Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO

Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO

I've had 30 years of experience as an optometrist and own two optometric practices in Oregon. I currently serve on the VSP Global Board of Directors as chairman of the board. 

The views expressed in my As Eye See It posts are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of VSP Global or other members of the VSP Global Board of Directors.

Our Marketplace is Changing

This is my very first blog. It is great to reach out to other private practitioners and engage you all in a dialogue regarding VSP and our profession. VSP has one and only one mission: to deliver patients to member doctor practices.

Observations from the Town-Hall Meetings

Hi again. Needless to say, change is upon us. Whether it be my hairline, the economy, or my distance off the tee, all are being tested. Change is also upon us in our optometric practices with a down economy, stronger competition, and increasing purchasing online, to name a few.

God Bless Private Practice

Every day we go to work trying to do the very best job for our patients. And yet, the impressions that patients sometimes get never cease to amaze me. My favorite, of course, is for one of my patients to tell me that they like me a lot better than ...

VSP: A Successful Affiliate Strategy

In any competition, if the game changes, the strategy must also change for continued success. Such is the case with VSP® Vision Care in the managed vision care market. The needs and requirements of the client have changed. To remain competitive, VSP must also change to be able to meet clients’ needs.

Eyeconic: Our Connection to the Online Shopper

Ok, I am officially a Baby Boomer—a fifty-something shopper. I look in the phone book, wonder which store might have my desired product, and hunt store to store until I find what I am after. My daughter, however, is a generation ‘Y’ shopper.

Optometry: Back to the Future

Think about it. We are now living smack dab in the middle of what used to be the future. When I graduated in 1980, who could have envisioned that optometry would elevate and become the fantastic patient care profession which we know today?

The Making of an Optometrist

You know everyone has a unique story of how they ended up as a private-practice optometrist. After starting this blog, I realized that you might be wondering about my story. After reading below, you will find that I am just one of many using real-life experiences to help me connect with patients and run my business.

Progress

Progress, to me, means real improvement. Activity, however, does not necessarily result in progress at all. Remember Hans and Franz…members of the foreign legion. One day, their commandant announced that he had “good news.”

Reasons to Review Your Practice Report

Hi there, yes, it’s me again. Do you know the number one statistic which doctors keep track of in their practices? Yes, it is the number of patients, i.e., how full is my appointment book? How many patients this month, compared with how many patients last month?

IBM to EyeMed

When you go fishing, the number of fish in the pond is very important in predicting your chance of catching one. Adding fish to the pond increases your chances; removing fish from the pond decreases your chances.

Open Enrollment

I have been getting questions from doctors about what VSP® Vision Care is doing to win contracts since I blogged about the loss of the IBM contract. It just so happens that I have been putting this blog together to give you a glimpse of the efforts being made by VSP to connect patients with doctors, so, it is timely that I share this with you now.

Eyeconic

In my travels around the U.S. talking with doctors, I have heard lots of buzz around the emergence of online optical.

Doctor-patient Relationships

One of the real blessings of private practice is having the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with our patients. Our patients become our friends and almost seem like family. We know what they like and don’t like. We know their jobs, their hobbies, and their interests.

New Contact Lens Benefit a Win for Patients and Doctors

You know, I still remember the day I finally convinced my parents that I needed contact lenses. I was a high school baseball player and was certain that the only obstacle between me and the major leagues was my glasses. Well, I love my contact lenses, even to this day. Unfortunately, I never learned to hit the curve ball.

VSP Benefit Fairs Promoting Optometry

There I was, at the VSP® Vision Care booth—smack dab between the nutrition table and the chronic back pain table—as employees of Columbia Sportswear filed by at their annual benefits fair.

The Importance of Eye Health Management

Hi there, it’s me again. It is hard to believe, but I am officially able to reflect on a 30-year career in optometry. We all recognize the tremendous increase in scope of practice and optometry’s emergence as an integral part of the healthcare team.

VSP Eye on Diabetes

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the United States. Of this group, it is estimated that fully one third of diabetics are undiagnosed. Throw in an additional 79 million in the prediabetes risk category and you get a good idea about the breadth of this disease.

