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1. Partnership Helps Doctor Focus on the Future
Eye Care Practice finds nearly $8,000 by making pricing adjustments
2. Practice Advances Efficiency with ABB CONCISE Tools and Support
O.D. reports 40 percent of contact lens sales are through yourlens.com
3. A Philosophical Switch to Assure Greater Competitiveness
Internet presence helps Eye Care Practice stay competitive
4. Grow Your Contact Lens Practice through Gas Permeable Lens Fits
Eye Care Practice successfully incorporates full-year order
5. Virtual Inventory Saves Precious Practice Space
Using ABB CONCISE for a majority of contact lens orders saves Eye Care Practice thousands of dollars
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Partnership Helps Doctor Focus on the Future
ABB CONCISE support provides the tools to be progressive
Mary Boname, OD, wants her Montgomery Eye Care in Montgomery Township, N.J., to evoke the feeling of an old-time community doctor’s office—with the high-tech efficiency of a progressive practice. The atmosphere in the small shopping center evokes Norman Rockwell and the community’s history. Scouts set up tables to sell cookies, popcorn and Christmas wreaths. Her business neighbors include a movie theater, a grocery store, a drug store, a candy shop and a barber. “It’s real, small-town America at its best,” she says. But inside the practice, the technology and instrumentation are the latest available.
Dr. Boname has found a partner in her effort to stay on the cutting edge of progress: ABB CONCISE. Over the past seven years, her growth has been supported—even spurred on—by the new tools and programs that ABB CONCISE has delivered. “ABB CONCISE is a terrific company, providing independent doctors the tools we need to be competitive. Every time my rep Shelley Farley tells me I need to get on board with something like online contact lens orders for patients, I embrace it fully,” Dr. Boname says.
She has come to trust the consulting services as much as she relies on the efficient distribution. Each time she incorporates advice or services from ABB CONCISE,managing her practice becomes a little easier. That, in turn, allows her to focus on patient care and build loyalty.
Born of Necessity
Dr. Boname first began to consider working with a soft contact lens distributor for an obvious reason: working with each contact lens manufacturer, paying multiple shipping charges and handling several invoices each month was an administrative hassle. Her CIBA VISION representative suggested ABB CONCISE. She hoped the arrangement would save her time and some money. It has done that and much more. Farley’s quarterly business reviews, for example, provide her insight into the big picture of what’s working well in her office. Doctors can glean this information on their own, but it’s a lot more work. And through their regular discussions, Dr. Boname can learn from Farley what other practitioners are doing and use ABB CONCISE Top 500 data as benchmarks to set her own goals.
One of the greatest benefits Dr. Boname has found with ABB CONCISE is that the company has made it so easy for her to keep up with the online marketplace. She and her staff appreciate being able to place their orders into the shopping basket and reorder with the click of a button. And when ABB CONCISE launched yourlens.com
, it brought the practice to a new level of efficiency. In fact, 90 percent of her soft contact lens wearers are ordering their contacts through yourlens.com.
“At 1,567 square feet, we don’t have the supply space for a big inventory,” Dr. Boname says. The shift to keeping a virtual inventory at ABB CONCISE distribution headquarters solved many problems. She can maintain a supply of trial lenses, and ABB CONCISE ships contact lenses directly to patients. It’s quick, easy and efficient. In this town near Princeton, “even my patients in their 80s and 90s use a computer,” she says. If patients prefer, the receptionist—who demonstrates how yourlens.com
works—can place an order for any patient.
system provides her with the level of control she seeks over expiring contact lens prescriptions and the ability to send email reminders to patients to reorder contact lenses or come in for a visit. As a result, it’s become a patient education tool as well as a conduit to orders. Dr. Boname says that Internet-based ordering is so common, there’s no downside. “Patients don’t need to see a stockroom. Online orders fit better with our overall embracing of technology,” she says. In fact, as she has gained space that used to be dedicated to products, Dr. Boname has been able to add more instrumentation. She now has a computerized refracting lane with the Marco 5100, she uses an electronic medical records system and is implementing the e-prescribing module. “Most of my new patients have never had an exam like this,” she says. “I like to be ahead of the curve. I’m a leader, not a follower.”
