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The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS FROM THE ENTIRE STAFF AT C&E VISION – YOUR BUYING GROUP OF CHOICE. It was good to see so many new members joining the Premier Buying Group in the Nation. C&E has been dedicated to the vision industry since 1978. Our goal was to unite to form a buying atmosphere for the independent Eyecare practitioner to save on merchandise, lab services, etc. C&E over the years has been continually evolving into more than a Buying Service. Old and New members are encouraged to look at our website to see all the benefits of belonging. TANGIBLE HYDRA PEG COATING: GP Specialists has been offering a new technology which was introduced during late February of this year. The new technology is called Tangible Hydra-PEG. Tangible Science has dramatically improved the contact lens experience by developing a contact lens coating. I have been privileged to have our practice chosen as a beta testing sight for the past 10 weeks. Our patients love the new technology. It is a high water polymer coating that is permanently bonded to the surface of a gas perm contact lens . The coating creates a wetting surface that encapsulates the underlying lens material...
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Promises, Promises…

Promises, Promises…

Promises, Promises… Every so often every company out there loses a client to a competitor that is offering something “cheaper”, “better” or “more effective.” In our case, the client leaves hoping that this will mean more appointments, more patients and more revenue…sometimes, all for a cheaper price.  We see all all too often though, that these clients eventually come back to EyeCarePro after being let down by these empty promises. There are a lot of marketing companies out there and a some of them do a great job, but how do you know how to identify those that are making empty promises versus those that will really have a positive impact on your revenue? How do you filter through the constant barrage of phone calls to your practice from other marketing companies offering you a “better” service. Here’s some advice that applies to any practice out there that is getting any marketing from any company. It’s an observation and a warning about a trend we have noticed that is worth bringing to attention in order to save you time, money and aggravation at falling for this mistake like many other practices. Issue #1: The grass often sounds greener on the other...
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How To Be The Local EyeCare Superhero

How To Be The Local EyeCare Superhero

How To Be The Local EyeCare Superhero I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again – specialty marketing can take your practice in a whole new direction and bring in tons of revenue. The goal of specialty marketing is to differentiate your practice from the local pack and to draw attention to your practice expertise.  In fact, we have found that practices that promote an expertise attract more patients than those without – even for general optometry.  This is likely because they are respected as and perceived to be experts in eyecare in general.  In fact if you do it well enough, (and really practice what you preach) you can even get other ODs referring to you, because they will also consider you the local expert. Whether you specialize in specialty contact lens fitting, dry eye treatment, vision therapy, low vision or even high end eyewear, you create a unique niche for your practice when you focus your marketing on what makes you stand out. Here are some of the key aspects of specialty marketing that you should incorporate into a campaign to establish your expertise: Web Content Include content about your specialty in a central location on your homepage and...
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Optometrist Perspective

Optometrist Perspective

Believe it or not, I’m still in denial that it is 2017. I better quickly get off that stick as this is already spring of 2917. It’s planting time. Yes, seeds of joy to water, watch growing and then providing fresh home grown veggies for my family and friends as well. Many of my friends are great gardeners and they are always sharing their crops with us. Yummy. Nothing like organic fresh veggies. Last winter, I worked on my hillside, cleaning up the weeks. I bought a small cultivator that I could carry up the hills and do some serious ground work. My little green monster worked well until it would hit rocks and stop working. I quickly learned to wedge out the rocks and keep on churning the earth. It was a labor of love but great exercise. Some years ago, I planted a small cactus. It has grown to a huge bush that my wife asked me to trim. I took out 20 barrels of cactus. Wow. If only our practice would grow like that. I thank my readers for jogging my memory a bit. I tend to get lost in my writing and thus my readers reminded me to focus on my review. Each year for the past 32 years, I’ve written in my January newsletter on what I accomplished the previous year. I apologize for...
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The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

  Happy Thanksgiving to all. Happy Holidays to all my readers from our entire staff at C&E. May your Holidays be filled with happy moments. This year is fast closing in on each of us. Last month, I promised to touch upon one of my favorite topics. Specialty contact lens fitting. I can honestly tell you that fitting specialty contact lenses is an art but not impossible to achieve. First, one should have a good corneal topographer. Then one must have some fitting sets. i.e.: We have many such fitting sets. Some are sitting on the shelf forever. Some are used daily. My favorite is our Scleral fitting set. My second favorite in our Ortho-K fitting set. Between the two fitting sets, our practice is staying above water. Yes, you heard correctly. Our practice thrives today because of our contact lens fitting expertise. We have all the modern equipment to make that happen. We have incorporated this year, the new 5000 OCT unit which gives us a 15mm scan of the cornea with the scleral lens in place. Our lenses are 16.4mm but the 15mm scan provides us with priceless information on how well the lenses are resting on the sclera. Yes, the lenses must come to a rest beyond the...
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Do you need to hire a logo professional?

Do you need to hire a logo professional?

