If you’re stressed about running your optometry practice effectively and efficiently, you’re certainly not alone. A recent survey found that at least one in every four optometrists is experiencing extremely severe stress.
Managing your own optometry practice requires more specialized knowledge and skills than many other types of business. In addition to excellent, up-to-date optometry skills, you need advanced business acumen to carry your practice forward. Overseeing your finances, ensuring compliance with ever-changing regulations, motivating and retaining your team members, streamlining your operations, and strategically planning for growth… all-important optometry practice management skills such as these take years of experience to master. Add in the recent global pandemic and it’s no wonder that burnout rates have spiked among optometrists.
So, how do you establish and grow your practice without burning out while you’re developing as a business leader? One of the most popular solutions among optometrists is to invest in optometry practice management consulting. With professional optometry consulting services to fall back on, you’ll be able to establish and grow your practice with newfound confidence and peace of mind.
What is Optometry Practice Management Consulting?
Practice management is an all-encompassing term used to describe the act of managing the business aspects of your medical practice. This includes finance, billing and coding, strategic planning, facilities, human resources, information technology, marketing, and more. Optometry practice management consulting is business advice that helps you improve these types of practice operations.
Optometry practice management consulting is available in a multitude of forms. Depending on your skills and needs, you can find general optometry consulting or consulting focused on a more specific aspect of practice management, such as optometry billing and coding consulting. You can work with a one-on-one consultant, coach, or advisor, or you can join a group like PECAA that offers consulting services, training, networking opportunities, and other types of support under one roof.
10 Benefits of Optometry Practice Management Consulting
Investing in professional optometry consulting services can improve your practice management and operations in many important ways. Here are ten key benefits:
- Assess the current state of your practice. An optometry practice management consultant can conduct an overall practice assessment or practice valuation to help you gain a clear picture of where you currently stand and how you stack up against your competitors, national averages, and industry norms. This will help you identify key areas for improvement.
- Tighten up your billing and coding and improve your revenue cycle management. Optometry billing and coding are complex and ever-changing, with plenty of room for error. In the year 2022 alone, there were 249 new CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes, 93 revised CPT codes, and 63 CPT deleted codes. A billing and coding consultant will help review your current billing procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and help you identify opportunities to improve efficiency, profitability, and compliance. Some consultants can also help you manage claims.
- Grow and scale your optometry practice more strategically. An optometry consultant can help create a strategic business plan that includes setting benchmarks and goals, identifying key performance indicators to track your progress, and creating action plans to achieve results.
- Better manage and inspire your team. Optometry consulting often includes HR support and solutions to help you deal with hiring, personnel changes, and other human resource challenges. This may include conducting a staffing analysis and coming up with staffing incentives to improve employee performance and retention or answering questions on complicated employment regulations.
- Make your practice more profitable. A consultant can help you conduct a thorough review of your finances and accounts receivable. Once the review is complete, they can identify opportunities and recommend solutions to boost your profitability. Depending on the type of optometry consulting you choose to invest in, you can request regular financial reviews— perhaps once per quarter— to help you stay on track.
- Streamline your internal operations. Don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel! A consultant can recommend tried and tested systems, processes, and technologies to make your operations more efficient.
- Discover substantial discounts and rebates. Researching and applying for different vendor discounts and rebates is exhausting and time-consuming. An optometry practice management consultant can help you identify savings opportunities and improve your bottom line.
- Prioritize your patient experience and satisfaction. With better practice management comes a better overall experience for your patience. What’s more, when you have more support with the business operations side of your optometry practice, you’ll have more time and headspace to focus on improving the quality of your patient care and adhering to industry best practices.
- Feel more supported and motivated. Having a consultant to lean on during tough times can make a world of difference in your mental health and motivation, reducing the risk of burnout. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many optometrists sought out consulting services for the first time to help them keep up with ever-changing best practices and overcome unprecedented challenges. Networking with other optometry practice owners is another great way to feel more connected and supported.
- Plan for your future. Working with a consultant to improve your practice management systems will make your practice and team more self-sufficient. That way, you can feel more prepared and confident when the time comes to transition away from practice ownership. You will be much better positioned to sell your practice and get top dollar in return.
Consulting for Optometry Practice Start-Ups
Building a brand new optometry practice from the ground up requires additional practice management skills, so consulting and support from experienced professionals becomes even more valuable. Joining a Cold Start Program is a more specific and involved form of optometry consulting to help you start off on the right foot. You’ll have the chance to learn from other optometrists’ successes and failures and get help overcoming common hurdles, like securing a bank loan.
Additional Types of Optometry Business Consulting & Support
There are also more specific types of optometry business consulting to consider, including the following:
- Optometry marketing consulting to help you with brand development, reputation management, specific marketing campaigns, and much more.
- Frame board consulting to ensure your optical frame board is successfully targeting your key demographic and has plenty of variety.
- HR consulting around specific initiatives such as compensation design, carrying out employee engagement surveys, or creating an affirmative action program.
- Optometry coaching programs to help you hone your leadership skills and make your job easier.
- Practice valuations to help you understand the true value of a practice you are preparing to buy or sell.
Optometry Practice Management Consulting with PECAA
If you’re looking to take advantage of any or all of the consulting services highlighted above, consider becoming a member of PECAA so that you can have a wide range of support at your fingertips. PECAA membership not only includes access to ongoing optometry practice management consulting but also extensive training resources and networking opportunities. With all this support, you’ll be able to realize your full potential as an optometrist and run a successful practice without burning out.
We look forward to supporting you on your optometry practice management journey!