VM REPORTS: Optometric Business Innovators The Patient Experience By Staff Tuesday, June 14, 2011 12:03 AM RELATED CONTENT VM and Review of Optometric Business Salute ODs Identifying the 2011 Innovators Marketing Digital Media Business Management Optical Dispensing Contact Lens Dispensing Influencers Alphabetical List of Honorees Kathleen Andersen, OD Owner Kathleen M. Andersen, OD, Inc. www.rmsvision.com Rancho Santa Margarita, California “Our mission is to have our patients see well and be well. We work tirelessly to help them understand their vision, ocular health and treatment plan to achieve this.” Kathleen Andersen, OD, provides an innovative and progressive approach to enhancing patient wellbeing and welfare by providing cutting edge medical services. She was the first OD in the nation to offer carotid artery ultrasound to patients with raised indicators for heart disease. Her goal is to help prevent her patients from suffering heart attacks or strokes by educating them about their individual risk factors and helping them to make lifestyle changes such as eating more nutritious foods, dieting, quitting smoking and maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Andersen has consistently used leading edge technology to grow her practice. In 2007, she brought in an OCT and other equipment to develop a medical practice. The following year she relocated her practice and completely redesigned the facilities in preparation for converting to electronic medical records. “These changes have made my office appear more professional and give the patients reassurance that we can handle any problem they present,” explained Andersen. “They let our patients know that we are up to date and leaders in the treatment and management of ocular disorders.” Andersen’s message is clear: “We recommend only the best technology has to offer.” Thomas Gosling, OD Owner Optical Matters www.opticalmatters.com Littleton, Colorado “We are responsible to our customers, to the environment, and to the community. In accomplishing our responsibilities, we will not take professional or ethical shortcuts.” At Optical Matters, Thomas Gosling, OD, manages every touchpoint a patient experiences, from greeting them when they walk in the door to explaining every aspect of the eye exam. “I believe customer service begins by how the owner shows it within the office,” Gosling said. This approach is also evident in the way Gosling uses technology. For example, Optical Matters is one of the first eyecare clinics in the country to utilize Hoya’s visuReal video centering system, which personalizes lenses for patients. Gosling has developed a successful family eyecare practice and is an expert in fitting patients into bifocal contact lenses and in helping hard to fit contact lens patients. “My goal has always been to create a bond with every one of my patients,” said Gosling. “By understanding not only their daily visual demands, but their family and work life atmosphere, I create a ‘feeling’ for the patient and their world. The secret is never to forget that feeling.” Gosling said that because he and his staff treat patients “as family,” they tend to refer other family members and friends. “We quit advertising after our first year and our practice has more than quadrupled in the last four years,” he noted. David Kaplan, OD Owner Family Eyecare of Glendale www.visionsource-eyedocsaz.com Glendale, Arizona “For private practice to survive in the 21st century, they must bring together three key elements; clinical excellence, cutting edge technology and innovative products.” At Family Eyecare of Glendale, one of the largest optometric practices in Arizona, David Kaplan, OD, has partnered with Carl Zeiss Vision to create a patient experience designed to educate patients about their eye exam and their eyewear options. When checking in, the patient receives a “passport” folder with sections devoted to each aspect of the eye appointment. This folder accompanies the patient throughout the appointment, and provides a springboard for a brief discussion about the purpose and value of each part of the exam process. As a result, patients develop a deeper appreciation of the high standard of care provided by the practice, increasing patient loyalty. By providing a thorough explanation of lens options, the process increases lens capture and premium eyewear sales. “The primary factor that differentiates our practice from most of our contemporaries is the educational platforms utilized throughout our office,” he said. “Patients are continuously educated about the equipment being utilized, the procedures being performed, and the products being recommended. When they leave our office they are well educated about their particular ocular condition and have a firm understanding that all optical products and all eye exams are not the same.” JACK MCINTYRE, OD Partner Drs. McIntyre, Garza, Avila, & Jurica www.cccontacts.com Corpus Christi, Texas “We continually strive to differentiate your patient experience. We want to avoid bland similarity.” “We promise to see you at your convenience, not ours,” advertises Jack McIntyre, OD. He backs this up by having seven-day-a-week availability, the latest technology and what colleagues describe as a “genetically happy” staff. His LensCrafters-affiliated practice, Drs. McIntyre, Garza, Avila, & Jurica, has operated for 25 years in Corpus Christi, Texas. The practice draws patients from as far as 70 miles away based partly on word of mouth referrals. On a Saturday, the staff might conduct up to 125 examinations. Known for his expertise in contact lens fitting, McIntyre advocates what he called a “differentiate or die” business philosophy. “I choose to fit contact lenses that set us apart from the mass merchandisers,” he explained. “If a contact lens is considered a commodity, I look for high-quality alternatives.” A member of both the American Optometric Association and the Texas Optometric Association, McIntyre has served as a board member for the Association of LensCrafters Leaseholding Doctors. And although LensCrafters has honored his practice with its “Office of the Year” award, McIntyre is not content to rest on his laurels and continues to look for ways to improve the patient experience. “We’ve used the recent economic downtown to re-evaluate all policies, as well as our equipment, the contact lenses we fit and staff training protocols. We are finishing up a major remodel in anticipation of increased patient flow as the recession continues to recede. We have already begun to see an increase in patient numbers,” he said.