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Boldly Navigate the Future of Eyecare





Developing a 3 or 5 year plan for your practice can be daunting, but it's something every independent optometrist should create to align personal career goals, staff’s output goals, and the overall vision for the growth of the practice. That’s why we want to help you build a competitive practice that has the capacity to adopt the newest technology, build efficient workflows, and keep up with the evolving eyecare industry year after year.

First, we’ll start with a comprehensive business plan that includes your optometry practice’s goals, strategies, and growth opportunities. Next, we will overview creating an organizational structure that can support your vision for years to come. Then, we’ll show you how to measure past and present performance metrics to predict your financial and productivity trajectory. Finally, we’ll make sure that you’re using the best software and digital tools to set your practice up for growth and success for many years to come.

Click read more below to access the free guide and get started with your long-term planning. When you’ve finished compiling your 5 year plan, we hope your entire team can feel a sense of clarity and excitement for the future of your business.

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Comprehensive business plans come in handy when you're approaching banks or other investors for loans, selling your optometry practice, or expanding your practice. However, they're also relevant for organizing your growth ideas into actions and a timeline. Using this step-by-step analysis, begin with broad, long-term goals and narrow down to specific actions you can take to reach these goals.

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8 Step Business Plan



Step 1: Determine your main objectives.



Including providing the best patient care, what parts of optometry and business ownership excite you the most? Consider the following questions to help determine what you find important:

  • Do you want to grow one successful practice with multiple optometrists?
  • Do you want to manage and start multiple practices within your city?
  • Are you looking to provide eyecare to underserved neighborhoods?
  • Are you looking to sell your practice and get the most return?

These are just a few common objectives eyecare professionals can consider, but the first step is to decide your priorities



Step 2: Write a mission statement.



Your mission statement should be simple, short, and impactful. Make sure your mission encompasses how your practice values its patients as well as its team. Your statement is helpful to patients searching for a doctor who aligns with their personal preferences as well as potential new hires.

Step 3: Conduct industry, market, and competitive analyses.

Become aware of how eyecare practices around the country are performing year-over-year, what growth they're seeing, and what growth is expected for the industry over the next five years by following industry resources, such as VisionWeb or Review of Optometric Business. We also recommend analyzing the performance and tactics of similar optometry practices in your local area with a SWOT analysis.



Step 4: Narrow down your core strategies.



Drill down your objectives into strategies: how are you going to meet these objectives? Strategies could be: "ramp up social media production" or "sponsor charity events". They don't have to be quantifiable, but they should directly lead to your objectives in the long-term. We suggest you create quarterly strategy goals based on the desired timeline of your objectives, but be adaptable to change.


FOLLOW THIS STRATEGY GUIDE


Step 5: Identify key performance indicators (KPIs).



First, examine the benchmark data on industry success rates in our ebook, “8 Benchmarks ODs Need to Monitor in Their Practice”. Then, you will better understand what goals you need to hit in order to reach your objectives. KPIs are common in revenue-driven industries; so, you can start with how much annual net profit you need to generate from your dispensary, how many claims you need to file, or how many new patients you should be seeing every year. We’ll dive a bit deeper into performance metrics in the next section.

Make sure your KPIs are in actionable monthly or quarterly steps. An example could be "Increase optical capture rate by 10% Quarter over Quarter until 2020".

Print out this template of a full-sized goal tracking sheet for your optometry practice here.



Step 6: Develop a marketing plan.



We know that marketing your practice will change with emerging technologies, trends, and patient growth. However, it's a good idea to identify the demographics and motivations of your existing patients with patient personas. Then, develop plans for how your marketing campaigns or tactics directly target these personas.

This could mean that you market to recent retirees with Google Ads that educate on signs of aging in your vision. If your practice is near a college campus, run Facebook ads or an Instagram competition for first-time visitors with messaging about being a recent grad with personal healthcare responsibilities. If the majority of your patients are working with a small budget and you risk losing them to online retailers, promote your more affordable products and include infographics about why purchasing from your dispensary saves them money in the long-term. Make sure to include photography in your ads and brochures that reflects the lifestyle and background of your target audience such as pictures of families, seniors, or young adults.



Step 7: Define your organizational structure.






The best way to organize day-to-day and long-term tasks is through establishing an organizational hierarchy. As the eyecare industry and technology change, so will the duties of your staff. It will be helpful for everyone involved if there is a clear separation of departments. The following organizational chart can be a good starting point for determining your structure:




5 year plan org chart

By Department

Like the example chart above, begin with your different departments and list out their overarching purpose, areas of expertise, and duties. You can go a step further by listing quarterly or annual goals for each department. This simple chart works best for small offices where there is a single OD managing the entire team.


