When making the plunge into new EHR software, optical practices will oftentimes experience resistance from long-standing staff members who are opposed to the changes. The only way to sincerely address your coworkers feelings of distress is to understand what is happening from their perspective, and explain how new software will have a positive impact on their workflow.
How Your Staff Will be Affected in Your Optical Practices
The front office has a lot of pressure to make that initial impression on patients. A poor experience upfront could lead patients to feeling unappreciated or undervalued in your office, so the fears of switching software for these staff members are completely valid. It is hard to maintain a positive attitude and efficient task-performance when you are frustrated and trying to understand something new.
On the bright side, though, explaining benefits of software to your front-office staff should be a total breeze. Scheduling suddenly becomes easier, as multiple staff members can now view and alter the appointment book at once, and no one ever has to make follow up calls because they are all automated. All data is entered directly into the system and made available at the optometrist’s fingertips. And speaking of information at your fingertips, the patient portal allows your patients to make appointments, submit inquiries, and view educational materials all online, saving your front-office team precious time.
Exam Lane Workflow
The exam itself is the most important part of a patient’s visit, as it determines everything. Using EHR means that there are no more paper documents for doctors to scribble over, and entering information only takes a few clicks. Everything is saved, safe and sound, and diagnosis and treatment suggestions are even offered at the end. Patients can then share their pharmacy location, and an electronic copy of their prescription can be sent out immediately.
If your patient needs more information or wants to review your diagnosis, the patient portal will provide them with all the material they might need.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do all of it simplified and online? Filing claims, ophthalmic ordering, and reports are all made simple with modern EHR and practice management software. Claim filing online ensures a quicker payout, and most clearinghouses can be integrated into your system. Ophthalmic product ordering can be done faster, with less error, and with faster results. You can even save common orders so you don’t have to continuously enter in the same data.
Finally, online access to the most current and up to date frames catalogs so you can competitively price your frames, and manage your inventory online so you don’t waste any time importing data or sifting through measurements.
Interested in learning about how to help your office transition to a new EHR? Check out our Guide the Change Management!
Every practice has a task that everyone dreads. Ordering ophthalmic products is simple, and should not be that task, and if it is, there has to be a better way than how you are doing it. The most convenient way to place your orders is online because it allows you to receive your products much faster, and with less error than over phone or fax. Online ophthalmic product orderingallows your practice to be confident in the accuracy of each request you place.
Why Online Ophthalmic Product Ordering is The Most Practical Method of Ordering
Online order status and tracking
A primary issue with placing orders over the phone or via fax is the inability to efficiently track your order. Sure, you can have a reference number and call in to inquire about it, but how long will you be sitting on hold? Is it really worth the wait just to hear that it is still processing? When you utilize online lab ordering, you are able to look up the status on your own time.
Reuse Frequent Orders
Loyal customers are great, not only because you build a relationship and mutual appreciation with them, but also because they tend to have the same needs annually. When using online ordering, you can skip several steps by saving and reusing frequently placed orders, even if you do have to make slight modifications in the minor details.
Cutting corners is not usually considered the best way of reching a goal, but when it means working quicker with the same results, sometimes it is worth it to try some tricks of the trade like arrow fillers, tabbing, and saving favorites.
Merge Multiple Suppliers for Easier Transactions
Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to all of your favorite companies and suppliers in one place when placing orders? We thought so, too. Keep your ordering process as quick and painless as possible and order from over 400+ vendors. This means, instead of having a bunch of open tabs and browser windows, you can make all your decisions at once.
Not only do you risk lack of clarity through phone and fax orders, you are also more likely to have a misunderstanding that will lead to an incorrect order. For online orders, absolutely nothing is lost in translation, and automatic error checks help to ensure that the original data you enter is accurate and correct.
Pause and Save if Needed
What do you do when you are halfway through completing an order and a more pressing matter arises? More than likely, you minimize the screen and intend on returning to your order at a later time. Unfortunately, you might lose details or important information for that order. When placing orders online, you are able to save and return to what you started at another time.