Let’s Talk Logos Part 2: Creating Your Practice Logo In the last digital tip I discussed the importance of a high quality practice logo and what you should consider when conceptualizing your design. Once that is done, you are ready to create your logo. There are a number of routes you can take for logo creation, spanning from submitting your ideas to relatively cheap design contest sites or crowdsource marketplaces to hiring a professional designer that will work with you to develop a design. When deciding which route to go you want to consider that sometimes you get what you pay for, although there are situations in which you can get a fantastic logo created without breaking the bank- if you know what you need. Here is some information to consider before you move ahead… What you need to know about Design Contest/Crowdsource Marketplace Sites While you can get a really cheap logo created from an design contest or crowdsource marketplace site like Fiverr or Design Crowd, you have to know what to look for. Some of these companies can take advantage of eager patrons who are design novices and sell you something that they aren’t really providing. While we know of positive experiences,...
Putting Laboratory Programs in Play at Your Practice  Single Vision and Back to School Retailing Opportunities

Putting Laboratory Programs in Play at Your Practice Single Vision and Back to School Retailing Opportunities

Background HOYA’s Super Single Vision Program (formerly SuperKidz) is a tool designed for independent practices to use to their advantage. You are encouraged to use this pricing benefit as a way to differentiate your brand for your patients by offering the best lens materials, designs and treatments to your younger patients. For most practices the pricing through the Super Single Vision Program for single vision lenses with premium AR is a savings versus their typical cost. Why Premium AR? Materials? Lens Designs? For Kids? Vision is a complex process performed in tandem between our eyes that receive visual information and our brains that process that information. Our visual system can adapt and even develop preferences over time. We do know that the brain is very good at filling in the gaps from the visual stimuli taken in from the eyes. Amblyopia and optical illusions are great examples. When patients are in a premium lens design (iD and iQ), a superior lens material (Phoenix) and a great AR (Recharge), to then go backwards to an inferior product, e.g. conventional single vision in polycarbonate, the brain will have a hard time adapting to the lower quality vision. The point...
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Online reviews are important to your practice… and your vendors

Online reviews are important to your practice… and your vendors

Sometimes you get what you didn’t realize you asked for.  This summer we have been focused on the importance of online reviews…how to get them, what to do with negative reviews, how they help your ranking.  We even wrote an ebook about it! Well one of our customers, decided to return the favor and… EyeCarePro got reviewed! By  Joseph Smay, OD, Family Eye Care, Pittsburgh, PA I have been a customer of EyeCarePro for two and a half years. They been writing a lot lately about customer reviews so I thought it was time to let them know what I think of their service. As a busy PERC practice, we don’t have much time to play Webmaster, so we outsourced this effort to EyeCarePro.     “You are the BEST…why would an optometrist use any other company like yours?” Wow! We should all get reviews like this every day and frankly, at EyeCarePro, we do. Sure we hit the rough spots from time to time like any business, but overall, our optometrist customers are pretty excited about our  focus and delivery on new patient appointments  our Support Team (their so darn friendly!)  the professionalism of our websites and ability to engage consumers  our...
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HIPAA Compliance Part 2: How to Respond to Reviews

HIPAA Compliance Part 2: How to Respond to Reviews

In my last digital tip, I reviewed some of the legal considerations involved with responding to negative patient reviews in light of HIPAA compliance and as you can see, it’s clearly not a simple matter.  So, given these issues how should a practitioner respond to an unhappy client that feels the need to share his sentiments with potential new patients on the Internet? First and foremost, it is our professional opinion that negative reviews should be addressed.  An absence of a response could be interpreted as a lack of concern for patient satisfaction and more importantly, it passes up on a valuable opportunity to share your voice and show how patient happiness is important to you and your staff. A positive and caring response can offset the initial negative review and win back potential patients that might otherwise be turned off. Also, keep in mind that a negative review isn’t the end of the world. Research shows that potential customers trust businesses that have some negative reviews mixed in. When it comes to HIPAA compliance our approach is to err on the side of caution to avoid having to learn the nuances of the laws the hard way. We recommend that our clients keep...
The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

This year was the year of upgrading two piece of equipment but I found myself in much hesitation mood. Our 750 Humphries field testing machine was in perfect condition but it was time to upgrade as our unit was bought 15 years ago. The second unit to upgrade was our beloved 4000 OCT unit. When I saw the newer 5000 OCT, I knew in my heart that I just had to have one. The 4000 was bought in Oct 2011 and was like brand new. The operating system was Windows XP and the newer unit was Windows 7. A huge upgrade in technology that caught my attention. The unit that we ordered was fully loaded and had two new software that made a lot of sense to me and my family. Firstly, we wanted our unit that could cover 15mm of the anterior portion of the eye. This new system did that. Secondly, the newer unit had just come out with the Angio software which allowed us to look beneath the macula for leakage without the use of dye’s. We surmised that we have 40% of our patients with Diabetes and these are the patients who tend to have macula edema which can develop into wet AMD. Just the ability to be able to have the Angio portion of the software was enough reason to upgrade. Even with the generous...
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The HIPAA Question We are All Asking