Stay Current or Bust
Dr. Boname believes that patients who have been to a technologically advanced practice like hers will be wary of those offices that aren’t updated. For example, if patients who are relocating ask for a nonurgent referral to another practitioner, she turns to the web. She’ll look for doctor’s web sites—and the quality and capabilities of that site tell her a lot about that doctor.
“You don’t want a web site to be stale,” she says. In fact, Dr. Boname recently redesigned her web site to be more interactive. She revealed the new site with a launch party in January, to which she invited long-term patients. She’s also adding a Facebook page, which she’ll update with short announcements of new contact lenses, products or services or lectures that she’s giving.
This new way to promote her practice will help her build on patient loyalty even more, she says. “Health care is a service-based entity. You need to build relationships.” That’s true of the doctor-patient relationship— and it’s true of her partnership with ABB CONCISE.
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Practice Advances Efficiency with ABB CONCISE Tools and Support
Doctor shifts business to ABB CONCISE after learning of company's business philosophy
So long, mailroom duties! When Penn Moody, OD
, began promoting direct-to-patient delivery of contact lenses, staff morale at his Indianapolis, Ind., practice soared. As it turned out, “I learned that they hate checking in and unpacking orders, putting boxes in trays, calling patients, dispensing and collecting balances,” he says. “It’s just busy work and makes them feel like they work in a mailroom. None of them got into the optical business to work in a mailroom.” He expected the switch would result in greater efficiency, but he was delighted to find it also improved the mood of the staff.
However, as happens with many new initiatives, old habits began sneaking back in. “We were starting to slip and order a few more lenses into the office. People asked, ‘Can’t you do this for me?’ And the staff complied.”
Then Dr. Moody read an article in which ABB CONCISE CEO Angel Alvarez discussed transaction costs of contact lens orders. Soon after, a friend, a CooperVision executive, introduced him to Alvarez, knowing both were devotees of The Long Tail:Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. “It changed the whole way I do business,” says Dr. Moody. “I started looking at transaction costs for everything we do, not just ordering contact lenses.”
The first action he took was to consolidate all contact lens orders with ABB CONCISE; he had been using another distributor for some of his contact lens orders. Then in the fall, he announced at a staff meeting that the practice would no longer accept in-office delivery for any contact lenses except trials and GP lenses. Contact lens technicians were worried and said he should be prepared to see patients walk out with prescriptions if they weren’t offered the convenience of picking up their orders in the office. He was unmoved and said he’d cross that bridge if they came to it.
They didn’t. In fact in the first two months, direct-to-patient delivery jumped from below 70 percent to 81 percent. The office stocks a healthy soft contact lens inventory, so the trial orders delivered to the office may skew his numbers downward, he says. “Maybe one or two patients a month insist that they pick up their lenses here.” To accommodate those patients who want lenses delivered to the office, or those whose insurance requires that the office orders the lenses, there’s a two-tiered pricing system. “If we handle the order, the patient doesn’t receive the online discount.”
Dr. Moody acknowledges he put his staff through a lot of changes at once: a new ordering site for contact lens orders, a mandate to promote direct-to-patient shipping and a strong recommendation for annual supplies. None were unfamiliar concepts to the staff, but he had a newfound determination to increase efficiency and reduce transaction costs. It has been an effective step. Dr. Moody says revenues are up 24 percent— and he’s hired a part-time employee, additionally freeing up time for his busy staff. “I would have had to hire a full-time person if it weren’t for the efficiencies we gained,” he says.
ABB CONCISE has helped with every step, he says.
