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Inspiring Others; Changing Lives
From a very young age, my eye doctor was my hero and eventually my mentor. I had worn glasses since third grade, and my eye doctor switched me to contact lenses at the age of 11. It was life-changing—being able to go to school and see without glasses not only alleviated my social awkwardness; it sparked my passion for optometry and the desire to impact others’ lives the way my optometrist had impacted mine.
Looking at the Whole Picture
I chose to go into private practice because I wanted the freedom to make the decisions I felt were best for my practice and my patients—how long to spend with each patient, what hours to practice, which products to offer, and most importantly, how to treat my patients. In my practice, we don’t just see a pair of eyeballs or somebody who needs glasses or contact lenses. Each patient is treated as an individual—we take time to get to know each one and customize treatment plans and the highest-quality products to maximize their potential for happiness. And we look at each patient’s health in a holistic way, helping them with any systemic problems they may have.
One of my favorite patient stories is of a new patient who came in for his annual exam. I noticed a cholesterol plaque in the back of his eye and had him contact his primary care physician right away. They sent him to cardiology, and the next day he was having heart stents put in. As soon as this gentleman was able, he and his wife came into the practice bearing flowers, telling me I had saved his life. As optometrists, we really do have the capability to change people’s lives—whether it’s preventing a heart attack, fitting someone with contact lenses who has been living with minus 20 glasses for years, or making it possible for a child to read the board in the classroom. It’s a feeling like no other.
Maximizing Premier for Patient Flow, Retention, and the Business
The VSP Global Premier Program has been extremely beneficial to our practice. As a one-doctor practice, we don’t have a lot of marketing resources to attract new patients. Being part of the Premier Program and having that indicator by our name has brought in several new patients we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to reach. Especially lately, we have been seeing a lot of young families and professionals who are interested in their eye health and are looking for personalized care and high-quality products. They choose to come to us because they see we are a practice that participates in the Premier Program.
Once they are in the practice, patients have access through our Premier Program status to receive additional benefits and discounts. Especially popular is the Perfect Pair rebate, which gives patients a rebate for purchasing premium products and frames. Patients can also benefit from Premier Program partnerships, such as CareCredit, which enables patients to get what they need and want right away with the financial flexibility to make it affordable. Benefits like these draw new patients to our practice and help retain the ones we have seen for years.
The Premier Program also offers a number of benefits to business owners like myself. My VSP business consultant and lab representative are extremely helpful to the practice, and resources such as the practice report play a key role in planning and managing the business. On my to-do list, as well, is tapping into the free marketing resources available through My Marketing Team, which will help us promote the practice.
A Thrilling Time to be in Optometry
Today, I am thrilled with where our profession is headed. With all the new innovations and technology, there is so much potential in optometry. More of us are practicing in a medical model, looking at systemic problems, interfacing with primary care physicians and neurologists, and helping patients be their best selves—not just because of what we can do for their vision, but for our role in their overall health.
Continuing to Inspire
As I see it, the most rewarding part of this profession is the people—not just the generations of patients that I serve, but the staff I’ve trained over the years, the people I’ve helped after optometry school, the associates I’ve mentored, and the people I’ve interfaced with through the optometric associations. With five patients and two staff members becoming optometrists, and a son who has worked in my practice since fourth grade, I think I have made an impact on the profession as far as adding new practitioners to the pipeline. I believe and hope that I have made a difference in those young people’s lives just like my mentor, my hero, made in mine.
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