#51: Growing your "Middle Age" Practice to $1MM and Beyond

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  1. #1 Nov 11, 2015
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    AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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    #51: Growing your "Middle Age" Practice to $1MM and Beyond
    with Dr. Kevin Henne and Dr. Tim Petito

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    Fewer than 5% of optometric practices ever get past the $1 million dollar a year revenue landmark.

    Indeed, according to Dr. Jerry Hayes in his book, getting past the $900k barrier is one of the most daunting challenges a practitioner faces.


    The Challenge:
    How can a solo practitioner, in practice for 30 years with mostly static growth, ramp up his practice to crack the $1MM barrier?

    In this on-the-road episode of ODwire.org Radio, we take a trip to Jacksonville, FL to speak with Dr. Kevin Henne and Dr. Tim Petito.

    We first talk to Dr. Henne about how he’s transformed his “mature" practice to accelerate its growth in an attempt to crack the million-dollar revenue barrier.

    We specifically cover:
    • Why Dr. Henne decided to "go for it" and accelerate the growth of his practice with new technology, after years of stable growth
    • What tech he decided to implement, including automated refraction systems (the EPIC system) and automated patient recall systems
    • How it altered his workflow
    • Whether or not his staff resisted (or mutinied!)
    • How his gross and net have improved
    • How the perception of his office has changed with patients
    • What some of the challenges were in the implementation phase
    • …. and whether or not he’s made it to $1MM!

    Dr. Petito also tells us about his practice which is demographically very different from Dr. Henne’s (ie, more elderly), but still benefitted from new technology.

    Dr. Henne and Dr. Petito can take your questions in the thread below.

    (Thanks to Marco for inviting me into their corporate HQ and providing us with a nice quiet space for us to record the interview! I confess that I totally littered their place with cables, microphones, etc… and I didn't even have Paul around to blame!)

    marco-logo-200x60.png
     
  2. AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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  3. Matt Judd

    Matt Judd Well-Known Member

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    What recall system did he use? He mentions he tried preappointing and different things. But then he switched to a different system and was booked out a month almost immediately
     
  4. AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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    I believe it was Solutionreach, but hopefully Dr. Henne can tell us for sure.
     
  5. AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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    BTW, one thing that I love about this 'case study' is that his practice had been stable literally for decades, until he made a conscious effort to implement things to grow it (sounds like he had more time after his kids left the nest).

    So it was like a good science experiment -- the 'control' was all the data he had about practice growth going back decades, and the experimental variables were the Marco refraction systems and the recall system, among other things.
     
  6. Kevin Henne

    Kevin Henne Member

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  7. Kevin Henne

    Kevin Henne Member

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    Yes, it was solution reach.
     
  8. Joe DiGiorgio O.D.

    Joe DiGiorgio O.D. ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Marco & SR. I currently use Websystem3. I am hoping to soon have my daughter join my practice and she will be my part of my expanded "refracting system". I am wondering if I were to switch to SolutionReach, if that could actually outperform WS3, or is it just important to have one of these types of systems? My area has become very competitive in the eyecare marketplace, and my practice has more or less plateaued since the start of the big recession.

    BTW--I continue to invest in my office, with a fresh extensive remodel, and lots of whiz bang electronic instruments.
     
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  9. Matt Judd

    Matt Judd Well-Known Member

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    Can you expound on the magic button you mention. We are pretty good with no shows and last minute cancellations, but as a 3 year smile reminder customer, I ha ent heard of the ability to send notices to patients that there is an immediate opening. I assume that is somewhere in the software?
     
  10. Kevin Henne

    Kevin Henne Member

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  11. Joe DiGiorgio O.D.

    Joe DiGiorgio O.D. ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    @AdminWolf: Adam can you please help Dr. Henne with this response.

    Thanks
     
  12. Kevin Henne

    Kevin Henne Member

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    Yes, this is one of the most important and useful components of the software. We have developed such a backlog of patiets since our recall system and reactivation system is now contacting patients who have been "lost"' , the software has a place to keep patients who don't want to wait for a month or more, and when we have a cancellation, we "hit the secret, or magic button", (my euphemism for its amazing resuslts), it sends out a text to this waiting list.

    We frequently fill appointment slots that have been cancelled a mere one hour before and sometimes less. As of yesterday we have 126 patients on the waiting list, and patients are fighting for these appointments, often we get 10 phone calls for an open slot after they receive the mass text. The nine who dont call soon enough we tell them they just have to respond quicker!! I have never seen anything like it.