Yourlens.com: “I’ve taken the stance that patients are online anyway. I have to be there, too,” he says. One of the reasons he moved his business to ABB CONCISE was the turnkey yourlens.com. He hired his high school-aged daughter to key in patient information, speeding up the conversion to online ordering.
Annual supplies: If patients order four or fewer boxes of contact lenses, there’s a $7.50 delivery charge. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s enough to make patients re-evaluate the annual supply—with free, convenient delivery to their home or office.
Front-desk freedom: When patients call to reorder contact lenses, the receptionist directs them to the yourlens.com link on the practice web site. Phone lines aren’t tied up with taking orders, meaning patients who call with questions or to schedule an appointment get through faster or aren’t put on hold.
“I’ve taken the stance that patients are online anyway. I have to be there, too.”
Remembering to steer patients to the web site requires a change in habit. He and staff members sometimes catch themselves starting to order contact lenses for patients. But with each passing week, there are fewer lapses. That’s where Dr. Moody’s resolve as the practice leader comes in. “In my opinion, a leader establishes the vision and then sells it for the practice. That means I keep encouraging the staff, I check on the progress of our initiatives and I compliment and support the staff for doing them well.”
So he takes the lead in introducing online contact lens ordering to patients. He tells the patient in the chair that other patients love this option for the convenience and the savings. If he waited for the contact lens technicians or front office staff to make the presentation, it might sound to the patient that this option is more convenient to the staff. When Dr. Moody introduces it as faster and quicker for patients, then it’s much easier for the staff to follow through.
Every Friday, doctor and staff meet for 45 minutes to an hour. “We also hold impromptu meetings during the week if an issue pops up,” he
says. Dr. Moody says these meetings are valuable to everyone. The staff members bring ideas and suggestions, and Dr. Moody provides them latitude to solve problems while accomplishing the practice’s three written goals: provide an exceptional experience for the patient, provide an exceptional place to work and make money.
Now that the ABB CONCISE rep brings quarterly business reviews, there’s new information to share with the staff. “No one has ever done that for me before,” Dr. Moody says of the review that shows graphically what the business is doing and where it falls in comparison to top accounts. These consultations have helped him begin to formulate additional plans for the practice, such as bringing in an in-office lab and ordering ophthalmic lenses through ABB CONCISE.
He was pleased to find that he compared well on those progressive strategies that are important to him: online orders, direct-to-patient deliveries and daily disposable lens sales. It confirmed to him what he thought when he first met Alvarez—that their businesses have similar views in how the marketplace is evolving. With ABB CONCISE, he feels he can adapt to those market shifts more easily—and with more support than he’s ever had before.
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A Philosophical Switch to Assure Greater Competitiveness
Practice doctors decide to change their approach to contact lens sales, with help from ABB CONCISE
The processes in place at Smyrna Eye Group in Smyrna, Ga., weren’t the most efficient way to run the contact lens business. But finding the momentum and determining the plan of action for making changes can be difficult. That’s why J. Sean Harper, OD, was so pleased to work with ABB CONCISE rep JoAnne Boyan, who came to him with a comprehensive approach and action plan. The tools and strategies that ABB CONCISE offer provided both the opportunity and will to make necessary updates to the practice.
“We are making some really big changes that accompany a philosophical shift in how we view the contact lens business,” Dr. Harper says. The results are that the practice has much greater control over the way it manages its contact lens distribution and better insight into which products to carry. Both of those factors result in greater profitability.
Smyrna Eye Group is a large practice, with three ODs and a history of excellent service for more than 30 years. “We’re well known and have great patient loyalty,” says Dr. Harper. “But that doesn’t mean our patients aren’t shopping for better pricing.”
So the first step in the process toward greater competitiveness was a thorough analysis of where the practice could be more efficient. Boyan’s proposal covered these areas.
Using the quarterly Soft Lens Retail PriceMonitor, supplemented by some local research, Dr. Harper analyzed his prices in comparison to what others offered. “In some cases, I can’t match what the large retailers offer, but in many cases, especially in combination with the other steps we’ve taken, I could.”
