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The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

The Optometrist Perspective by Harvey Yamamoto, OD

For this month, I would like to write about Glaucoma. Many optometrists have become certified in treating Glaucoma. Current data tells us that we have over 2 million patients in the U.S. being treated for this disease. Glaucoma accounts for over 10 million visits to their eye doctor each year. In terms of social security benefits, lost income tax revenues, and health care expenditures, the cost to the U.S. government is estimated to be over $1.5 billion annually. Glaucoma patients number more than 60 million patients worldwide and the Glaucoma market is currently estimated to be between $4.5 to $5 billion in the U.S., UE, and Japan alone. Coming down the Pike: Man 01 Glaucoma Drug is the first new drug in the area in 20 years. This “First in Class Drub” treats intraocular Eye Pressure (IOP) with early tests indicating excellent results in normalizing IOP. This drug may also be effective in helping ease the symptoms associated with: Pediatric Glaucoma, AMD, & Cystic Kidney Disease. The pharmaceutical company that is working on this wonder drug is Q BioMed Inc. This innovative company has the jump on the competition with its focus on the ‘Schlemms’ Canal, which is responsible...
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Digital Marketing TIPS By Daniel Rostenne: SMS Marketing

Digital Marketing TIPS By Daniel Rostenne: SMS Marketing

Get Ready to Use SMS Marketing to Connect to Patients Looking to shake things up and really engage your patients? Take your marketing off the screen (or the paper) with a live, in-person event. Think out-of-the-box – beyond trunk shows – to create an event that benefits your patients, strengthens your relationships and highlights your expertise.   We have recently helped a number of clients launch successful optometric events such as glaucoma screenings and dry eye day events. These events can lead to higher profits per patient by promoting exams or procedures that cost more than standard services. A lot of strategy and planning goes into these events but they can have a huge impact on your practice by enhancing community involvement, creating awareness and building trust with your patients. Events can be focused on products or services you offer at your practice or serve to build awareness about a particular eye health issue. Choose a topic that is relevant to your patient base and check the calendar well to ensure you select a date that is free from conflicts with holidays or local events. Targeted vs. Public Events One of the decisions you need to make in planning...
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Vision Expo East 17′ Post Show

Vision Expo East 17′ Post Show

  As preliminary numbers roll in, International Vision Expo East 2017 has officially been labeled a success with reports of increased buying activity and media buzz. This year’s event was held at the Javits Center in New York, NY (Education: Mar. 30-Apr. 2; Exhibition: Mar. 31-Apr. 2). Validated attendance numbers will be released in May following the show’s official audit. “We’re thrilled with the feedback that has come in, both during the show and from attendees and exhibitors who have reached out since,” said Melissa Ashley, Senior Vice President of Reed Exhibitions. “Some exhibitors have noted their strongest sales activity in years, and attendees have indicated strong buying activity as well as positive feedback on the eyewear and lens technology offerings available.” “My staff and I attend this show every year,” said Dr. Eric Bass of the Dr. Bass Vision Center in Westminster, California. “Vision Expo is the best place to see the most comprehensive collection of frames, lenses, lab and exam equipment in a comfortable setting.” This year’s show brought together exhibitors, attendees and media for more events than ever before. The first Vision Expo Press...
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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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