It is time to step up and give your practice the best resources you can. If there is something better, why would you settle?
While it's easy to get excited about your own marketing, sometimes you have to open your eyes and just admit that your baby is ugly. So that's exactly what we're doing. A few years ago a promotional video was created for VisionWeb, and at that time it snuck through the cracks of being good enough to make public. But looking back on it now, we realize this video never should have been used in our marketing mix as part of our library of optical resources. Luckily we have thick skin and understand the importance of being able to critique our own work, and realize when something it just plain bad.
Are there any processes or marketing tactics your office is participating in that just don't make sense? Take a minute and think about things you or your staff might be doing that just don't fit with the way you work, or your brand. Don't be afraid to admit that you've been doing something wrong, there's always time to change it! Trust us, and take a look at our bad promotional video for yourself:
Optical Resources: 7 Ways We Failed at Creating a Good Promotional Video
Too Much Jargon
The whole point of creating a video to promote your products or services is to easily explain the features and benefits and how the service will benefit the viewers. So why would you use complicated jargon that viewers won't understand? Make sure you're talking like a human and not using language that is hard to follow.
Bad Use of Stock Photos
The use of stock photos in this video shows generic photos of happy doctors and office workers. When possible, it's better to use your own, real photos. Even better yet is if they represent real users of your products and services. The photos with this video look very out of place and don't work well with the other background images and effects resulting in a misrepresentation of the brand.
There are a lot of things wrong with the overall branding in this video, but most importantly is the use of the VisionWeb URL. In the video it's written in uppercase letters, and in our brand guidelines when written in that format should always be lowercase. It's important to make sure that all of your branding elements including logo, typeface, and colors are consistent across all platforms.
The background effects in this video are very distracting. There are a lot of floating graphics and images that distract from the message and product shots in the video. It also makes the video look very dated, as if it was made in the 90's. Unfortunately, the video was made in 2010. When making a promotional video you don't want viewers to be distracted from the main messaging.
For whatever reason, this video gets cut off at the end, in the middle of a sentence, without proper closure. The viewer doesn't get any next steps for finding more information. On top of that, being cut off at the end comes off unprofessional and amateur as if the video wasn't edited, or the time wasn't taken to make a proper ending.
Irrelevent Product Shots
The product shots in the video do no support the commentary or help prove the ease of use of the software. If product shots are going to be used within a video they should be easy to read and correspond with what the video is explaining at that point in the video. To just throw product shots in a video with no explanation provides no value to the viewer.
The overall tone of this video looks very fake and produced, and comes off like a 90's infomercial or used car commercial. It's generic. It's dated. It's off brand. Nothing about the tone of this video is in line with VisionWeb's brand and its offerings.
If you're considering making a promotional video or commercial for your eyecare practice these are all points to take into consideration during the planning and editing process. All that being said, last year we created a promotional video for our cloud-based practice management and EHR software, Uprise. It's drastically different than our 2010 video, and we think it's a much better example of a good promotional video. Take a look!
Want to learn more about Uprise?
Small practices don’t usually get to enjoy the budget and resources that large practices have access to. And when it comes to training with a new practice management solution, it can be hard to dedicate time to training when your small practice is already short of staff and resources. Today, we’re here to show you a few tips about how to manage training in a small practice.
4 Ways to Help with Training Your Small Practice with a New Practice Management Solution
Start “Lunch and Learn” Sessions
Training is absolutely critical to the success of the implementation process. Now it’s all about staying on course and dedicating time to training. But we know that it can be hard to get your staff to train during office hours when your practice is open, and you don’t want to lose patients along the way. So a good way to get your staff to complete training is to bring lunch in, so they can learn during their lunch hour. And if you choose a cloud-based practice management and EHR system, you can assign homework so that your staff may practice and complete tutorials from home.
And even if you have the resources to block out an entire week to training, don’t forget it can get intense and stressful when done without a break. To prevent your staff from being counterproductive, break up training sessions to short periods of time and let your staff catch a break!
