5 ways to finish strong for 2016

October 12, 2016
Carl H. Spear, OD, MBA, FAAO

Dr. Spear owns a multi-location group practice with his wife Dr. Katie Gilbert Spear in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Spear is commander of the 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron at Duke Field in Florida and chairman of the American Academy of Optometry Exhib

One of the hallmarks of a good college football team is to finish strong. That means that as the team heads into the fourth quarter, it needs to close out the game and play all the way to the end.

The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

We had a great Labor Day weekend! All five of the kids were at home. We had friends and family in from out of town. A total of 14 people enjoyed the pool and my mom’s pink salad. On top of that, it was a very big religious weekend/holiday in the South: the kickoff of college football season!

Those of you not from the South might not understand the importance of college football. People who move to our area are asked, “Who do you root for?” followed by, “Where do you go to church?” Yes, the questions are asked in that order.

Related: Does your practice have a culture of can’t?

One of the hallmarks of a good college football team is to finish strong. That means that as the team heads into the fourth quarter, it needs to close out the game and play all the way to the end.

We can apply this lesson to our practices. Here are a few tips on how we can finish the fourth quarter strong and build for next year.

Click here for 5 ways to finish strong for 2016

 

 

1. Review where you are for the year

One of the things a good college football team does is make adjustments. To that end, one of the hallmarks of finishing strong is to be able to adjust and change things in order to take advantage of opportunities.

Now is a great time to look back and see how the year is going. In my practice, we have metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that we review every month. This is a good time to step back from the details and look at the big picture.

Related: Would you want your kids to become optometrists?

Consider these questions:

• How is the overall practice revenue year to date?

• How are patient exam numbers?

• Is the staff seeing any trends?

• Are patients asking for some product or service you do not provide?

• How is staff morale?

• Are we seeing major insurance trends?

• Take a close look at insurance and patient account receivables

• Review other KPIs you like to track. A couple of our favorites are revenue per patient and capture rate

Once you see where you are, take the time to make some adjustments and plan for a big fourth quarter.

 

 

2. Market to your insurance and FSA patients

Use the tools and software you have to target patients who have insurance and flexible savings account (FSA) benefits so they can use those benefits before the end of the year.

Related: 7 things ODs can learn from Super Bowl

Starting in mid-September, we run reports in our office software for the following subsets of patients:

• Any patient who has not used his insurance benefit in more than 12 months. We use different tactics for patients not seen in the past 12-18 months, patients not seen in 18-24 months, and patients not seen in over 24 months

• Any patent we previously saw who used an FSA

• Patients with a known ocular disease state who have not been seen in more than six or 12 months, depending on the disease state

• All college-age students in our database-we try to catch them while they are home for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks

 

 

3. Go to the fair

Another great thing to do this time of year is to go to local health fairs.

We try to attend as many health fairs as possible. Health fairs at business and community events can be a great way to get name recognition.

Related: Behind the scenes of Instagram practice photos

Benefit of health fairs are:

• Seeing existing patients

• Answering questions for potential new patients

• Getting to know human resources personnel

• Meeting other professionals

Over time, we have found that the other professionals are a great source of referrals and a way to build long-lasting relationships.

 

 

 

4. Take a timeout

On the football field, coaches often call a timeout to make sure they have the right people on the field and that everyone is rested and ready for the upcoming plays.

Related: How a blue ocean strategy can keep you competitive

As we get into the hectic fourth quarter in our offices, remember to take a timeout for you and your staff. The holidays will be here before we know it. Plan now for how you manage the days worked and staff time off. We are always fully booked during school vacations and when patients take time off for the holidays.

 

 

5. Celebrate the wins

Plan now to celebrate a great year.

Related: Top 10 qualities of engineer patients

We always have a Christmas party for the whole office. We even invite family so that we can all celebrate together. There’s nothing like popping the Champagne and spraying it on your optician’s head to celebrate a great two-pair sale that put you over the top for your target revenue for the year.

Stay tuned for my next blog. We will start planning our budget for 2017.

Check out other blogs from Dr. Spear and others here