There are only three ways to increase top line revenues in your practice. Are you using all three?
Did you know that one particular type of contact lens modality is a secret key to unlocking the least considered of these three revenue generators? I’m not trying to be cryptic – just aiming to get you thinking from a different perspective.
Before I share the three “secret” ways to increase your practice revenue, let me share a bit of data.
In the United States, patients who wear glasses have an eye examination about every 25 months. Contact lens wearers tend to get examined every 18 months.
.. ensure that the patients you already have come back more frequently
With this as a backdrop, consider how your revenues would change if, instead of getting examined every 18 months, these same contact lens wearers came back for an eye examination every single day. Yes, that’s correct – tomorrow you will be examining about 2,500 patients.
Be prepared for a very, very busy day – and at the end of that day, you’d have a lot of money in your hands. As you will the next day, then the next day and the next…
Admittedly, this is a silly scenario with no clinical relevance. However, it does illustrate how revenues would change dramatically if patients were examined more frequently.
So, the three ways to increase top line revenues?
First, see more patients. While this is always a good goal, with competition increasing, it is getting harder to do.
Second, increase your fees. This is a sure fire way to increase your revenue assuming, of course, your patients stay with you after the fee increase, which in this current economic climate, might be challenging.
The third technique, which is usually not thought of as readily as the first two, is to ensure that the patients you already have come back more frequently. In the extreme example shown above, if your base of patients was 2,500, and you never increased your fees or saw another new patient, you’d still make about 50,000 per cent more money!
So, what can we do to stimulate your contact lens patients to come back sooner than the current 18 months? Give them a reason to come back.
How loyal are your RGP contact lens patients? Probably very loyal, right? However, if I asked how often they come back for an examination, you would probably tell me they make an appointment whenever they lose or break a lens.
Let’s use that same patient mindset but transfer it to a more commonly prescribed lens, such as a daily disposable.
It’s well reported that compliance with daily disposable lenses far exceeds any other modality. Therefore, since patients wearing this modality will need replacement lenses more regularly than those wearing other lenses, they have a higher proclivity to return for professional care more often.
Think of it this way. The margins on the product side of contact lenses have eroded in the past few years. If there were NO margin available from the product side of contact lenses, and we were strictly discussing profitability, it would still be appropriate for you to fit daily disposables since, over the patient’s lifetime with your practice (our data here shows that to be about eight years) you would have more opportunities to charge for eye examinations. Simply stated, the sooner the patient throws their lenses away, the sooner they return to your office.
What does this concept hold for the future of contact lenses?
Well, if daily disposables imply better compliance, which translates to higher professional fee revenues, keep your eyes peeled for an hourly lens. Yes, I’m kidding, but hopefully by now you understand the concept. If not, put this article aside and read it again tomorrow, then the day after that, then the day after that.
Dr. Gary Gerber is the founder and president of The Power Practice (www.PowerPractice.com), a practice building and consulting company with a mission to make doctors more profitable and efficient by introducing innovative strategies and techniques.