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Maximizing Changes Made During Downtime

By Anthony Sesto, OD August 31, 2020

As a partner in an eight-location practice, I was worried about the impact to our bottom line of being closed for about a month in response to COVID-19. Today, we are happy to report that revenue is higher than before the pandemic began, despite the one-third decrease in patient flow.

During our relatively short downtime, we focused on a couple of things. The first was ramping up to reopen. Patient safety was our number one priority, so we obtained personal protective equipment (PPE) from VSP and others and implemented several safety protocols, such as patient screening, reduced patient flow to limit exposure, and increased cleaning. While closed, we kept in touch with our patients via social media and text messaging, leveraging HootSuite tools provided by My Marketing Team and Eyefinity. Once we announced through these channels that we were open for routine care, our phones started ringing off the hook, and within two days we were booked out three weeks.

One of the other things we did during stay-at-home orders was to focus on minimizing the number of partners we use to streamline our business. We chose to switch all of our lab business to VSPOne Technology Centers. Our practice was already using about 90% Unity Lenses, so we decided to switch the remainder of our patients over—we believe in the product that much. The new Unity Via Progressive Lenses offer advanced technology; they are easy to dispense, and patient satisfaction is very high. Plus, dispensing Unity Lenses propelled us to the Premier Platinum level.  Being part of the Premier Program offers us a number of financial rewards, and that has helped us grow from three practices to eight. We get the higher reimbursements and rewards associated with Premier, and as we’ve opened each new location, we benefit from the increased exposure to new patients on the vsp.com Find a Doctor directory. Patients also value the option to pay with CareCredit and access a wide selection of frame partners like Maui Jim and Kering brands that are pre-negotiated through the Premier Program.

Now that we are back open for business, the changes we implemented during downtime are enabling us to provide top-notch care even during challenging times. Although we are seeing fewer patients per day, we are spending more time with each one and our sales are higher than they were before the pandemic. As I see it, taking the time to understand our patients’ specific situations and match their requirements with the most advanced offerings available allows us to provide the best vision experience possible—now more than ever.

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