By Role

If you want to showcase your organization through your office roles, that is another excellent way to divide up responsibilities. You can list the skills and background required for each role alongside their day-to-day duties. Then, you can add in long-term goals or growth avenues. Charting organization by role works well for practices that are expanding, moving, or adopting new technology.


By Manager

For larger practices, there might be micro-teams that have leads who report to the head office manager or ODs. Although creating a managerial structure can feel complex, it's a useful way to structure your team if you do all your billing management, procurement, and marketing in-house.


Start by identifying your "people" managers, or team leads. For example, your head office manager might directly manage your front desk staff and opticians, but optometrists might manage assistants and technicians. Ask yourself which managers should be responsible for each individual's career growth, productivity, and day-to-day concerns. Then, you can determine the groups' responsibilities based on individual expertise.



Step 8: Cast financial projections and budgets.



Whether you manage finances on your own, have an in-house accountant, or outsource this role, you should have a good sense of your practice's financial viability. If you plan on acquiring other practices, building a new practice, or selling your practice, then financial projections and pro formas are helpful. The first step is developing good money habits and understanding which areas need more or less investment.


Review the Budget

First, determine what budget you've allotted for yourself annually. This means creating reports on inventory, procurement, and cost of goods sold. Then, compare those reports to your expected income and growth (sales projections, optical capture rate, marketing campaigns). This allows you to evaluate which areas you might be experiencing slower or faster growth. Being able to explain fluctuations in profit month-over-month can raise alert for internal theft or other money issues, too.


Organize your expenses with the free budget excel sheet below.


DOWNLOAD THE BUDGET TEMPLATE


Automate Processes

If you aren't already running profit and loss or budget statements monthly, it's time to start. Review of Optometric Business provides a hypothetical profit and loss statement you might run here. Using online accounting tools, such as QuickBooks, can be an inexpensive way to reduce the amount of time you spend analyzing as well as accurately forecasting growth.


Re-evaluate Your Goals

If you're spending far under or over your budget and not seeing the growth in patients or revenue you expected, it might be time to re-evaluate your goals. Take into account how much money you're investing into your practice and make sure your financial ratios are not unrealistic. Maybe you'd need to hire an associate OD or a new optician in order to meet your goals. Maybe you have to change your EHR/PM, improve on your claim acceptance rate, offer a new product line in your dispensary, or renegotiate your vendor contracts.

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Now that you've drilled into your practice's business plan for future growth, it’s time to examine how you will regularly measure practice performance in order to make sure you're meeting the goals you've just set.

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Metrics to Measure

When it comes to owning a business, on top of the day-to-day workload, you're in charge of making the high-level decisions that will impact your practice over time. In order to make the right decisions and meet the goals you’ve set for your practice, you need to be well-informed on how the practice performs over time and the steps you can take to improve performance.

The ability to analyze data is becoming an increasingly important skill. Simple formulas will make it easy for you to plug in your annual numbers to see how your performance is changing. Here are 3 different metrics we think are important for practices to measure over time in order to implement important changes in the future:

New Patient Growth

When it comes to practice growth, the rate at which you are bringing in new patients is critical. For the average practice, a new patient growth rate somewhere between 8-10% is pretty good performance. However, a lot of this also depends on the maturity of your practice. Newer practices will typically be striving for a higher new patient rate than an established practice.

new patient growth formula

Optical Capture Rate

Once you're getting new patients into your practice for exams, you want them to choose your dispensary to purchase their eyewear over online retailers and local competition. Optical capture rate compares the number of patients you give an Rx prescription to and the number of patients who fill their prescription in your practice. Dispensary sales are an important piece of practice revenue, so keeping up with the industry benchmark of 60% is important.

optical capture rate formula

Chair Cost

Chair cost represents the costs associated with providing care to each patient. A lot of factors can play into your chair cost, so this formula could vary a little from practice to practice depending on what you want to factor into the equation of your fixed costs. In the end, you want to compare your chair cost to the insurance reimbursement you're generating to cover the cost.

chair cost per patient formula

While the overall goal is for your insurance reimbursement to be higher than your chair cost, we also believe that the current chair cost per exam should be about $150 per patient. We've got an eBook that covers five more metrics that your practice should be focusing on.


