Don’t Ignore the Needs of a Growing Practice
Chad Fleming, OD FAAO
Wichita Optometry, PA, Wichita, KS
One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that you can’t ignore the needs of a growing child. From purchasing bigger shoes and clothing to fit their growing bodies to stocking the fridge and pantry with more food to sustain their ever increasing appetites, meeting the needs of growing kids is essential.
A growing child is similar to a growing practice. Needs evolve as the optometry practice provides services and products that result in increased revenues and increased referrals. The growth of an optometry practice, similar to the growth of a child, cannot be ignored.
If your practice is experiencing patient volume growth there are a number of ways to address this.
1. Increase the square footage of your office through renting a larger facility or buying/building a bigger building.
2. Decrease the number of patients in your active patient list:
- a. Stop taking managed vision plans or health insurance plans with low
b. Fire the bottom 10% of patients.
3. Do nothing by continuing to practice as you currently do.
4. Open or buy another location.
Depending on your current practice location and the population base of your area, the choice above is not always obvious. In my experience, adding an additional location through a practice acquisition was the best choice.
Multiple locations allow for growth and variability in the “type” of practice that you manage. Your first location may cater to blue collar patients with a focus on value in products and services. The second location could be a niche for higher end patients that want the exclusive brand names in product and are willing to pay for services that exceed the normal managed vision care plan options. A second location may also allow for a more specific eye care environment that focuses on dry eye, specialty contact lenses, vision therapy, children’s vision, etc.
Just like a child’s growth often demonstrates good health, so does a growing practice. Instead of ignoring practice growth, embrace the challenges and opportunities it presents. Managing multiple locations can be scary, but with the right planning and execution, it can be very fulfilling for your patients, staff, and doctors, as well as provide opportunities to expand into specialties or new demographics and increase your bottom line.
In order to be successful with multiple locations it’s important to consolidate expenses and maximize staff productivity. For more insight on this topic, read Dr. Fleming’s blog post Maximizing Efficiencies with Multiple Locations.