Best Story Contest Winner: Stephen Cohen, OD

In November, I invited fellow optometrists to share their stories. Thank you to everyone who submitted a story. I enjoyed reading them all, but following is my favorite story from those submitted. It was shared by Dr. Stephen Cohen.

Family Memories

An odd thing has happened over my nearly 30 years of practice…my patients are getting older (and so am I). It has been a remarkable transformation. In many ways, I think it is quite similar to what we experience as our own families get older.

2012 House of Delegates: Common Sense Prevails

by Matthew Alpert, ODI just returned from the California Optometric Association's (COA) House of Delegates. There were a number of issues to weigh in on, but fever pitch was reached when the issue of stand-alone vision plans was raised. A resolution for the COA to support stand-alone vision plans in the California state exchange achieved an overwhelming victory.

Optometry and Coffee

What in the world has happened to a cup of coffee? It is no longer just coffee; it is a “venti three-shot, soy, one-pump vanilla latte with light whip and no foam!” And what is up with blue jeans? Now, they are “distressed, stonewashed, multi-color, relaxed fit and meant to be worn just south of the hambone.” Yikes!!

The Need for Vigilance

Autorefractors are an important element in optometric practice. The primary function is to provide objective data that can be used in concert with other findings to help determine a refractive prescription.

The Marketplace

High competition, low margins, regulatory burden, unstable politics, strong outside forces, worst business model ever…what industry am I talking about? The answer is independent pharmacy as described in a blog by The Redheaded Pharmacist that appeared in Pharmacy Times, December 2011.

Expanding My Dispensary Online

Today’s post is guest-authored by Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO, who practices in Manassas, Virginia. Dr. Bass is Vice- President of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Optometric Association, a fellow of the Virginia Academy of Optometry, and served 10 years on the VSP Board of Directors. He is also a Melvin Jones Fellow in the Manassas Host Lions Club.

2011 VSP Practice Report

I had the opportunity to play on my college golf team. One day my golf coach asked me how I was doing with my midrange putting. He said that if I didn’t know, I should gather some data. To my surprise, after charting a few rounds, I found that my weakest putting distance was midrange.

UNITY Optics

I grew up in rural eastern Oregon and spent a lot of time fishing in cold, wet weather. To protect from the elements, our pre-outdoor ritual was to spray water repllenet on our clothes to help keep the wet out. Time consuming, a little sticky, and not completely satisfactory—but it did help.

Why We’ve Invited the AOA to a Healthcare Reform Forum

We all remember the famous words sung by Sister Sledge: “We are Family.” There is no question about it; the optometric profession has always had a real sense of family. Remarkably, we actually like each other. However, that does not mean that we always agree.

Affiliate Provider Program Update

An excellent strategic move in baseball is to allow a run to score in exchange for an out when your team is well ahead. After all, the ultimate goal is to win the game. This is a very apt description of the successful results to date for the VSP affiliate provider program.

Clearing the Mist Surrounding Healthcare Reform

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”Dr. Seuss Recently, an Open Forum was held with representatives from both the AOA and VSP discussing stand-alone vision plan direct participation in the newly forming state insurance exchanges.

Embracing Technology

I have had the pleasure of riding in a lot of taxi cabs in my frequent travels. It seems that everyone is embracing technology…even the taxis. Check out this partial list: GPS, surveillance cameras, digital taxi meters, credit card machines, iPod docking, cell phone charging, and, my favorite, the electronic coffee cup heater.

Lost Comments

The hosting company used for my blog experienced an equipment failure last weekend. While we were able to restore most content, some data—including a few comments from readers—couldn't be recovered.

Connecting with Mr. Jones

It was raining like crazy—end of June—must be Oregon, the place where summer doesn’t start until after the fourth of July. Well, at least everything is green! And then, I noticed it…muddy footprints all over my dispensary carpet.

Won't Be Denied

I am blessed to live on the banks of the Columbia River in Oregon, which sports one of the great spring Chinook salmon runs. For fishermen around here, fishing is a near religious experience, but it is the fish who are the real heroes.