    Going back to "lost patients", by that I mean patients who went elsewhere but may have been disatisfied and were embarrased to come back, its a way of inviting them back and I believe that they feel more welcome; also patients who have just gotten busy with life and literally forgot about their eyes; or patients who want to refer family and friends, patients often ask if we take new patients which is amazing to me but I guess many other doctors limit or close their practices (but probably not optometrists, for any number of obvious reasons), or as a "peace offering", by that I mean those who have either gotten mad at us or us mad at them,(like being slow to pay) and they now feel it is ok to come back. There are probably other reasons that I can't come up with at this early hour on the east coast.

    Looking back over the last year, I believe the reactivation is especially helpful to a "middle aged" practitioners office in that we are likely to have large numbers of "lost" patients. When I went on electronic health records in 2007, I had responsible high school girls come in after school and put the old paper files into the ehs. This was, looking back, one of the best ROI ideas I ever implemented.

    My main reason for sharing my story, other than I was asked to share, is to help other optometrists, who are fighting the downward reimbursements of managed care and health care reform and mass advertising, to fight back. It has been a tremendous blessing to me and I know there are many others like me out there and I hope I can be of help to you. Reading the two books that I mentioned in the audio program exited me so much that I could hardly sleep for several days. I am indebted to Jerry Hayes and Walt West for their inpiration, and advice.

    If any of you obtain success and inspiration with what I have shared, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear your stories. I hope my story can be repeated and my efforts will have been well worth it.
     
  13. Matt Judd

    Matt Judd Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Dr henne. That is one of the most positive representations of the modern optometry office that I have read in a very long time. A sight for sore eyes to be sure
     
  14. Richard Frankel

    Richard Frankel Well-Known Member

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    No pun intended, of course!
     
  15. Joe DiGiorgio O.D.

    Joe DiGiorgio O.D. ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    Thank you for your detailed response.

    Hmmm, I have been running Websystems3. It took a couple of months to get the integration perfect with our office managment system and they had to do a couple of fixes. Now it operates perfectly.

    I have to wonder if making a switch to the system you are using will actually be more effective, or that it is just important to have a system. We use our system for appointment confirmations, recall notices for those that have not pre-appointed, or missed canceled their pre-appoint, Eyeglass and CL notifications for pickup, and periodic newsletters. We do not have a "magic button".

    Any thoughts from users of the 2 different systems? I would love to build volume for my new OD/daughter coming on board soon.
     
  16. AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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    Either system is better than having nothing in place -- particularly because these days there is almost an expectation that some sort of automated system like this will be used.

    Solutionreach is, of course, Smile Reminder (the name change was a couple of years ago, as they branched out from dentistry), and my guess is that the vast majority of people here have used their systems whether they know it or not, because it is so pervasive in dentistry!
     
  17. Joe DiGiorgio O.D.

    Joe DiGiorgio O.D. ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    We have been using our automated system with email, voicemail and text. It is working effectively for us, and is probably accepted by 99% of our patients, including many in their 70's (maybe not the octogenarians).

    Some who use Solution Reach, and the sales reps, make it sound like somehow it very effectively harvest more patients to put on the appointment books. I have to wonder if that is really true, of is just their effective marketing to the docs.

    Yes, I do receive a very generous allowance from Cooper. I would be willing to forego that if I really could be shown why SR could truly be better. Changing over from one system to another requires a lot of effort to effectively configure and integrate the new system. I just wonder if the effort would truly have a payback?
     
  18. AdminWolf

    AdminWolf Site Administrator & Tech Lead
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    Here's what's fascinating (I touch on it a little in the interview)

    On the continuum of "young hipster" to "grampa simpson", it appears that texting is the primary means staying in touch.
    Followed by email (for work and middle-aged people), and finally voicemail (only old people sit and listen to this... do not try to leave a 20-something a long voicemail, they won't listen to it.)
     
  19. Larry Greidinger

    Larry Greidinger ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    I was very hesitant to institute Websystem3 because of my pt. demographics..mostly over 51 years old and my mornings are usually 70 yrs and older. (Just lost my 102 yr.old pt.:()

    The first day we used Websystem3, an 80+ yr. old gentleman came in and mentioned how much he liked getting the text appointment reminder.

    I said to him..."You text?"

    He answered.." You have grandchildren? You want to talk to them? You learn to text!"

    I've been pleased with the system....worked great on snow closure days and can fire off texts, emails and phone calls notifying pts. the office will be closed/open late.
     
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  20. Joe DiGiorgio O.D.

    Joe DiGiorgio O.D. ODwire.org Supporting Member

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    WS3 has been working pretty well for us. I just see the SR users that seem so evangelistic that I have to wonder if the additional cost will more than pay for itself.