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Pros and Cons of Corporate Optometry on the Industry

Corporate optometry has expanded greatly over the years.  It is currently estimated to make up about 30% of the industry and will continue to grow as young optometrists make the decision to go into this sector.  With this expansion come both benefits and costs to the industry, which we will discuss below.

Pros:

1. Employment opportunities for ODs

Corporate optometry creates opportunities and jobs for optometrists looking for employment.  In addition, it is a great option for optometrists who don’t have a lot of experience as business owners and are looking for a turnkey model. ODs don’t have to wait for another OD to retire to become a business owner. Many Corporate ODs have had the ability to have multiple subleases which has been beneficial for those ODs. The ability to open practices in locations where there are not many other optometry practice can help ODs have more opportunities and provide more access to patients seeking other alternatives.

2. Increased pay rate and benefits

Corporate optometry can provide higher starting salaries and pay rates than average along with better benefits for some ODs.  The days and hours an optometrist works likely will affect the rate in which the optometrist is paid; for example, optometrists are sometimes paid higher by corporate opticals on Sundays.  In addition, corporate optometry offers generous bonus structures.

3. Loan repayments

Some corporate opticals will offer loan repayments to young ODs who are burdened by student debt.  This is great incentive for young ODs to start a career in corporate optometry. Most often, corporate opticals will offer loan repayments when trying to recruit ODs to more remote locations where it is difficult to find doctors in order to spark greater interest in new ODs.

4. Innovation and Competition

Corporate optometry has revolutionized the customer and shopping experience in the industry; for example, the one-hour eye glass service has completely changed the customer’s eye care experience.  The innovation of corporate opticals to better cater to their customers leads to competition and helps to keep practices top-notch. New ideas created within corporate optometry therefore bring the industry forward.

5. Global impact

Corporate optometry has allowed the industry to have a greater impact globally.  Many corporate opticals work with charities to use their business for the greater good; for example, Warby Parker’s “buy a pair, give a pair” program is a system in which, for every pair of glasses purchased, a pair is given to someone in need, and many corporate opticals supply underprivileged companies with glasses and eye exams.  In addition, Luxottica provides onesight global clinics to provide eye care for people in underdeveloped countries.

Cons

1. Exclusions from insurance panels

Being with a specific corporate optical can exclude doctors from certain insurance panels; for example, Walmart doctors are unable to take EyeMed.  Because of this, a doctor may have to turn away some patients. In addition, closed panels can funnel patients into a certain corporate optical, which can be a disadvantage for other practices in terms of creating a patient base and providing continuation of care to your patients as their benefits change year to year.

2. Vertical integration

Corporate opticals may have ownership over a variety of stages of production and may sell their own products, frames, lenses, etc., which can result in a reduced price for their customers.  This creates a disadvantage to private practices or other corporate opticals that can’t compete at a severe discount. In addition, the possibility of pushing a company’s own products rather than alternative products might not always have the best outcome for the consumer in the long run.

3. Exam Fees that haven’t changed with Inflation.

Providing affordable care to patients is essential. Many corporate opticals have offered affordable eye care services and products for many patients, yet with inflation and changes in scope of optometry exam fees have remained stagnate. Free eye exams have impacted the industry as well.

4. Consolidation

As more companies merge together, only a few large players in the industry are created, making it difficult for smaller practices to have a voice.  In addition, consolidation of companies limits the customer’s options when it comes to eye care. Consolidation needs to happen though if companies want to compete with online retailers and how customers want low prices with fast service.

5. Movements

Corporate opticals are more easily able to create big movements or waves of change in the industry compared to smaller practices. Global changes can be made. Many corporate opticals operate globally and many times movements that may work in another country might not be best in the USA.  While these movements are created in the corporation’s best interest, they may not necessarily be in the patients’ or the industry’s best interest as a whole. Among these movements have been an increase in managed care plans, telemedicine and an expansion in private equity.

In conclusion, there are both pros and cons of corporate optometry on the industry that should be considered.  Whether working under a corporate optical or not, doctors have the ability to be a voice for other ODs and for their patients to make positive changes in the industry and create a better future. 

How Corporate Optometry allows ODs to focus on Patient Care

Corporate optometry is a great option for ODs who want to practice optometry but do not want to feel overwhelmed by the business aspects of the job.  It is ideal both for optometrists who do not feel they have enough business experience to start their own practices and for those who simply want to focus more on the patient-centric aspect of their career.  Here are some ways that corporate optometry may allow you as an OD to focus on your patient care first and foremost.

1. Your job is to focus on the patient.

As a corporate optometrist, your main focus is to see patients without the distractions of the optical and managing staff. Focusing on the patient is what we went to school for. We don’t have to worry about competition, we can focus on our patients and use the extra time to stay up to date on the latest clinical trends. Corporate optometry allows you to see different types of patients because the volume is usually greater, thus enhancing your clinical skills seeing a wide variety of patients. his is a great way for you as an optometrist to see a wide variety of conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma, and gain experience recognizing and managing these conditions. 

2. Technology

Corporate optometry will provide you will have easier access to resources and discounts from corporate partners.  You will also be able to purchase technology a lot sooner if you are a sublease or the latest technology will be offered to you as an employee. Many young ODs are learning the latest in the eye care. Why not be able to utilize that knowledge by working in a corporate setting? Many offices have digital refracting lanes, optos, octs. Different corporate opticals have different approaches. Don’t lump all corporate opticals as the same!

Corporate optometry may be right for you if you are not interested in the daily practice management struggles that many ODs face with the optical side of the business and managing staff turnover. Retail optometry will continue to grow over the next 10 years. Find which corporate optical is right for you and your career goals.

