3 Tips To Protect Your Optometry Practice Against The Threat of Industry Changes

With revenues of more than $12 billion, Circuit City had been one of the pioneers in the 1970s and 1980s in mass marketing televisions, refrigerators, stereos and boom boxes. As such, it was something of a one-stop shopping spot for your typical freshman off to college.

Over the years, Circuit City built itself into 1520 stores in the U.S. and Canada and 46,000 workers. Yet sometime during the 1990s, Circuit City lost its way. It went completely bankrupt by 2009.

“Circuit City wasn’t necessarily fated to collapse in 2009 had it woken up sooner” said Alan L. Wurtzel, the former Circuit City CEO. Instead, management ushered in the new century with largely the same strategy Wurtzel had developed in 1980, focusing on services that customers didn’t need or want anymore.

“The world is always changing, and you can’t rely on your past accomplishments.”  – Alan L Wurtzel, Author of ‘Good to Great to Gone: The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City’

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you see anything like this happening in optometry?

The writing is on the wall. Change is here!


3 Tips To Protect Against The Threat of Industry Changes

Disruption is always the result of innovation. Therefore, being the disruptor is the best protection against disruption. In order to be able to turn the threat of disruption into an opportunity, businesses need to consistently strive for innovation.  Here are 3 tips to help you turn the threat of change into opportunity.


1. Stay on the cutting edge –

Disruption is a threat to all businesses. However, experience shows that many practices, and especially successful ones, ignore this fact. The bigger their success in the past, the greater the likelihood that they sit complacently in their comfort zones. The example of Circuit City above is a clear demonstration of a company who woke up too late.

Don’t ignore the changes happening in our industry, instead get informed.  Learn as much as you can about new technology, new protocols, new patient expectations.  Attend industry conferences, trade shows and digital events to learn as much as you can. Evaluate your practice, your clientele and your finances to decide which “new disruption”  to implement in your business model. Then, get some help from someone with experience and just do it!


2. Be flexible to change –

Following the disruption of successful businesses, it often turns out that these firms had been aware of the threat for a long time but failed to respond to it quickly enough. Many practice owners take too long to respond to change and as a result sometimes they get left behind.  Are you responding to the current disruption in our industry?

The biggest disruption in Health Care right now is Telehealth or Telemedicine. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines telehealth as the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications. 

Patients are becoming accustomed to this form of medicine and the demand is increasing.  In order to remain relevant in this climate and to continue to succeed, you need to adapt.  Consider adding telemedicine to your business model.  There are many platforms to select from, but I recommend Eyecarelive Telemedicine. Click HERE to learn more about how Eyecarelive can help you thrive in this digital world.


3. Combine the best of both worlds

When you combine both worlds, you focus on keeping your core competencies while adding new innovation. For example, consider using telemedicine for all of your contact lens follow-ups.  Instead of bringing your patients back to occupy chair time, use the innovation of telemedicine to create efficiency for your practice and convenience for your patients. 

While it’s important to remain loyal to your core values in this ever changing landscape, your methods must constantly adapt. Don’t change what made you successful, instead improve it by combining what your patients love about you with new technology.  Combining the best of both worlds will ensure your success for years to come.


In Conclusion:

Disruption, means using completely new approaches: a new technology, a new combination, a new business model. It requires innovation-oriented leadership, a culture promoting creativity and courage as well as processes designed to help generate something new – and not to defend something obsolete. Clearly, these are enormous challenges for many practices. But accepting them is essential for success in the age of disruption.

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