Train On Relevant Modules
A common misconception practices have is thinking that every employee needs to learn every feature of the EHR software. This will only lead to confusion and frustration among staff and delay the training process. Your staff should only be trained on areas that they are going to use. After you define their roles and tasks, certain EHR vendors allow you to assign separate training modules. So only train them on modules that are relevant to their roles.
Use All Available Resources
Some EHR vendors offer personal trainers to train your staff in person, but those can get really costly and it’s not the most practical solution for small practices. A good EHR vendor will have detailed training programs and resources for their customers that are available online. Online tools are a good resource because you can learn at your own pace and time. So utilize all the resources available, even if you think you already know how to use the system. Are there videos and tutorials to show you how the system works? Are there quizzes that you and your staff can take to test your knowledge? What about a knowledge base to refer to if you have a quick question? But there will also be times when you need live help. Does your EHR vendor have live training or Q&A sessions with your trainer? These are all good resources to use during your training. And if your vendor offers them, make sure that your staff is using them.
Track Your Staff’s Progress
This should fall under the office manager’s responsibility to make sure that everyone is staying on track with learning the software. Small practices with just a few staff should not simply assume that all your staff is doing well and skip this step. Office managers should also help those who might be falling behind, and seek out resources that can help with training. Some EHRs have training programs that allow you to track the progress of your staff, such as the number of online lessons they’ve completed or quizzes they’ve passed.
Tracking your team’s progress also allows you to make sure that the new process is implemented correctly and it’s actually what’s best for your practice. See if your team has become inefficient with the new software. Find the cracks within the workflow. Think about what information the next person who deals with the patient needs, and how everyone can ensure that he/she has all the information they need. It’s important to point out inefficiency with the new system at this point, and fix it as fast as possible.
It can be hard for small practices to get everyone up to speed with limited resources. But that doesn’t mean that implementing a new practice management solution successfully is impossible! Follow these tips to make sure that training your team goes smoothly!
Find out how change management can help you prepare for training in our latest eBook!
Breaking away from working at large optical practices in order to open your own office is a daunting and intimidating decision to make. There is a lot of money, time, and effort that you will have to put in to your new endeavor. You want to make sure that all of the preparation for opening a practice is done well, and we are here to give you a few tips to keep in mind throughout the process.
Tips for Opening Private Optical Practices
Start with a Business Plan
Before you do anything else, define exactly why you want to start your own practice, and develop a plan. You have to make sure that you are committed and ready to start this practice. Developing a business plan is the best way to set deadlines and create a budget. It's probably a good idea to consult with a business lawyer, or consultant, to make sure that you've got all of your bases covered. There are lot of little details that go into starting your own business, so make sure that you're ready from day 1!
Make sure you have all of the support you need, because it's going to be a long and hard road. Whether that means having your family and friends on board with your plan, or having investors support you through loans. Expenses and set-backs have a tendency to come out of nowhere, so make sure you have both emotional and financial support.
Get Your Financials in Order
Plan your budget before you even think about buying anything. The number of expenses you will encounter in your first year will be overwhelming. You need to make initial equipment purchases, find a reasonably priced office location, hire employees, and choose your EHR and Practice Management Software. Even after all of that, depending on your product choices, there are bound to be even more hidden costs and fees.
Understand the Business
Get training or assistance in the business of owning a practice. Chances are that if you are opening an independent optometry office, your area of expertise is not going to be based in business. Do not feel embarrassed to ask for advice or assistance with the business aspects of your practice. It is better to seek out the help early than having to backtrack and correct mistakes along the way.
It's never to early to set out and get customers! Patients are not just going to show up out of nowhere! You need to get out in your community and build a following. Make sure you utilize popular social media, like Facebook and Twitter. Try to attend community events, and maybe even sponsor local teams. It is all about advertising for yourself and drawing patients in. And if you're opening your practice from scratch, marketing costs are going to be a large part of your budget!