Expand Your Dispensary with eStores

Well, we have officially set a record in our office. We ordered 18 frames for a single patient before she selected one. Unfortunately, we did it the old fashioned way: ordered them, paid for postage to get them in, and had to deal with frame returns and delays.

Birthdays

Well, it is that time of year again—time for my birthday. Have you noticed that we always wonder where has the time has gone? Surely, the world has changed and a lot has gone on—after all, an entire year has gone by—and yet, I didn’t notice.

Donuts and the VSP Affiliate Program

If I told you that I could sign a contract that would deliver 9 out of every 10 customers to your donut shop, I am sure you would be thrilled. If I announced that winning the contract hinged on allowing customers to have a choice of where they ...

Open Enrollment: Making A Beautiful Connection

I was thumbing through a magazine when I came upon an advertisement to visit Hawaii. A beautiful beach, a gorgeous sunset, and the promise of culture, tradition, and tropical breezes—talk about a value proposition. I could almost feel the sand beneath ...

Helping Patients Connect Eye Exams to Health

I was just looking out my kitchen window: a giant fir tree, a busy squirrel, a thirsty hummingbird, and all the beautiful colors of an autumn in Oregon. The gift of sight, it should never be taken for granted.Bausch + Lomb just published its Barometer ...

They Said What on “60 Minutes”?

The investigative television show “60 Minutes” recently aired a segment entitled, “Sticker Shock: Why are glasses so expensive?” CNBC then followed with “Glasses giant crushing the competition.”

VSP Offers Help to Sandy Victims

One of the most important human emotions is hope. When disasters like Sandy strike, it is important that we all come together for hope to be restored. People need hope, and it takes purposeful action to make a difference.

PCP Communication—Message Received?

Don’t you just hate it when you deliver a “clear message” only to have the receiver miss the most important point? I am reminded of an episode where my father and I misunderstood my pick-up location after a day of deer hunting.“I’ll meet you at the ...

The Analogy of the Frog

We all know the story. If you put a frog in hot water, he will immediately jump out…to safety. However, if you put a frog in cool water and slowly increase the temperature, he will not recognize the danger…and will stay in the water to his demise.What ...

The Game Plan

Hasn’t this football season been great?! We just made it through the bowl season and we are on our way to Super Bowl XLVII. Each game has a favorite, but as we all know, lots of upsets! What makes the difference?

VSP Leadership Re-emphasizes Intent for Eyeconic

The following post is an open letter from Stuart Thomas, OD, Chairman of the VSP Global Board of Directors, and Rob Lynch, President and CEO of VSP Global. We appreciate the blog posted January 28 by the AOA entitled Critics say VSP's online dispensary ...

VSP Steps Up To Help After Superstorm Sandy

VSP Vision Care is a private, not-for-profit, community-based company whose mission is to help eye doctors in their quest to help people see. That commitment is in full view every day, and certainly, in times of crisis as VSP reached out to people in ...

Optimism: The Result of a Great Game Plan

The story is timeless. It's David v. Goliath. It's Hickory v. South Bend Central. It's the underdog prevailing over the favorite.How in the world do these upsets happen?Why are some folks intimidated, while others achieve legendary success?

Technology Plus The Doctor

Wow, have things ever changed. Just look at how far we have come: mechanical to automated, Polaroid to digital, and paper to electronic. Clearly, data collection and reporting have changed forever. In fact, every aspect of patient care is being ...

Enthusiasm In Practice

There is no doubt about it—we optometrists have the best job in the world. We help our patients see better, and in the process, improve their quality of life. Pretty cool! Can you think of a better reason to go to work?

Are Your Key Messages Echoing Throughout Your Practice?

I am sure you are familiar with the exercise where you tell a story to the first person, who tells it to a second, and a third, and so on. By the time it gets back to the originator, it is almost always a far different story. This very phenomenon can ...

VSP Annual Practice Report

The two most commonly referred to statistics in optometric practice are: number of patients and net receipts. While these two statistics do provide some useful information, it would be much better to find the reasons behind the numbers.

The Tag Line

Take a look at the following tag lines: Inspiration for the senses Thrive Imagination takes flight WowI’ll bet you can’t guess the industries that are being promoted. In order: Visitors bureau HMO Museum Car dealerWhat do you think these various ...

