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    Independence and optimizing your practice


    6.     Don’t think that developing your website is a ‘once and done’ event. Refreshing and updating your website ensures compatibility with hand-held devices. Adding new content, especially videos, improves search-engine results as well.

    7.     Don’t think that digital messaging takes the place of traditional patient communication modalities. Provider-to-patient outreach monitoring suggests that each time you reach out to patients using a different kind of modality or a different offering, your results should be the same.

        What this means to you is that if 5 patients you haven’t seen in four years respond to an email blast, then 5 patients should respond to a text message, 5 more to a postcard and 5 to a newsletter mailed to his or her home.  For purposes of illustration, let’s assume that your Average Patient Fee is $230. Therefore, stacking how you communicate to your patients just yielded you a gross return-on-investment of $4,600.

    8.     Don’t think that a bad review posted online is the end of the world. A complaint offers insights into the mind of disgruntled patients. As long as you respond to complaints in a sincere manner (I recommend using this three-step process: 1. Show you listened, 2. Acknowledge the emotion, 3. Own the issue and share action steps to resolve it as appropriate), your credibility with the virtual world might actually be elevated, not decimated.

    In addition to the freedom of what not to do, freedom also includes making your own choices about your practice future. Everything you need to set a course for your future success is readily available: good people, sophisticated diagnostics, business advice, and your own leadership style. The leadership needed to energize both your team and to confidently make recommendations about a treatment plan, eyewear or contact lens to patients.

    While frames, diagnostics, and employees are not free, eyecare practitioners are free to decide how he or she will use these precious resources.

    As you navigate practice management this July, I hope you’ll remember Independence Day. See it as not only a national holiday but as your personal call to action. The brave men that signed that document were ‘all in.’ They fought for what they believed. There will be days when you, too, will feel you are locked in a battle. It is then that you must remember today’s resolve.

    Independence is a heady feeling. Take the time to decide what you want to be free of and how you’re going to release it. Whatever the practice issue might may be, enjoy your summer without guilt and celebrate improved practice metrics and increased positive energy year round.

    Donna Suter
    Donna Suter is president of Suter Consulting Group.

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