The key to being a success is not only following the tips above, but continuing to maintain them throughout the life of your practice. If you started out with an excellent budget and never update or review it, the hard work form the beginning is less helpful.
Want to be kept in the loop about various tips and tricks to running an awesome practice? Subscribe to our blog!
As independent practice owners it's your job to make sure that the business side of your practice is a well-oiled machine, and that you're making a healthy profit. Part of maintaining a healthy business is keeping up with your marketing needs. That's why we asked our friends at The Optical Vision Site to share with us their summertime marketing for optometrists tips about best practices for marketing kids sunglasses in your dispensary!
Marketing for Optometrists Tips from The Optical Vision Site
Living at the beach, I am constantly surprised that parents lather up thier kids with sunscreen and hats, but no sunglasses! I asked a couple of parents why their kids weren't wearing sunwear for their eyes, and the #1 response is they forget about it. This presents an opportunity for eyecare professionals...remind the parents. Kids need sunglasses more than ever today for long term eye health. See one of our top posts: 13 Reasons Why Kids Should Wear Sunglasses.
I'm also going to say this, you cannot dispense this important eye-healthy, preventative eyecare for kids if you don't carry it. It will not sell through if you don't display appropriately and talk to each of your parent patients. These are great gift items for friends and family. There are so many options today for kids, between swim goggles, sports protective sunglasses, and of course fun and fancy frames for both boys and girls. Carry them, RX them, display them, and they will sell.
Rons Optical Style Style Flex YW
Rons Optical Style Jasmin
Rons Optical Style Hunter
Hilco protective Sports Sunglasses
Protective swim goggles should be displayed in a group. You might make a bullet point sheet on the effect of chlorine on a child's eyes. Display with snorkels, beach towels, beach toys. Make it cool. Stock the product, they will never go out of style, like eye health, it's forever.
Liberty Sports Shark
Swimming Goggles by Hilco Leader
Diving Mask By Hilco
Promote all of these displays and sun protection options via Facebook and Twitter. Have your patients show off their kids with sunglasses as a contest. Remember, there are over 74 million kids in the USA under the age of 18!
Want more tips from The Optical Vision Site? Visit their blog today!
We are thrilled to announce a $7,075.34 royalty payment to the Opticians Association of America (OAA) and affiliated State Associations!
This is the fourth year that we are paying royalties to the OAA for the orders their members placed on VisionWeb as part of the VisionWeb OAA Royalty Program! This year there were 493 accounts enrolled in the program and were eligible to earn royalties. And better yet, there was a 24% increase in royalties paid out this year.
We also want to congratulate the Certified Opticians Association in Texas for receiving the title of VisionWeb's OAA State Association of the Year. They won the title for having a 29% increase in royalties earned for their state! To congratulate them on this achievement, they will be receiving a check for $1,500.
Register to Participate in the VisionWeb OAA Royalty Program Today!
If you're an OAA member and you use VisionWeb, you are eligible to participate. If you're already submitting orders through VisionWeb, you might as well be earning royalties for your state while you do it! Just follow these quick steps to enroll:
- Log into your VisionWeb account at www.visionweb.com
- Click the OAA Royalty Program registration button in the bottom left hand corner
- Complete the form and hit "Submit"
That's it! Once registered, all orders placed by any member of your staff will count toward your practice's order total for the annual earning period, which runs from April-March annually.
If you have questions about the OAA Royalty Program, or ordering on VisionWeb, please contact our Customer Service team at (800) 874-6601(800) 874-6601.
Now that we are all settled in from Optometry’s Meeting and the long 4th of July weekend, it’s time to for an Optometry’s Meeting recap! If you were at the show, it’s also time to think about the next steps when shopping for an eye care practice management system after the show. Follow our tips below to make sure that you’re making the most out of your trip!
