With the holiday season fast approaching, we are looking toward closing the year out strong and recovering profits and patients for the upcoming year. In addition to preparing for a higher number of patients coming in during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, we are thinking about what we want to include in our budget for the new year.
These are a few investments I believe we should make room for in our budgets. Not only are some of these necessary changes with social distancing orders in effect, but they'll also help set our practices apart from the competition that might still be operating business-as-usual.
Optometry Investments to Set You Up for 2021
- Patient Safety & PPE
We're already investing in proper sanitation of equipment, face masks, and protective clothing. Now is a good time to consider taking the next step for long-term safety. In order to protect our staff better, we could install large plastic barriers that surround the front desk or a drive-thru/walk-up window for picking up dispensary products. These are more permanent office changes that would make our practices safe and more accessible to patients with limited mobility or low immunity.
- Online Frame Gallery with Virtual Try-On
Implementing an online shopping option that allows patients to visualize themselves in our products is a win-win situation. Patients can avoid spending a long time inside the practice and already be ready to purchase during their appointment. Also, this change would boost the value of our practices for the long-term and help us compete with online retailers who might have low stock or longer shipping estimations.
This is something most of my peers have been considering for this year, but their existing software and infrastructure might not allow them to provide effective, remote patient care. However, our patients are more open to the idea of tele-optometry than ever before. Look into cloud-based systems that allow patients to access their forms, prescriptions, and information from a digital patient portal. Then, choose an EHR that allows you to efficiently administer and document a remote exam with the correct telehealth codes.