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What You Need to Know About 2017 When Planning for 2018

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It comes around every year – that moment when it’s time to evaluate the current year’s performance and make some plans for the upcoming year. Most of us start these analyses at the end of the calendar year – like now. We’ve asked our industry experts what the most important considerations for trend analysis are when thinking ahead. They’ve offered us three key points as a “good starting place.” We’re sharing these with you over the next few days, to help you maximize your practice planning for 2018.

Metric to Check: Capture Rate

There are many ways to calculate capture rate, and they’re all meaningful. One key metric is the relationship between provider (OD) exams and optical products. Take a look at how many patient exams result in a complete pair of eyewear in the optical. This metric is very telling in terms of the success of the relationship between the clinic (eye exams, pre-testing, and contact lens dispensing) and the optical.

Why This Matters

Optical sales (frames and lenses) can make up as much as 2/3 of your practice revenues. Improving the performance between the exam chair and optical sales can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.  Assuming your practice is performing at or above the 2015 national average of $306 revenue per patient (Management and Business Academy, “Key Metrics: Assessing Optometric Practice Performance 2015.”), and a rough revenue distribution of 50 / 50 in optical / clinic, improving your capture rate by just 5 patients per week could yield a lot of lettuce during 2018, giving your cash flow a healthy boost – as much as $40,000 in a year.

Doing the Math

The basic formula for optical capture rate is straightforward. Count the number of patients who filled their prescription in your optical. Divide that total by the number of patients who received an Rx, then multiply by 100.

 Example:    

91 patients received an Rx during their exam.
48 filled those prescriptions in the optical.
(48/91) * 100 = 52.74%

 (For more information on calculating this type of capture rate, and other tracking options, please check out our article Calculating Capture Rate in Your Optometric Clinic or Optical Practice.)

How Does Your Capture Rate Stack Up?

If your optical capture rate is low (below regional and / or national averages), pause for a moment and consider other factors that may be having an impact. For instance, medical practices may see lower capture rates, as the practice has a different demographic and / or focus than typical optometric practices. Capture rate will vary depending on geography, and patient demographics may also impact the final analysis. Ultimately, the best test when evaluating your practice capture rate is comparing it to your historical information. In other words – did you do better this year than last? This is one metric that needs to be monitored every year (and on a regular basis throughout – at least quarterly).  

What to Do About It?

Start as you always should when considering new practice initiatives – observation. Watch the patient interactions as they happen, and note areas where you think there is room for improvement. This may include patient hand-off, staff promotion of lifestyle solutions, or merchandising choices (to name just a few). Talk to the stakeholders – your staff members and associates – about how they think these processes might be improved. Develop a plan to address specific shortfalls, and (all-important), set a measurable, achievable goal for improvement. And of course, evaluate often, and make any needed adjustments!

Know your numbers. Maximize your revenue.

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