As usual, we had a lot of fun at the show! And for most of us, it was our first time in Philly! We got to explore the city and managed to see the Liberty Bell! At the booth, we were busy showing Uprise demos and interacting with optometry students. This year, instead of cotton candy, we had a photo booth where customers could get their pictures taken with fun props. If you were at our photo booth, you can find your photos on our Facebook page. We also had a chance to support the UC-Berkeley Optometry Students at the Student Bowl as they cheered on their team with our noisemakers!
How to Shop for Eye Care Practice Management After the Show
But enough about all the fun we had… It’s time to talk about you! If you were at the show shopping for a new practice management and EHR software, make sure that you do the following before making your purchasing decision.
1. Follow Up
Have you gotten a chance to narrow down a few systems that really impressed you at the show? As exhibitors, we’re also busy following up with customers we met so if you follow up with us, we’ll probably even remember what we’ve talked about and give you more information about your specific concerns. Request follow-up demos with your top picks for more information you need to make your decision.
2. Get Your Staff Involved
Everyone will be affected when you switch to a new system so we think that it’s only fair that you consider some, if not all, of your staff’s opinion. Getting them involved will also reduce their resistance to the change because they feel like they were part of the decision making process. So share your brochures and packets with them and get them to sit in on those follow-up demos.
3. Think about Change Management
Implementing a new system means changing up the old ways that many of your staff members are used to. Before you get a new system, you need to think about how you can manage the resistance to change and have a plan to help you staff cope with the new system. Our latest eBook will show you how to take on an active role as an office manager to manage the changes the EHR will bring.
We had a lot of fun at the show, and we’re already preparing for Vision Expo West in Vegas! We hope to see you there! In the meantime, download our eBook “EHR Implementation: The Ultimate Guide to Change Management.”
Once you’ve decided which EHR software you want to implement at your practice, you have to start preparing your staff for the change. Before you do anything else, take a moment to stop and make sure you have evaluated your staff’s computer proficiency and that you know the details of your implementation plan.
Preparing Your Practice for EHR Software Implementation
Evaluate Your Staff’s Computer Proficiency
Not everyone on your team is on the same skill level when it comes to computer usage. This definitely does not mean they are unable learn, but you need to make sure you have some more experienced users to help the less familiar users along the way. Work to discover how adaptable your practice is and how similar the new system will be to their current workflow. It's probably not a bad idea to reevaluate the software you are using and make sure it is most conducive option for your practice.
Know the Implementation Plan
When bringing in new software, it is important for you, as the office manager and pack leader, to be familiar with all of the details. You are the liaison between the software vendor and the practice. Before you even start planning training sessions, gather important information from your staff regarding possible meeting times, estimated training required, and a list of what you need from your vendor. Make sure that everyone is on the same page with what is expected out of everyone when it comes to implementation and training.
Understand the Keys to Successful Training
You have to dedicate time specifically to training, so that your staff can really focus on what they are learning, without interruptions. This does not necessarily mean that you have to stay after work or close the office for days. However, it might mean ordering in lunch and having a training session in that time. Also, you might want to consider who you are training on which parts of the system. Each staff member does not have to know every detail of your new software, just what is relevant them.
You want to make sure you know your resources, too. To what training materials do you have access to? Make sure you are utilizing your vendor, videos, quizzes, or maybe even classes. In fact, as you were making your EHR software selection, this should have been one of the features in your consideration set.
Finally, you want to keep a log documenting each staff member’s progress through quiz scores or assessment tests. You want to confirm who understands everything, so that you can see who needs more help and who is packed up and ready for the new software!
Want to know more about how you can have a smooth EHR implementation? This FREE eBook is for you!
Opening your own, independent optical practice is a thrilling experience that will more than likely come with a whirlwind of emotions from excitement to fear to pride in your work. We are here with a playlist to help you work through each stage of this huge step in your life, told by some of your favorite artists over the years. Here’s to success! Here’s to being an independent practice!