Eyeconic: An Important Tool to Address Online Shopping

Have you ever heard this conversation in your dispensary?Optical staff: Let’s pick 3–5 of your favorite styles and then go through your best lens options.Patient: No, that’s OK. I’m going to shop around—I think all I need is a copy of my prescription ...

A Patient By Any Other Name

I am sure you know that the same product is often marketed under various names. For example, generic aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can be found bearing the name of a manufacturer, a distributor, or a store. For various reasons, suppliers choose to ...

Practice Technology

No doubt about it, technology has really changed how we communicate. Look at this progression: speaking, shouting, two cans and a string, pony express, snail mail, telegraph, landline telephones, cellular telephones, e-mail, text messaging, and now ...

Encouraging Healthy Technology Habits for Our Children

Perhaps you have experienced this in your practice:Mary arrives for her eye exam with her one-year-old son Sam in tow.Sam utters a blood curdling scream just as we are getting started.Mary bolts out of the exam chair and offers Sam her iPhone.Sam ...

World Sight Day

There is no doubt about it, vision is one of our most treasured gifts. It is an awesome privilege to be able to help safeguard the vision of our patients. And even beyond, it is truly rewarding to extend much needed care to the underserved in our ...

Misconceptions on Light

Following is a guest post by Gary L. Morgan, OD, who emphasizes medical eye care in his practice, Eye Tech Eye Associates. Dr. Morgan is also an early adopter of new technology, and he's published and lectured on the clinical advantages of ...

Who We Do Business With Matters

Have you ever thought about what happens when you sign up with a vision plan that’s directing patients away from your practice and also choose to purchase materials from their retail supply chain? Initially, your volume goes up, but over time, both ...

Reinforce and Reward If You Expect Change

My dog, Maggie, has to be the greatest dog in the world. She is a beautiful four-year-old silver and gray wire-haired dachshund who has never met a stranger.Now, don't get me wrong, other dogs may know more tricks, but Maggie knows what is most ...

No Job Is Too Big

I had the distinct privilege of growing up in a family where we were taught that no job was beneath us and where we were all expected to pitch in. Each of us had a role but we were also expected to be observant…and helpful.Sounds like a good formula ...

3 Tips for Using Your VSP Practice Report

Well, it’s that time of year again. Spring has sprung! Here in Oregon, that means rain—but just think of all the green that follows. My feet are a little muddy, but summer is straight ahead. There is no question about it, time for optimism!What about ...

Have You Ever Had One of Those Days?

Have you ever had one of those days?Running late, splashed coffee on my new shirt…oh well, off to work.Started a little late, but the first exam was going great until the slit lamp bulb burned out. I found a new one, wrong size. Thank goodness, I ...

What Patients Want

For the record, I really don’t like hot dogs. They are not very healthy, they are pretty messy, and I often end up with mustard on my shirt. However, my opinion of hot dogs changes completely when I go to a baseball game. I love ball park franks. So, ...

Premier Program

Okay, so here is your question for the day: What do your airline, your coffee company, and your local hardware store all have in common?The answer is that they all offer loyalty programs. They learned a long time ago that if they could deepen the ...

Technology As A Tool To Help Your Practice Succeed

Ami C. Ranani, OD, of Somers Eye Center in New York, offers the following for optometrists who are interested in advancing the technology in their own practices.We’ve all heard these seven words: There is nothing constant except for change. Some of us ...

Giving The Gift Of Sight

There are so many stories and so little time! This is certainly the case when trying to describe the importance of extending eye care services to those in need. Vision is so important and we can all be very proud of our charitable efforts in sharing ...

What Patients Remember

A very nice 85-year-old patient recently came in for a medical follow-up visit. Despite a history that included both glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, she was not good about follow up…but, on this occasion she had returned right on schedule!So, I ...

Providing Consumer-focused Eye Care Services

Our patients are consumers. They come with far more information and awareness of options in treatment and mode of practice. They demand multiple access channels and they demand choice that fits their individual lifestyle.The VSP Global mission is to ...
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Don't Forget The Intangibles

I love the movie, The Internship—so funny! You know the story, two out of work salesmen get into a competitive internship at Google. Against all odds, they win the day and, finally, a job by demonstrating the importance of personal relationships in ...