Where he formerly had eight categories of contact lens pricing, he now has 40. Essentially, each lens is now its own category. That means when the price shifts on a particular lens, he can adjust the pricing to the consumer, maintaining a steady profit margin. “I used to have all my multifocal contact lenses for one price. If my cost in one went up, my profit margin for the category would drop. Now we can react more quickly.”
Encourage direct-to-patient shipping.
Smyrna Eye Group is updating its entire patient database to sync with the ABB CONCISE database. “As a result, when patients meet the requirements for free shipping, we’ll ship the products directly to the patients’ homes or offices. That will result in a tremendous savings in staff time,” he says. Patients will receive their contact lenses more quickly, too.
Realize that minutes add up.
When the practice switched to placing its contact lens orders online, there was a tremendous time savings in not having to call and repeat information. This newest automatic transmission of data might seem like an incremental improvement, but it adds up, says Dr. Harper. Not needing to minimize or maximize the order window on the abbconcise.com web site and key in an order may take only a minute or so, “but it’s repeated several times an hour, nine hours a day, five days a week. That can add up to a few hours a week—time that the staff can now spend greeting patients, explaining products, conducting pre-exam tests or making appointments,” he says.
Add a web store.
ABB CONCISE offers a turnkey, online web store through yourlens.com
. To patients, it looks as if they are ordering their lenses directly through Smyrna Eye Group, and essentially, they are because the practice backs up these purchases as it would for any product sold from its in-office inventory. The fact that ABB CONCISE has made the investment in creating this 24/7 web presence for its accounts is one of the key reasons Smyrna Eye Group has shifted its soft contact lens purchases to ABB CONCISE.
Promote rebates and annual supply sales.
Formerly, doctors and staff at Smyrna Eye Group did not promote rebates for contact lens purchases. “I think there are a lot of independent doctors who don’t like to promote rebates,” Dr. Harper says, “but it’s the simplest way to reduce the price to the patient with essentially no effort from us.” ABB CONCISE sends the rebate form and necessary information directly to the patient with the shipment of contact lenses. All the doctors and practice staff need to do is showcase the savings. To that end, the practice developed charts that show per-box pricing compared to maximized savings through annual supply sales and rebates. These same charts and links to current rebates will be available to patients who order online, as well.
The benefits to the patient are obvious, but there are practice management benefits, too. “My staff doesn’t have to be bothered in six months with someone calling in for several more boxes of contact lenses. These seem like small transactions, but when you tally the time it takes to answer the phone, pull the record, take the patient’s credit card information and place the order, it adds up.”
Implementing a series of changes isn’t easy, but the staff and doctors are looking forward to it. They all realize that these improvements will save them time, save patients money and improve the level of service they can give patients. “We could have achieved some of these same results if we had tried to analyze our situation internally through our computer system, but the ABB CONCISE proposal was comprehensive and made it easy to implement.” It has allowed the practice to move from simply thinking about how to become more competitive to putting a plan into action.
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Grow Your Contact Lens Practice through Gas Permeable Lens Fits
ABB CONCISE offers online tutorials, webinars, consulting and robust product offerings
Most ABB CONCISE accounts can list the advantages of consolidating soft contact lens sales through one distributor: efficiency, savings and unbiased consultative help fromthe representatives. But fewer people know that ABB CONCISE also has a gas permeable (GP) division, which recently has merged its lens designs, services and product portfolio.With dedicated consultants, state-of-the-art labs, new online tutorials and monthly webinars—whether you’re new to fitting GP lenses or want to increase the share of GP fits—ABB CONCISE can help.
Comprehensive product portfolio: When ABB and CONCISE merged, the companies also merged their GP contact lens designs. These lenses are now presented in a portfolio featuring 13 signature designs, including four multifocal lenses and five lens designs for irregular corneas.
