Optical Resources: How Your Practice Can Get Ahead of the Curve

In the spirit of celebrating this month’s theme of education, we have a special post from John Seegers. John is a licensed optician with over nineteen years of experience. He is a great thought leader in our industry and has taught classes in optical dispensing, optical laboratory finishing theory and laboratory clinical. We’re glad that he’s here to share some of his knowledge with us!

Today, he talks about embracing change. We all know that it’s not easy to step out of our comfort zone, but when you do, you might actually find that it’s not as bad as you think!

Optical Resources You’ll Need to Keep Up with Change

Here’s a joke you can tell anywhere: A sloth gets mugged by a couple of turtles. The police ask him to describe what happened. The sloth says, “I don’t know, it all happened so fast.”

I like that joke. Sadly, it could also be a metaphor for the optical industry. Change in the industry has been so slow, for so long now, that many practices and small businesses are finding today’s rapid change of pace overwhelming. EHRs, free-form lenses, digital exams, virtual try-on systems, online ordering, automated patient recalls; the list goes on and on.
Optical_Resources_ChangeIt can be difficult to set aside the frustrations of dealing with software and technology that simply does not work, which we know accompanies those rapid changes. The best way to overcome the sense of being overwhelmed by change is to dive in, learn what you can, and start embracing the new things that are coming along. The longer you put it off, the more difficult it becomes to catch up.

Optical_Resources_opticianworksNow, more than ever, you need to be hiring and/or training opticians, ECPs, optical dispensing professionals, non-licensed opticians, who are tech-savvy and business-oriented. Now, more than ever, we need to move away from the dated and silly quasi-medical model, and move towards a business-based model. The old model simply does not fit the way the world works today. Anyone who sees the shift away from the dated medical model to a business model and quips, “Then I am nothing but a salesman,” has little understanding of what practice owners face today, of the transforming role of the optical dispensing professional.

The third sentence anyone reads at my training site, OpticianWorks.com, is, “The primary job of an optician, ECP or ODP is to bring money in to a practice by being competent, knowledgeable and by offering appropriate products.” If your practice, lab or store is taking on a new hire, be sure to turn to a web-based training program so you can be sure the information and training is as up-to-date as possible.

Training and continuing education are crucial to keeping a practice riding the top of the wave. You never want to be so far ahead of it that your patient base doesn’t understand what you are doing. At the same time, you never want to be so far behind that your practice is dated, or out of touch. Patients or customers are being bombarded with ads about what is new and “hot.” Stay on top by looking at blogs like these, reading the current trade magazines, and following relevant social media.

When I use the terms “continuing education” and “CE,” I do not necessarily mean a credit-based session. If your license requires credit CEs, then by all means get them. If not, try to look for something new and exciting to ignite your practice, instead of reading the four hundredth and seventy-seventh article you have read on polarization, even if this means looking at something you genuinely hate. If you feel strongly about Internet eyeglass sales, for instance, spend some time studying those sites, so you are knowledgeable about them and can talk with patients about them. If you hate the big-box stores, then go and visit a few, so you can better adapt your own style to keep people in your store. Need a little more information on free-form technology? Find a training or CE session and get through it!

Are you ready to shake things up a little in your practice? We hope that you’d embrace change in the eyecare industry. If you’re looking for more tips for your practice, subscribe to the VisionWeb blog!

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