The past year has been a busy one at the IDOC organization, including the recent merger with Three Rivers Optical laboratory and a continued effort toward helping independent ODs grow their practices by being a full service provider that offers much more than an alliance/buying group, its leaders stated.

Dave Brown (l) and Oliver Spandow

“At IDOC, we continuously challenge ourselves to innovate and maximize the value we can bring the entire optometry industry,” said Dave Brown, IDOC president and chief executive officer. “In 2022 we launched a full suite of services—taking over critical areas in a practice that will greatly help the independent OD succeed. When we say ‘Let IDOC Do It’, the practice actually outsources the work to our employees.

“And we still offer best-in-class vendor programs and peer-to-peer networking. Our adoption rate for services has been very strong, as has the satisfaction with the services, and we expect many ODs to use our unique financial, optical, HR and marketing services that enhance practice efficiency and profitability in 2023.”

In January, IDOC announced a merger with Three Rivers Optical, which brought together two renowned industry leaders, IDOC, the largest independent optometric alliance, and Three Rivers Optical, a leading independent optical laboratory. The companies have combined to bring a suite of practice enhancement and lab services to eyecare professionals. Three Rivers Optical’s benefits include quality products, leading customer service, industry-leading turnaround times and American-made manufacturing.

Also in January, IDOC announced new partnerships for 2023 with over 15-plus additional vendors to add to its portfolio, while maintaining valued existing partnerships. IDOC partners with more than 55 vendors to provide exclusive pricing discounts, rebate programs and resources to IDOC members.

In its merger with Three Rivers Optical lab, IDOC launched its newest service: Lab Services. “We also remind our members, and any independent OD, to learn about IDOC Services—which include taking over critical elements of running a practice: bookkeeping, website and digital marketing, inventory management and HR support,” said Oliver Spandow, IDOC’s chief operating officer.

“In 2022, IDOC launched first-of-its-kind comprehensive practice management services to better serve our members and independent owners across the U.S. These services include finance Bookkeeping and Benchmarks, Marketing Social Media and Web & Search, Optical Inventory Management and HR services,” Spandow said.

“These solutions support independent practices helping owners get time back, outsourcing finance, marketing, and optical tasks to be run professionally by industry experts, and grow their businesses. In 2022, IDOC continued to grow these services and enhance the capabilities across each offering.”

While IDOC doesn’t share membership data, IDOC has grown its membership results year after year. “Our membership plans are open to all independent practices, with no lock-in contracts and a 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed or we refund your dues,” said Brown.

Looking ahead in 2023, Spandow noted that independent ODs will face economic challenges and ongoing staffing opportunities but “are as strong as ever” and that “those who join IDOC and utilize our program’s services will be very well positioned for continued growth to meet any market changes.”

“One change we see accelerating in 2023 is an increase in cold starts and new practices opening across the country; many of these are joining the IDOC Kickstart Program,” Spandow noted. “We also see a continued return to live events—our Connection national meeting was our largest ever in attendance. 2023 will bring new technologies, economic challenges, and ongoing staffing opportunities to independent practices.

“With staffing challenges continuing to accelerate, outsourcing to the industry experts at IDOC through our service offerings will be more important than ever. IDOC stands as a beacon for independents—providing hands-on support, practice management solutions, strong vendor partnerships and a peer community to lean on and learn from, to grow independent practices,” Spandow said.

IDOC continues to grow and meet the market demands for its services, hiring more than 40 new staff members over the past two years. The addition of Three Rivers Optical takes its employment over 100 dedicated people.

“When we say ‘Let IDOC Do It’ we mean our employees are doing the work—the services work is not outsourced,” said Brown. “And we now own a lab through the merger with Three Rivers Optical. We have a wealth of expertise about independent optometry.”