GET THE BENCHMARKS


Performance Reports

You can’t create realistic annual goals for your practice without understanding which parts of your business generate the most revenue, how to improve employee output, and other performance metrics that need to be tracked over time.

These performance reports synthesize large volumes of dispensary sales data, diagnosis patterns, patient growth trends, and other useful information that would overwhelm your staff. Most importantly, they show you which areas of your optometry practice have room for improvement. Here are a few reports we’ve found to be most beneficial:

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Opportunities

See missed opportunities for growth in the practice by each staff member based on how much money is being left on the table. Track AR, Transitions, POF, and $0 frame sales..

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Clinic Overview

Look at year supply number & percentage for contact lenses, contact lens exam totals, percentage of daily contacts, boxes sold, as well as top manufacturers percentage, brand families percentage, and styles.

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TimeKeeping

Manually enter the hours worked for each staff member so you can see the collections per OD exam and more.

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Frame & Lens Sales Reports

Look at line graphs for number of frames and lenses sold in total or per exam, revenue per sale, revenue per exam, and average price.

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Staff Compare Matrix

Line staff up side by side to see how they are performing in many aspects of the practice when it comes to optical sales.

Set your practice up with software tools that can integrate with your EHR/PM and provide you the data you need to automatically generate reports. GPN Technologies' cutting-edge data and business intelligence reports from EDGEPro allow you to pull patient data, revenue sources, dispensary statistics, and more to create approximately 20 predictive reports. Uprise EHR & PM is integrated with EDGEPro so that the reports can automatically and securely reference your sales and patient information without any extra effort on your part.



Insurance Analysis

Keeping track of your insurance reimbursements is crucial to predicting your revenue growth in the long-term. Many optometric billing managers focus on pushing insurance claims through the proper channels and don’t have the bandwidth to chart, analyze, and track the optical practice’s revenue stream from claims. This creates a lack of transparency and could lose you revenue in the long term.

Whether you’re looking to make your claim management processes more efficient and more effective or you just want more visibility into what’s going on, your optometric billing manager needs to compare your practice against state and national averages using these reports:

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Utilization Report

Utilization charts measure the frequency of test performance compared to the average OD across the state and nation.

Being able to read a utilization report could help you prevent an audit and identify issues in documenting procedure codes. If your chart indicates that you’re performing tests more frequently than your peers across the nation, you can prepare for a possible audit from the insurance companies. If you’re performing a particular test less often than the average, you might be under utilizing some of the instruments in your optometric practice and could use them more often to enrich patient care and increase revenue.

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Yearly Earnings & Exams Report

Comparing your yearly earnings and exam performance gives you insight into how your practice has changed over time and may uncover any activities that your practice can focus on to increase business.

If you see your exam rate decreasing or increasing, that can inform whether you need to allocate more budget to marketing and branding, attracting new patients, or spending more on optimizing your patient management system. This report can provide you peace of mind that you're investing money in the right areas of your practice.

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Monthly Denial Rate Report

Examining your monthly denial rates will help your optometric billing manager dig into common errors or claim management problems. By keeping a monthly record on what claims payers are commonly denying, you can look for ways to anticipate and correct the issue to help avoid the same errors in the future.

After you've figured out your main reasons for denials, read our eBook on the Top 7 Reasons for Denied Claims in Eyecare Practices to reduce your denial rate from the source.

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Monthly Income Report

Your insurance claims generate revenue for your practice and help you keep the lights on and invest in new technology to enhance patient care. By comparing your monthly income, you can identify the optimizations you need to make the next month to generate more revenue. These are a few common billing errors that hurt revenue you could fix easily.

Having a pulse on how your insurance claims are progressing can help your practice improve your claim management processes and increase your revenue stream. If your billing manager doesn’t have the ability to focus on recording and analyzing your claim management and revenue cycle, then seek out a billing service provider with the resources available to dig deep into your data.



DISCOVER ALL 5 INSURANCE REPORTS
Technology Header



The future growth of your practice depends on the technology you invest in. The rapid adoption of technology in healthcare isn't slowing down anytime soon; and, in order to keep up with patient needs, you need to have technology in your practice that supports your existing processes and prioritizes patient satisfaction.

All of the tools in your practice should be able to work together, providing a seamless workflow for you and a fast exam for the patient. We'll take a look at some of the tools and software the most high-tech practices are implementing in their offices

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Robust Patient Portal

An ideal patient portal will allow patients to schedule appointments online at their convenience, complete medical forms before the appointment, send secure messages to your practice, and provide access to educational or promotional materials. Your portal should include these essential pieces with options for personalization and easy scheduling. In order to fully reap the benefits of a patient portal, make sure all your patients are aware of how it makes their lives easier with an instructional email for best practices.

