by Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments
| Wednesday, May 6, 2020 |
In the wake of the recent coronavirus outbreak, businesses across the country are dealing with the ramifications of social distancing and widespread "shelter-in-place" mandates. With more than one million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in over 200 countries worldwide, preventing the spread of infection is paramount, but the consequences are beginning to take a toll.
Businesses that rely on direct human contact, including vision care practices, have been forced to make some tough decisions. Eye care professionals everywhere are limiting their services, shortening their hours, and reducing staff. Some have even been forced to close their doors temporarily.
These actions are having a profound impact on their bottom line, especially since there is no definitive end in sight. Ophthalmologists and optometrists understand that if you're not seeing patients, you're not bringing in revenue, making this a very stressful time for solo and group practitioners alike.
Survey says: Eye care professionals are feeling the strain.
The most recent (March 23-24) results from a Jobson Optical Research survey about the impact of coronavirus safety measures on eye care professionals tell a very different story from the first round of results, which were taken March 13-17 of this year.
According to those individuals surveyed at the end of March, 69% (compared with 12% in the first wave of results) expect a significant decline in practice revenues from the loss of business due to coronavirus prevention measures. In addition, 41% of third-wave respondents said they had laid off staff, while 59% said they had closed their practices. And, on a scale of 1-10, the average stress level among respondents was 7 or higher.
Taking the right steps now can help you bounce back after COVID-19.
Though the future may seem unclear, it is important for eye care professionals to stay optimistic. Economic recovery may be slow in coming, but the following strategies can help you stay focused on success so that your practice is able to recover once business resumes
- Stay connected with your patients. Now more than ever, stay in touch with your patients via email, social media, telephone—however you can. Keep them updated about COVID-19 prevention measures and how your practice is working to safeguard their health. Let them know about any changes in practice hours or appointment rescheduling, and make sure they have a way to contact you if they have questions about their health.
- Embrace virtual visits. Although some tests are impossible to perform during a virtual visit, virtual eye exams can be a useful tool when in-person appointments are on hold. At least temporarily, embracing telemedicine technology helps to reassure patients that you are still there for them when they have concerns about eye health, while at the same time allowing you to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- Consider new revenue channels. Brainstorm ways you can boost profitability once you're back to "business as usual." For example, in addition to improving accuracy and increasing patient referrals, a digital imaging solution provides an added revenue stream for your practice. Digital imaging can easily be added to the traditional eye exam, and Veatch customers have reported significant increases in revenue by billing for both anterior and posterior images. Use our Digital Imaging ROI Calculator to estimate your return on investment.
- Re-evaluate your business. Every now and then, it's good to take a step back and look at what's working and what's not. During this unexpected downtime, make it your goal to reassess everything from your internal processes to the equipment you use to ensure your practice is optimized for efficiency. If not, get valuable practice planning tips from Veatch or download our free whitepaper: An Eye for Efficiency.
One more thing to consider: When social distancing mandates are lifted, you will likely see a surge in appointments.
Did you know that just by adding a Veatch Digital Refraction Suite to their practice, doctors report seeing up to 5 more patients per room per day? Not only that, but a digital refraction system helps to eliminate costly inefficiencies and makes the exam process more enjoyable for you and your patients.
As we work together to rebuild and recover after COVID-19, count on Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments for everything your practice needs to get up and running again—from the latest digital equipment to everyday exam room supplies.
Call Veatch today at 800.447.7511 or contact us online to learn more.