete with everyone around us and online optical) we should sell the experience of uniqueness.” That means selling brands from around the world, rather than just sticking to the big box frames brands. The innovation behind the practice’s optical philosophy results from engaging staff in the practice vision. Khoshnevis recommends “selling your vision [not just sharing] by preparing, presenting, telling a story that’s personalized and has emotional appeal, framing the discussion, and establishing the end goal; while always keeping the interests of your patients as the motivation, versus financial gains.” OLIVER LOU, OD CEO Signature Eye Care www.signatureeyecare.com Cedar Park, Texas “Always strive to work smarter, not just harder. Change and improve to remain pertinent and relevant.” Oliver Lou, OD, seems predisposed to high growth. “I started my practice from zero in August 2002. Within six years, we accomplished $1 million in gross revenue as a one-doctor practice. By the end of seven years, we were able to move out of our leased space, purchase land and construct a permanent building for the practice with a 4,800 square foot ground-up construction.” Accommodating patients is a top priority. “We go to great lengths to provide exceptional service from the way we answer phones to greeting our patients as they walk in the door,” said Lou. “Anything we can do to make our patients feel comfortable is considered.” The practice even has a Keurig machine so patients can fix themselves hot drinks in the reception area. There is also a play area for children with a toy train. In case patients still aren’t entertained, they get iPads for fun while waiting in the exam room. “We always send a survey to each patient the next day to ensure we can gather valuable feedback and respond to their suggestions and needs in a prompt manner,” said Lou. “We have a fully technology-integrated practice so that we can see a high-volume of patients comprehensively and effectively.” AHMED SAID, OD Founder Oasis Eye Care www.oasiseyecare.com North Carolina “The patient is always right. Custom service is the core of how and why we do business.” Ahmed Said, OD, has a bustling practice and offers everything from emergency eyecare to Lasik consultations, but his patients love his practice for the customized attention they get. That individualized attention is best highlighted in the practice’s optical, which recently started offering iZon lenses, high-resolution, customized eyeglasses. Along with cutting-edge offerings, Said, who has a second office in Garner, N.C., counts as achievements the optical’s success selling multiple pairs of eyeglasses and prescription sunwear, and educating patients about the benefits of lens treatments like anti-glare. Said explained that his staff is trained to find customized solutions for patients. “We ask patients a lot of questions and take detailed histories of hobbies and interests, customizing their prescription to match their lifestyle,” he said. “We believe in a holistic and unique approach to each patient.” Said is also a believer in the importance of the hand-off from doctor to optician. That means the patient’s education of their eyecare needs begins in the exam chair and is reinforced when the doctor hands the patient off to the optician to choose eyewear in the dispensary.