The HIPAA Question We are All Asking

Part 1 Here’s a scenario: A practice gets a scathing online review by an unhappy patient. The doctor writes a polite response explaining her side of the story and offering an apology for the misunderstanding.  The patient sues the doctor for violating his confidentiality.  It’s what nightmares are made of. But does this patient have a case? What does HIPAA dictate about responding to online reviews? This new reality invokes quite a bit of uncertainty about if and how you can respond to negative reviews without violating HIPAA and what exactly implies consent.  So, we are going to (try to) clarify things a bit by taking a deeper look at the issues at hand.   First things first. You shouldn’t avoid responding to reviews because you are weary of HIPAA.  The question is not whether to respond but how to respond and truthfully, the answer isn’t cut and dry. There are (at least) two sides that should be considered and each practice will have to choose for itself how strict it will be.   Implied consent? THE pivotal question we face is whether a patient posting a review of your practice, especially if it includes details about a visit, constitutes implied consent and whether...
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Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

It just dawned upon me that I’ve been writing these editorials since March 1983. That’s a long long time. Thank you for being so patient in allowing me to share with you things of importance to me as it relates to life and to my world on Optometry. I asked myself a simple question this month? What would I be doing if I had not chosen Optometry. The answer came rather quickly. I would be working in my auto repair shop. In fact, I would most likely be the owner of several such repair shops. Repairing broken down things have come naturally for me and I worked in a garage putting myself through Optometry school thus I became very good at fixing things. Big things: ‘Like cars that stopped working.’ I enjoyed jumping into the service truck to find one of our customers who had become stuck in various places. Some of our customers were Jerry Louis, Jim Arness, and many other movie stars of that era. They were heavy tippers once I got them back on the road again. The repair shop idea followed me closely into Optometry. Setting up an edger came naturally during the 60’s when everything was done manually and became labor intensive. Those were the golden years in the back of my...
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An Important “Little” Lesson From Google

An Important “Little” Lesson From Google

Design Counts Noticed anything different in your Google search lately? A subtle yet significant change is being tested by the mega company right now –  the font color of the search results. Yup – Google has invested unknown sums into re-testing a possible switch from its iconic light blue search result links to black or different shades of blue. Why? Well, consider this: When the current shade of blue was chosen it was only after 40 different shades of blue were tested, revealing that this color alone was responsible for a difference of $200 million a year in ad revenue! This shows how for a company of its size, a small design change can mean huge dividends. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a design is surely worth 10,000 words. In the words of Candace, our design expert, your website design is the conversation you have with your audience, so you need to speak elegantly. Every little element in your design says a lot. You present yourself with typography, shapes, colors, and imagery and that presentation is critical to converting new patients. While the font color you choose may not have an impact of millions of dollars there are some essentials that you need to...
Take the Marketing Offensive

Take the Marketing Offensive

Stage 3 Marketing: Offensive Marketing Strategy The last tip described a strategic new patient marketing approach for an established practice to create a specialty of expertise. Now we will look at the optimal strategy for the next level of practice success – a practice that is truly thriving, has already differentiated itself in the marketplace and looking to dominate the local market. The Stage 3 Practice This practice has broken through all barriers; it has been around 20 plus years, has many doctors and many locations, making upwards of $1.5-2 million in revenue.  It is operating in a larger market, in which it has already created a distinguished name for itself – which is how it got to this size in the first place. Goals of the Stage 3 Practice A practice this size has the need to generate a LOT of patients, ALL THE TIME!   In order to attract a patient-base of 10,000+ per year … sometimes even 20,000+, this practice needs to completely dominate all the local search results, for miles around.  When patients think of eyecare, they must think of this practice first.  Period. How? A stage 3 practice needs to leverage its impressive size, strength and reputation...
Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY: I would like to share with my readers something about Strabismus and why I decided to begin focusing my attention to this group of patients. Strabismus makes up around 3% of the population that comes into our office seeking help. “Doctor, is there anything that you can do for me?” My U&C answer used to be: ‘No, your situation was determined many years ago during your formative years of life.” “I’m sorry but you seemed stuck with your predicament?” It was the path of least resistance that I had taken for the above patient. Was it the right answer? Those who were in the mainstream of COVD (College of Optometrists in Visual Development), the answer would have been: ‘Doctor, you did not give the patient the proper answer.” The proper answer would/could/should have been: ‘Yes, there are several things that we can look into for you.’ I was inspired by a little girl who came to see us for an eye evaluation. She was a cute 3 year old Hispanic young lady. Her father informed us that she was bumping into things and he noticed that she would sit very close to the T.V. even after repeatidly asking her to sit further back. He also noticed...
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