For CECOP USA (Central Cooperative for Optical Purchasing), creating timely and relevant educational tools is one way the company brings values to its members. This association for independent eyecare professionals works with vendors across the industry and has recently added more than 20 offerings to serve members’ needs.

“We are affiliated with CECOP globally, and we have over 8,000 members around the world. Our sister countries already have extensive education programs and also focus on the top issues in eye-care,” explained Brent Alvord, chief development officer of CECOP USA. “We conducted extensive industry research in the U.S. around practice challenges and found they could be categorized into three main pillars—people, growth and profit.” As a result, the company has created new resources including:

• Optical 101: “One of the key issues in a tight labor market is getting new employees when an experienced person leaves. We designed an online course to teach incoming non-industry employees the basics about eyecare practices,” Alvord stated. “Practices also need to show they care for their employees, and they need to create a developmental pathway for them. This kind of commitment helps retention. Additionally, new employees want to be successful and they want the proper training to achieve that success. Practices are increasingly looking for training resources to help support their employees which also drives improvements in their patients’ experiences.” Optical 101 is available at

• Free marketing software: CECOP USA created software ( that enables members to easily schedule marketing campaigns from over 100 pre-created marketing assets. These campaigns engage patients through email and social media channels.

• Savings opportunities: “In the profit category, we partnered with an expert company to conduct practice reviews examining opportunities for tens of thousands of dollars in savings for practices by improving billing, coding and reimbursement processes,” Alvord said.

CECOP USA members are responding positively to these new education resources. “Many of our members have started using our platform,” said Alvord. “Others who haven’t started using it yet love knowing it is there for them when they have any people who need training. They are able to have peace of mind knowing that a valuable resource exists for them without them having to pay anything extra.” CECOP USA doesn’t charge membership fees. Member practices must bill one vendor through the company to use its resources for free.

“We passionately believe there’s strength in community, and we want to help optometry be resilient in the face of all the market challenges and forces that are in play now and in the future,” Alvord remarked. “We are currently testing new best practices, processes, innovation and technology and will share all of these tools with our members once we’re satisfied that they really work.

We will also continue to help improve our members’ lives by assisting them with administrative and support services so they can focus on their passion of delivering fantastic patient care,” Alvord said.