How to Stand Out from Other Optometrists

The optometry world is changing dramatically, especially with the increase in competitors. It is essential for practitioners to find new and unique ways of growing their practice and setting themselves apart from other providers.

Like any other small business owners, an OD has to be liked and respected by their customers. If you are an independent OD who is looking to give yourself an edge, here are some simple tips to consider for standing out from the crowd:

Use the Power of Technology

This might come as a surprise to you but most patients are impressed and amazed more by the advanced instrumentation that an OD has set up in their exam room more than the OD themselves. They consider all optometrists to have the same level of skill and expertise. Therefore, a good way to differentiate you is by using the power of technology.

Tools like retinal camera allow you to impress the patients, provide them with premium-quality care and give a boost to your revenue at the same time! This kind of technology doesn’t only let you stand out but also allows you to get faster, efficient, and more error-free results.

Communication is the Key

While advertising your practice, always remember, communication is the key. You really want to communicate with your patients and make them understand the work you do. Get the right message across; use pictures to illustrate the value of your practice, be transparent about the hours you are willing to accommodate to your patients. Make sure that your advertisement is catchy enough to grab the attention of a potential customer.

Even the most ideal location won’t do you any good if you fail to get your point across to your prospective patients.

Customer Satisfaction

Have you heard that in the business world a customer is always right? Same goes for your optometry practice. You need to hire staff that is friendly and considerate of the patients. As an optometrist, you should be very easy to talk to. Patients never like to be rushed, especially when the matter is about their eyes. Try to ease the patients into a conversation. Ask them how they are doing and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

The most important thing you can do to satisfy your patients is to listen to them and their needs carefully. Provide them with all the possible, safe options and treatments available to them and answer as many questions of theirs as possible.

Give Suggestions

Give suggestions where required. This practice will not only make your patients feel that you are going the extra mile to provide them the best service but will also be beneficial to your revenue. Moreover, this conversation won’t take up much of your time so it’s a win-win solution!

Use the above tips to grow your practice and stand out from other optometrists in your community!

The Advantages of Owning Your Own Optometric Practice

You have worked for dozens of well-established and dynamic optometry businesses for years now. Though it was good money and you learned a lot, you realize that working under someone and following someone else’s rules is not what you are made for or something you want to keep doing your entire life.

Being hired for a job can be a safer option due to job security but it can also be a pain since you have to work according to the rules set by the top management. You might find that this is stunting your creativity and innovativeness since whatever you propose goes through dozens of hierarchical levels and the answer is often “No”. You have to face  competition with your peers and can be held accountable if the target revenue has not been generated by you.

So what is the best option? Open your own optometry business, and here are a few reasons why:

You are your own boss

Even though you are the one in control here, it does not mean you will not be told what to do. Customers, government officials, and suppliers will often be offering their two cents on how to run your business, but in the end, the decision to consider those suggestions, will be up to you. When you are working for someone, they will be the one telling you what to do and keep a strict scrutiny on you to make sure you get the work done.

You work/life balance is much more even now

Owning a business lets you decide your timings and the amount of work you will take on at one time. You can delegate the pressure now which allows you to be able to give more time to your social life. When employed by someone, you are allowed to leave at a fixed timing, you cannot bring a family member in the office, and you might be bombarded with work at odd hours.

You choose the people you work with

In the company that you were employed, you did not get to pick whom you worked with. It would not matter whether you and your colleagues gelled or not. You just had to work together and build towards the company’s goals. However, when you are the owner of your company you can hire and fire anyone, and even when you get a partner on board you can disassociate with them whenever you feel it is not working out.

You can take risks

When you own a business you can take whatever risk you wish to take, whether they are financial or creative. There is no one to stop you, and if that risk returns a profit, you get to keep them all to yourself.

You get to keep all the profits of your hard work

While you were an employee, even if you brought in revenue that was more than your salary per day, you would still be given the amount that was stated in your contract. However, with your own business, you get to keep the surplus for yourself. This, in turn, motivates you to work harder.

Podcast

Building your Optometric Practice with Instagram

Discover how to use one of the most popular social media platforms to grow your practice in this podcast episode.

Instagram has gained more attention over the past couple of years and continues to add new features all the time to add value to their account holders and account followers.

According to a recent article on Hootsuite’s blog, there are 1 billion Instagram users, 59% of US users are between the ages of 18 and 29 (are any of your patients in that age range…?), 35% of online adults use Instagram, and 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram.

It’s just the beginning.

With a wide variety of ways you can post your content, research your ideal patients so you can give them tremendous value, and optimize your account’s bio to convert more viewers into patients, you’ll want to learn how to maximize this very popular platform.

Do you want to have an optimized, engaging call to action (CTA) so patients know what to do next after visiting your Instagram page? I’ll even give you a trick to use more than one link (as is currently allowed) in the bio section of your profile to increase your offerings and value.

Do you know the best types of content to use for your feed vs. stories vs. IGTV? You’ll learn some great strategies and examples to make the right decisions at the right time.

You’ll also learn about the growing use of Instagram Stories and how they tend to be the first thing your potential patients are looking at when they open up their app. Do you know the best types of content to use for Stories?

There are also a ton of ways to research your potential patients and learn about them to make creating content much easier. You’ll even discover a way to tap into other health professionals’ ideal patients, to grow your patient base.

For a more detailed article, please click here – you’ll also get a bonus tool to help you define your ideal patients. This, in turn, helps you create the content to attract them. 

Dr. Sandi Eveleth
Digital Marketing Strategist at KISS your Web, LLC
(239) 691-2707  KISSyourWeb.com