Independent Doctors of Optometric Care (IDOC): Giving Independents a Competitive Advantage

Independent Doctors of Optometric Care (IDOC)

IDOC, a Norwalk, Conn.-based alliance committed to the growth and prosperity of independent ECPs, was founded in 1999 and currently has a member base of more than 3,000 independent optometrists. As a primary goal, the alliance is dedicated to giving independent eyecare professionals a competitive advantage.

Today, IDOC is the largest “independently owned” alliance in the U.S. market, and is owned by a “family fund,” according to IDOC president and chief executive officer Dave Brown. In November 2016, Investors Management Corporation (IMC), a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment firm, acquired IDOC from The Riverside Co. The terms of that transaction were not disclosed.

“They are a long-term, buy-and-hold family fund, so we are not owned by private equity and we are not owned by any strategic manufacturer,” Brown told VM in a recent interview. “We are owned by a group that is very interested in growing independent optometry and loves what independent optometry does across the U.S. in all of the various communities that [these offices] are a part. And this allows me as the CEO to think long term and to do what is in the best interest of the independent OD. I think this is a meaningful differentiator for IDOC over the long haul,” he added.

Also setting IDOC apart is that it offers ODs three different membership levels to choose from. They are: Essential, Advisor and Select (the flagship membership program), and they are set apart by the level of tools and services provided related to staffing goals, retail development and marketing plans. “A big part of our push with both IDOC Advisor and IDOC Select has been to provide consulting,” Brown said. “I like to use the Farmers Insurance line, ‘We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.’ Our consultants have been involved in many, many aspects of optometry.”

The IDOC Select membership level now offers access, at no cost, to practice performance tracking with the EDGEPro by GPN. The EDGEPro dashboard provides real-time data, insights and clear, concise comparisons to identify trends and make improvements.

IDOC also hosts networking events for members on almost a weekly basis, and held more than 300 of these networking get-togethers in 2017 and was able to facilitate more than 2,300 peer-to-peer interactions, Brown said. “When you add it all up, we think we are an extremely great value.”

Earlier this month, IDOC announced it was launching a “Satisfaction Guarantee” program that allows independent ODs to take full advantage of an IDOC membership program risk-free. If a member is not completely satisfied with their IDOC membership, their dues will be refunded in full if all conditions of the offer are met, according to the announcement.

“We’re so confident that ODs will see their membership positively impacting their business bottom line and facilitating growth in their business goals, we’re willing to commit to the satisfaction guarantee program,” Brown said. The IDOC 100 percent Satisfaction Guarantee is full assurance that an IDOC membership meets the OD’s needs and provides a “unique value add.”

Separately, IDOC announced that it has introduced a new IDOC Select Contact Lens Plan that will offer ODs “enhanced choice and flexibility,” according to an announcement. “At IDOC, we understand that every optometry practice is unique and choice matters, which is why we’ve added the choice of the Select Contact Lens Plan to complement our current IDOC Select Contact Lens and Lab offering.”

This choice makes it easier and simpler for ODs to access the benefits of their IDOC Select Membership on their contact lens business, while maintaining flexibility with an existing preferred lab provider. As with the existing plan, Alcon and CooperVision continue as exclusive manufacturers to IDOC Select with unique offerings found only at IDOC.