Coordinated lab offerings: Each of the ABB CONCISE labs, one in Marshfield, Mass., and another in Alameda, Calif., have the capability of manufacturing any lens in the signature portfolio. That means faster turnaround for practitioners, who no longer need to wait for cross-country delivery on special products. “It cuts a full day out of the turnaround time,” says ABB CONCISE Vice President of Manufacturing, Greg Goodhart. ABB CONCISE has received the Contact Lens Manufacturing Association (CLMA) Seal of Excellence for 19 consecutive years. “CLMA judges us on precision, consistence and overall conformity to ANSI standards,” says Goodhart.
Full consultative services: A dedicated GP customer service department and a consulting department in which each of the eight consultants is certified can work with practitioners on GP fits. ABB CONCISE Director of Consultation, Ann Shackelford, says, “The ABB CONCISE consultation team has more than 200 years of combined experience available. This partnership enables our team to provide you with a variety of options to ensure your success. Each call to the consultants at ABB CONCISE will connect the practitioner with a network of experience and a determination to make our accounts successful,” she says. “We make it as friendly as possible for the doctors.”
24/7 information online: Later this year, ABB CONCISE will launch online tutorials on every lens in the GP signature line. These tutorials detail the features and benefits of the lenses, as well as information on how to fit them, says ABB CONCISE Executive Vice President, Lynda Baker (pictured above). “Practitioners can go to them anytime to learn more about a specific lens and how to fit it,” she says. In addition, ABB CONCISE has been featuring monthly webinars on GP lens fits.
“With everything we offer, our goal is to help practitioners fit more GP lenses. We’re continually looking for ways to educate practitioners,” Baker says. That includes the online training, seminars held at clinics and schools of optometry, the consultative help and the wide array of lens choices. “Not only do we manufacture GP lenses, we have a fullservice line of GP lenses from other labs. ABB CONCISE is the place to come for all your GP needs.”
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Virtual Inventory Saves Precious Practice Space
Bifocal/Multifocal GP Lenses
The MANDELL Seamless Multifocal® GP lenses, developed by Dr. Robert Mandell, features a front-surface, concentric design, with a unique transition zone that provides seamless, no-jump transition between optical zones. It’s ideal for patients who have specific distance and near requirements with minimal intermediate needs. Patients experience an easy transition from their single-vision lenses to this multifocal design.
Charlotte Prestridge, NCLEC, of Baton Rouge, La., says these lenses are easy to fit, and patients report great comfort. “The turnaround time is less than two business days, while most bifocals take at least two weeks. That’s great.”
XTriVision® GP lenses offer the most flexible, simultaneous multifocal vision. The newest lenses in the product portfolio, they provide consistent, predictable results while allowing doctors to customize the zone sizes and add powers for a customized fit. The lens is available in a back toric design for certain astigmats and can also be used on some post-refractive surgical patients where a multifocal is desired.
Beth Grebe, NCLE, (pictured left) the contact lens fitter at the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, practice of Patrick Parden, MD, says, “We use the XTriVision because it works, and it’s easy to fit.” Natural Vision Bifocal® GP lenses feature a translating, truncated/prism ballasted lens design. This highly customizable lens has true monocentric construction to avoid image doubling. It is ideal for advanced presbyopes and patients who have fine visual discrimination needs. Roger Young, OD, (pictured right) of West Valley City, Utah, says it’s becoming his lens of choice for presbyopic patients because of its ease of fitting. He also has good success using a modified monovision with these lenses. Richard Baker, OD, (pictured below left) says the Natural Vision Bifocal GP lens is an excellent choice for a translating bifocal lens. “I use this design for patients who need a large distance field of view when wearing a bifocal lens. The lens offers the advantage of a large reading field and, because of its one-piece monocentric design, there is not any problem with image jump that is usually associated with segmented bifocal lenses.” When a patient requires midrange working distance, such as computer use, Dr. Baker recommends either a modified midrange for the nondominant eye or using a low-powered computer spectacle lens option over the contact lenses for occasional computer use
Versare lenses complete the bifocal/multifocal contact lens offerings. Versare is suited for emerging presbyopes who demand optimal distance vision and patients with up to 2.00 diopters or less of corneal astigmatism.