Do We Still Need The Doctor?

Millennials—those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—represent a growing percentage of most of our patient bases. The Millennial Generation has ever increasing access to information via the internet and social media. They come to us with ...
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The Power of Counting Steps

There is an old adage: “If you want something to get better, you measure it.” I believe this is absolutely true. In fact, I suspect that incremental measurement may be the most important step toward improvement.I started wearing a pedometer and ...

VSP’s Not For Profit Organizational Structure

A question I often hear is, “I thought VSP lost their not-for-profit status?” In today’s installment, I will try to clear this question up and then talk about a new and emerging force in our industry, private equity and venture capital.Here is the VSP ...

Reflections

There is no doubt about it – change is constant! I am sure that you have seen the announcement that Rob Lynch will be retiring as CEO of VSP Global and will be succeeded by Jim McGrann, the current President of VSP Vision Care. This upcoming change ...

Turning eCommerce Into an Advantage

Well, here I am, back at the old As Eye See It blog desk ... and the topic this month: eCommerce. We all equate eCommerce with online buying and selling, but it really is much more. It also includes business to business buying and selling, data ...

Avoiding Disruption

If you have any question as to how fast the eye care industry is changing, just read the headlines. In just the past few weeks: CVS Pharmacy made the decision to add eye care to its healthcare offering, and has begun a five store pilot; Essilor ...

Sharing From Our Abundance

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. It's that special opportunity for us to count our many blessings, to give thanks for our families, for our homes, and for the many opportunities we enjoy.

The Importance of Access

Access has been a hot topic in optometry throughout my professional career. Patients need access to doctors and doctors need access to provider panels so they can provide care for their patients.

Professional Optometry

It's hard to believe, but I have had a part in professional optometry for 35 years. By all measures, it has been a great run. Just think about it. Our scope of practice has expanded from a largely refractive, diagnostic, and referral profession

An "Old Story" and a "New Look" at Technology and Innovation

Perhaps an "old story" from my practice can give us a "new look" at technology and innovation. Many years ago, I received a promotional pd gauge at an optometric CE meeting. It was nothing special – really – except that it had LED lights, which alternated between red and blue when taking a pd.

New Technology and New Doctors

Do you ever feel like no matter how fast you move, technology is moving faster? I know I do. In fact, I sometimes feel like the rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland” ... "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Fortunately, there is hope.

Creating Patient Care Opportunities

My father always told me that to get an opportunity, I had to make one. I was a high school wrestler on a very good team. Every week we had challenge matches to determine who would get to wrestle in the next match. After a solid junior season, I ended ...

A Vision For Vision Care

Has this ever happened to you? A family that has been patients of mine for many years—mom, dad, and the three kids—recently came in for their annual eye examinations. We had a very pleasant conversation about a recent vacation, how the kids were ...
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Paying Tribute to an Optometric Visionary

Once upon a time, a group of optometrists in the San Francisco Bay Area had a dream—to offer high-quality, cost-effective eye care as a prepaid benefit. Prior to this historic beginning, optometry was not part of third-party healthcare. The group ...

Brand Conscious Consumers

I remember several years ago, I wanted to get my son a new baseball cap. I knew the size, I knew the color, I knew the team…I did not think about the brand. As you might guess, my son was “brand conscious.” So, after a cap exchange we found the perfect one. …well, almost…I took the label off; kids like the labels on. Whoops. So noted!

Be Careful What You Wish For

An article appeared in CNNMoney.com on January 5, 2012, which was titled “Doctors going broke.” The article discussed a growing problem wherein independent medical practices are facing “serious financial issues.” Reasons listed were: shrinking insurance reimbursements, changing regulations, and rising business costs, combined with reductions in both Medicare and health plan reimbursements.

COA and VSP Work Together to Preserve Independence

I am proud to be an independent, private-practice doctor of optometry. My independence has allowed me the freedom to have a patient-first focus. Personal responsibility and integrity govern my practice without the undue influence of profit-centric pressure from above.