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Tuesday / June 25.
HomeminewsOptometrist Warehouse to Ramp Up in 2024

Optometrist Warehouse to Ramp Up in 2024

Optometrist Warehouse, which recently opened a new practice at Campbelltown, in Greater Western Sydney, said it plans to “ramp up” its growth in 2024, with “a batch of locations” already identified.

And the optical industry disruptor has told mivision that 95% of its patients are switching from other practices.

“We’re finding that only about 5% of patients are having their first eye test, with 95% switching from other providers,” Optometrist Warehouse joint Managing Director Charles Hornor said.

“Being co-located with Chemist Warehouse, we’re very convenient and when patients experience the level of care we are providing within the bulk-billed rate, they are recommending us to others, which is gratifying,” he said.

The Campbelltown store is the first Optometrist Warehouse to be opened in New South Wales, and the second store nationally. The first, in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern, opened in February this year.

Mr Hornor said the Campbelltown location, co-located with Chemist Warehouse in the Marketfair Campbelltown shopping centre, was chosen because it was a “diabetes hot spot”. It opened in early October.

“Campbelltown was a targeted choice for Sydney’s first Optometrist Warehouse. While our business purpose is to connect optometrists with pharmacists and other health professionals to deliver better health outcomes, our core mission is to work together to eliminate diabetes as the leading cause of avoidable blindness in each community we serve.

“In our first two weeks we have tested multiple people with diabetes – many of them lapsed eye care customers – who appear to have slipped through the eye care cracks, so we are already seeing the benefits of the model in action, which is rewarding for all involved,” Mr Hornor said.

“The most common eye care conditions we are picking up are dry eye, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, AMD (age-related macular degeneration), glaucoma, progressive myopia, and keratoconus, pretty much in that order.”

BENEFITS OF CO-LOCATION

Mr Hornor told mivision that the model was working well, both from an eye care perspective, and a broader healthcare perspective.

“Placing the two businesses together under one roof – albeit with distinct footprints – the format ensures a broad health and wellness customer experience, directly connecting the optometry team with its pharmacy peers to zero in on conditions where direct collaboration can make an immediate difference.

“For example, with diabetes, the pharmacy team has embraced reminding people with diabetes prescriptions of the need for a regular diabetes eye check and – if they choose to visit Optometrist Warehouse – they can do so while waiting to have their script filled.

“By sharing case reports directly with the pharmacists, our optometrists are already demonstrating the impact that this sort of intervention is delivering, with significant sightsaving disease detection and referral to local ophthalmology. This creates an enhanced patient experience, especially for those whose conditions may have been missed or undetected, as well as a broader involvement in holistic care for the pharmacists and optometrists involved.”

INTEREST FROM OPTOMETRISTS

Mr Hornor said the new model was also attractive to optometrists, who are proactively approaching Optometrist Warehouse about joining the new chain.

“Attracting staff has been a very positive experience so far. We’re new but there seems to be a sense of anticipation about our model and purpose. Optometrists … want to be a part of it and we already have a list of optometrists waiting to take up roles with us,” he said.

Mr Hornor would not reveal the chain’s planned expansion targets, saying only that it planned to “ramp up growth in 2024 but we will do so in a measured way”.

“Finding the right Chemist Warehouse locations is critically important and we are very pleased to have identified a batch of locations for the year ahead,” Mr Hornor said.