Lens Designs for Irregular Corneas
The cCONE™ GP lenses are designed for beginning to moderate keratoconic patients. The lens is constructed in a three-zone design, each clearly labeled to enhance fine-tuning for the final fit. It’s ideal for central or mildly superior conic corneas.
The eCONE™ GP lenses are for moderate to advanced keratoconic patients. The peripheral curve, with its edge lift system, can be adjusted to give more or less edge lift depending on the need. This lens is designed for the more centrally located cone.
James Donaghy, director of operations, optical department of Wills Eye Optical in Philadelphia, says, “When dealing with irregular corneas, our first choice is the eCONE because it provides our patients with the best vision.”
The xCONE™ GP lens is for severe keratoconic patients, including those with pellucid marginal degeneration (PMD). The reverse geometry design provides better centration and less tilting or rocking of the lens for a better fit and enhanced comfort and acuity. This lens is best suited for PMD patients, as well as post-surgical and other irregular corneal applications, including some corneal grafts.
At Tidewater Eye Centers in Portsmouth, Va., M. Alison Mercer, OD, (pictured left) and Robin Hughes, the contact lens manager, favor the xCONE lens, which they say provides an excellent fit on irregular corneas. “This lens has provided excellent results for our post-refractive surgery patients. The xCONE has also been successful with patients who have been diagnosed with keratoconus, whether these are mild, moderate or severe cases. Our goal is patient satisfaction, and in saying that, our GP patients are delighted with their vision and comfort with this particular lens.”
G.B.L. GP lenses are large 10.8mm-12.5mm diameter lenses designed to center well on the corneas of patients for whom conventional lenses often decenter. Available in a reverse-geometry design, the G.B.L. lens may be used for any case of lens decentration, but it is especially effective in the correction of irregular corneas, including keratoconus and PMD. Ralph Baker, OD, (pictured right) of Roseville, Calif., says the lens is easy to fit. “All parameters are adjustable to accommodate various corneas. I use it for irregular corneas, cones and post-surgery cases. It is versatile and comfortable.”
The SurgiLens™ GP lenses incorporate a reverse geometry curve on the posterior surface, resulting in an improved fit over conventional designs. These lenses, available in an aspheric design, also provide enhanced comfort and optimal visual acuity.
Scott A. Edmonds, OD, of Drexel Hill, Pa., uses the SurgiLens regularly. “The pretested fitting sets of these reverse-geometry lenses put me in the ballpark with a brief trial-fitting session. With a little topographic review and parameter adjustment, the first order often works great.”
Brian Marhue, OD, (pictured left) of Cape Coral, Fla., says the SurgiLens fits a variety of cases. “The design parameters of the SurgiLens allow me to fit successfully a much wider range of flatter and irregular post-graft, post- LASIK and post-RK corneas in our cornea practice.”
Standard GP Lenses
The standard GP lenses from ABB CONCISE are the OxyFlow® GP lenses, manufactured for a traditional alignment fit with low to moderate edge lift; the EdgeLift® GP lenses, with a spherical base curve and an aspheric peripheral system for a junctionless transition from base curve; the Pliaflex® GP lenses, a family of thin-profile lenses, which offer excellent stability, durability and wettability—ideal for first-time GP lens wearers; and the VerAcon® Aspheric GP lenses, with an aspheric, central base curve and great aberration control that can fit up to 2.00D-3.00D of corneal astigmatism. The VerAcon lens is ideal for emerging presbyopes.
Learnmore about each of these lenses on the abbconcise.com web site or ask for the newsignature lens brochure from your ABB CONCISE representative.
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