|Celebrating 55 Years on the North Shore|
These changes have driven doctors to utilize buying groups, business consultants, and doctor alliances, which (for a membership fee) may ultimately allow an office to run smarter, not harder. I spent the first two years at Carillon becoming familiar with the benefits of these organizations and deciding which would have the most positive impact on our practice and our patients’ experience.
In February 2013, I decided to join IDOC (Independent Doctors of Optometric Care), which is an alliance of eye care providers that represents more than 1,700 practices across the United States. IDOC hosts an annual 4 day conference which is centered on improving practice management. Numerous classes are offered to both doctors and staff members with topics including: customer service, recruiting the best employees, staff management, as well as receiving updates on the latest products, technologies, and treatments. It also serves as a forum to exchange ideas and discuss business strategies with other forward-thinking practitioners. Local groups also meet quarterly on a smaller scale.
The single largest expense in almost every practice is the cost of goods, essentially purchasing the inventory of eyeglass frames, lenses, and contact lenses. With the buying power of 1,700 offices, we have negotiated significantly reduced prices with vendors through our IDOC membership, a benefit that would not typically be available as a stand-alone business. These discounts enable our office to save thousands of dollars per month and keeps our prices in line with, if not less than, many local chain stores.
Since joining IDOC exactly a year ago, we have seen our patient volume rise significantly and our costs of goods trend downward in 2013 vs. 2012. This increase in efficiency has allowed the practice to purchase additional technology, expand our eyewear inventory, and pass the quality and savings onto our patients. We are also actively looking to hire another staff member and doctor to expand our team. I have no doubt that IDOC has enabled me to streamline our practice, and in turn, I can spend even more time doing what I really love, working directly with my patients.
To my fellow eye care professionals, please feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about IDOC or my practice in general. The 2014 IDOC Conference is happening April 3-6, 2014 in Atlanta and is open to all doctors. The registration is free if you register by February 7th. I hope to see you there!