As Eye See It

The Power of Counting Steps

Friday, February 13, 2015

There is an old adage: “If you want something to get better, you measure it.” I believe this is absolutely true. In fact, I suspect that incremental measurement may be the most important step toward improvement.

I started wearing a pedometer and counting steps last year. One thing is certain: I now take far more steps each day. I even have “internet counting friends” to keep track of and compete with. I walk, I count, and I closely monitor my progress. If I happen to lag behind, I sometimes even go round and round the family room to catch up.

So what is so unique about a pedometer? It simply provides continuous incremental feedback as I progress toward my goal.

I believe this principle applies perfectly to goal setting in our practices. I think we tend to set goals which are too large and too distant to get maximum effect. We overlook the motivational power of counting steps.

Here’s an idea: What if we took our large goals and “broke ‘em down”? As an example, in the latest VSP Practice Report, we see an opportunity to increase our frame capture rate. To achieve our annual goal, we’ve set a monthly goal to increase eyewear sales by 12 pairs. Consider an ascending incremental reward program, whereby, the first few sales would net a smaller contribution and later ones were worth more on the way to 12 and beyond. Then post for all of your staff to see and watch your large goal come into view.

As I see it, small incremental goals are more motivating than large, unwieldy goals. If my goal is 20,000 steps, I get there one step at a time. So, my advice is to count those steps with your staff and watch those larger goals become more attainable.

Do We Still Need The Doctor?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Millennials—those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—represent a growing percentage of most of our patient bases. The Millennial Generation has ever increasing access to information via the internet and social media. They come to us with expectations and opinions which have been shaped, largely, by organizations seeking to sell product, all of which makes it more difficult to consult with our patients and to get them to follow our recommendations. Technology is being trumpeted as the answer; the critical role of the doctor is less apparent.

That last part did not feel great to write, but I/we need to accept the reality that our millennial patients think differently, act differently, and make decisions regarding who they do business with differently.

Dr. Scot Morris discusses a number of technology and consumer-based trends in a column that appeared in  the December 2014 issue of Optometric Management, entitled “Eye Care: The Next Generation.” He suggests that because of “the continuous evolution of digital handheld technology, social media, and most recently, wearable technology, that the consumer will soon dictate healthcare delivery.” He concludes by viewing these technological advancements as a “tremendous opportunity” if we (doctors) are willing to change with the times.

I couldn’t agree more with the assertion that doctors need to embrace change. But just how, or what are we supposed to change?


The 3 C’s for Attracting and Retaining Millennials

Friday, January 2, 2015


Matthew Alpert, ODThere’s a lot of industry talk lately about changes in how consumers view eye care. That’s not just due to technology. It’s also due to a new generation of consumers that already represents a third of the U.S. population—the millennials, who currently range in age from 18 to 33.

Have you heard millennials referred to as “echo boomers”? That’s because this generation matches the baby boomers in size and are poised to make a similar impact on the economy. Vision Monday just published “Meet the Millennials” as an introduction to their 2015 Millennial Project. It ran alongside a letter from VSP Vision Care President Jim McGrann about the need for our industry to prepare for change.

As a third-generation optometrist at Alpert Vision Care, I’ve been looking at how to prepare my practice for the next generation. What I’ve learned is that attracting and retaining millennials comes down to three things: choice, convenience, and care.