As research for launching a new service called IDOC Specialty Services, I interviewed several industry experts of various specialties. At the end of each call, I asked everyone the same question: “What prevents more ODs from succeeding with a specialty?”
Their answers were insightful. I have compiled them below.
This was probably the most common response I received, referring to the challenges of working specialty patients into the daily flow of a busy practice. Offices with good intentions of growing a specialty find they lack the time to successfully implement. Success requires a review of options to improve efficiencies and create more time. One example is to hire an associate to take on more of the routine care.
Change is difficult, and implementing any new service requires the buy-in of the staff. Something I frequently hear is that the staff either resists changes associated with a new service, or initial excitement over a new service eventually wanes and the changes fail to last. Change management requires leaders who keep employees focused on the goals and hold people accountable for outcomes.
Creating a strategy is the easy part. Implementation is where many practices struggle. Success with implementing a specialty requires an action plan, including:
The key word is ACTION. Some research has found that the first 4 weeks can be the most difficult, as people may resort back to the “old way,” but if you can push through the first month, it’s more likely momentum will build and implementation will succeed.
If your focus is on saving the patient money versus improving their vision or quality of life, then it will be challenging to succeed with a specialty. I believe this is why many ODs merely “dabble” with a specialty. They would like more patients to invest in the service, but lack the ability to confidently prescribe a product or service that may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As one doctor put it, “The OD needs to truly believe that this is the best option for the patient.”
You may offer a specialty service, but are your patients (and community) aware that you offer this service? Is it reflected on your website in a way that truly differentiates your practice? Do you market it on social media? If someone in your area does a Google search for your specialty or a problem related to your specialty, will your practice show up at the top of the listings?
Marketing your specialty effectively can be a great boost to driving patients into your office. If you’re not a marketing expert (most ODs aren’t), IDOC can help with that. Check out IDOC Marketing Services.
If you want to make a specialty a more meaningful part of your practice but are struggling in any of these areas, I encourage you to join our Facebook group, IDOC Optometric Specialty Community. There you can ask questions, brainstorm ideas, and get feedback from other ODs who have overcome many of these challenges.
Are you experiencing burnout in your professional career? It’s okay, you can admit it. You’re not alone. In fact, studies have found that approximately 50 percent of physicians are suffering from burnout.
Twelve billion dollars. That’s a conservative estimate of the cost incurred to... Read more
The longer I study what makes some doctors more influential with patients than others, the more I appreciate the ability of some to build strong connections with the patients they serve.
In a fast-paced healthcare environment where some doctors and their staff are seeing patients at... Read more
In many practices, the percentage of patients who return every twelve months for an eye exam can be disappointing. Even with practices that pre-appoint, many offices struggle with getting those patents to return for their prescheduled exam. To further exasperate the problem, many of these... Read more
Why do I have to do what you’re asking me to do?
If an employee of yours asked that, your response would likely be harsh.
What do you mean why do you have to do it? You’re an employee here. I sign your paycheck. You have to do it because I told you to do it!
In... Read more
This article assumes you’ve done your part in establishing value for the products and services you offer. If you fail to do this, then price inevitably becomes a factor as people will wonder if they can get what they need less expensively from another source. But let’s assume you’ve made a... Read more
Several years ago, I met with a financial advisor. I had been out of school a few years, and a friend suggested I speak with his father over lunch about debt management and financial planning. I thought I already had this under control, but why turn down a free lunch?
After some... Read more
Can you complete that sentence?
In one of my presentations titled “The Science of Selling: The Psychology Behind Why People Buy” I ask the audience this very question. This usually gets a mixed reaction of affirmative heads nods and looks of uncertainty.
My... Read more
Establish guardrails. Employees should be permitted to make some of their own decisions, but there needs to be clarity on the boundaries. Micromanagement restricts employees. Boundaries empower them. A good example would be allowing your employees to use up to $200 to resolve... Read more
I recently recorded a podcast titled “5 Things Successful Practice Owners Do Differently.” I won’t go into all five here, but for this article I will focus on one of the key differentiators – Execution.
Most practice owners have given thought to business strategies and how these... Read more