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Order Products Online

If you’re still wasting time calling suppliers and labs individually, you’ll need to prioritize shifting to an online ordering solution, like VisionWeb, that allows you to access all your labs with a single login. Online ordering platforms check for entry errors before you send an order, which reduces time fixing errors and guarantees fast delivery for satisfied customers. However, the main reason all modern optometry practices should order their products online is because it cuts out regular phone calls to place orders and eliminates the guesswork associated with tracking orders at no cost to your practice.

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Automated Patient Recall

Keeping a full schedule is essential if you’re trying to expand your patient base, generate revenue to fund a new practice, or create a name for yourself in the industry. Patient recall is an efficient and inexpensive method to bring patients back into your office and is an opportunity to boost your online reputation. Whether it's through active patient appointment reminders or nudges for inactive patients, a recall system takes the manual work off your staff by automatically communicating with your patients through customized email and text. The best patient recall tools help you with web scheduling, allow patients to choose their preferred method of communication, generate patient feedback from surveys, and help solicit patient reviews.

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Customized Treatment Code Mapping

Being able to customize exam templates to reflect the way you like your charts saves you frustration during exams. Ideally, you should be able to populate a patient's medical, family, and social history directly into your EHR from the patient portal to reduce data re-entry. With Treatment Code Mapping, you can accelerate your charting by only documenting your exam findings; Treatment Code Mapping will auto-populate ICD10 codes and customized treatment plans based on the severity of each diagnosis. Built-in code verification also alerts you if you're attempting to bill a CPT that won't get you paid or select codes that could cause compliance conflicts, which will minimize your audit risk.

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Share Patient Education Material

Patient education and engagement enhances the patient experience, which improves your practice’s word-of-mouth and overall patient care quality. With the help of a solution like Rendia, you have access to a digital library of patient education materials, like videos and eyecare instructions. Videos illustrate the medical background, symptoms, and treatment of common diagnoses in a digestible format. They can also be shared on your social media to convince a patient experiencing those symptoms to schedule an appointment with your practice for a proper diagnosis and treatment. This digital content is generated based on the diagnosis code you selected for your patient so you can share them with your patients through email or the patient portal.

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Frame Catalogs

A cloud connection with a frames catalog automatically updates your system with frame information, reducing manual data entry. With Frames Data embedded, you can view over 40,000 frame listings and get up-to-date information, such as measurements and wholesale pricing, without leaving your software system. You'll also be able to search for products that aren't currently in your inventory, show images of frames to customers, and see trending reports on popular frames. Not only does this improve your patients’ experience, but it allows you to compete with online retailers that might disrupt sales.

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Automatic Code Verification

Coding accuracy can create inefficiencies for many offices. Coding errors lead to increased work for your biller and can directly affect your long-term bottom line if claims are being rejected or denied. A built-in tool should help you avoid rejections by alerting you of invalid CPT code combos for services performed the same day or diagnosis conflicts before submitting a claim to the payer. A real-time CTP and ICD code verification feature, like CodeSAFE, ensures compliance and coverage eligibility.

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Send Prescriptions Safely and Electronically

ePrescribing is the safest and most efficient way to reduce errors and phone calls, which allows your team more time to focus on practice growth. An embedded ePrescribing tool lets you synchronize EHR data automatically, access patient eligibility and formulary, and access historical prescription data to help you send error-free prescriptions to your local pharmacies in real-time. This helps your patients get what they need sooner while minimizing the back and forth communications between the doctor, pharmacist, and medical insurance provider.

all in one solution

Uprise Pro + Revenue Cycle Management

In order to set your practice up for success and accurately measure your performance to the fullest, you’ll need highly efficient tools that reduce exam times and automate administrative work. Uprise Pro + RCM is the only practice management bundle that includes an EHR and practice management solution, online ordering, and a billing service - all from one vendor at one affordable price.

Uprise Pro includes embedded tools for video-based patient education, automated patient recall and reminders, frame catalogs, e-prescribing, and code verification to give you access to industry-leading tools under one login, which improves communication between your staff and your patients. Most importantly, you’ll save time and money with just one implementation period, cloud-based storage, and a team of insurance experts handling your claims for you.

Hear more about how bundling Uprise Pro and RCM helped add $20k in monthly revenue for Dr. Stanley’s practice.





Chat with us about your practice’s needs and how our solutions can support your long-term goals.

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