Calling All Optical Practices: Celebrate Your IndepenDANCE With This Playlist
Track 1: Independent Woman - Destiny’s Child
(Working for Someone Else & Deciding to Leave)
“Try to control me boy you get dismissed, pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills...” Sometimes it can be rough having to report to someone when you feel like you know what is best. Once you begin to consider your options and realize that you are just as capable of running your own practice as anyone else, it starts to grow into a plan you actually want to follow. You dismiss your old position and start working towards managing your own independent practice so you can look back and say, “I worked hard and sacrificed to get what I get!”
Track 2: Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol
(Making the Decision to Get Started)
“Well there's nothing to lose, there's nothing to prove, and I'll be dancing with myself!” As you start to shop around for the things you will need to get started (equipment, office location, staff, software, etc.), you feel the thrilling sense of being free to make the choices that you want. You do not feel the need to get anyone else’s approval; this practice is all yours. “I’ll be dancing with myse-elf-- uhoh oh oh!”
Track 3: Revolution – The Beatles
(Getting the Money and Support to Open Your Own Practice)
“You say you got a real solution, well, you know, we'd all love to see the plan, you ask me for a contribution, well, you know, we're all doing what we can.” You have to go to investors and banks in order to acquire the funds you will need to purchase all of the equipment and supplies necesscery to open your own practice. They are not just going to hand out the funding, so you have to put together a thorough business plan in order to acquire their contributions.
Track 4: I Will Never Let You Down - Rita Ora
(Picking the Right Practice Management and EHR Solution to Support Your Office)
“’Cause I've been sick and working all week, and I've been doing just fine, you've been tired of watching me, forgot to have a good time.” When starting up a new business, you need to have the most reasonable technology. You want to make sure the practice management and EHR software you choose for your office is the right one for you and the staff that you are hiring. You probably want something low maintenance that you can access form anywhere so that even when you’re not in the office you can still keep up - after all, this is your investment, but that doesn't mean you should not get some time away occasionally. “I'll be what you're dreaming of, oh, OoOoh, I will never let you down!” Ensure that your software is fully functional for both you and your patients.
Track 5: All By Myself - Celine Dion
(When it Starts to get Really Hard and Overwhelming)
“All by myself, don't wanna be, all by myself… anymore.” What were you thinking?! This whole “independent practice” thing is a lot more stressful than you expected. You might hit a point in the process of opening a practice where it gets overwhelming and you start to question your decision to open a practice all by yourself. No worries, you just need to push through so you can hit the next stage…
Track 6: Miss Independent – Ne-Yo
(You Figure It All Out and Are Feeling, Well, Like a Boss)
“She made for a boss, only a boss, anythin' less she tellin' them to get lost.” Remember why you wanted to do this in the first place? You get to be the boss. You get to make the decisions and you start to see everything pull together. All the success that is suddenly happening? That was you. “'Cause she work like a boss, play like a boss, car and a crib, she 'bout to pay 'em both off.” Finally, you can pay back those loans and investors who helped get the practice going in the first place.
Track 7: Changes – David Bowie
(Knowing That, Sometimes, You Have to Make Adjustments)
“Every time I thought I'd got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet…” …But then, of course, you know it can never really be that easy. You might have to go back through and assess your business decisions, technology choices, or maybe even evaluate your employees. Ares these the most efficient options for your office or is it time for some “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!?”
Track 8: Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
(You Get in the Swing of Things and it is All Good)
“I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine, I'm loving cloud nine, my head's in the sky. I'm solo, I'm riding solo, I'm riding solo, I'm riding solo, sooloooo.” It might take some time, but you know that after a while you will get the hang of it and you and your staff will be on cloud nine (or is that just your cloud-based EHR?). “Now I made it through the weather, better days are gonna get better.” You’ve figured out how to make it through the roughest patches, you know you can take on anything that comes your way.
Track 9: I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
“First I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side, but then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong, and I grew strong and I learned how to get along!” Eventually, you will be able to look back at the whole process and realize how strong and motivated you were. Take some pride in your practice! Being independent is hard work.
Looking for a great way to get your independent practice dancing to the same beats as your patients?