DIGITAL MEDIA

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CHAD FLEMING, OD, FAAO
Owner
Wichita Optometry
www.eyedoctorwichita.com
Wichita, Kansas

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

As a Midwest practitioner, Chad Fleming, OD did not consider himself part of the “boom and bust” of economic upturn—but his practice and OptometryCEO.com, the OD-connecting website he developed, have led the way in patient growth.

“Digital media has been the catalyst to drive the change needed to take Wichita Optometry, P.A. and OptometryCEO.com to the next level,” said Fleming. “The power of marketing and word of mouth referrals has increased significantly by the successful use of digital media.”

According to Fleming, Wichita Optometry has seen a 3 percent increase in patient gross over the last year as a result of search engine queries, an area the practice continues to develop. The biggest challenge, he said, has been closing the gap between “the non-tech generation and the tech savvy generation.” His secret, he said, is “molding” the two ends of the spectrum.

“We currently run parallel systems of EHR and paper; running both systems requires forward thinking in addressing problems before they arrive. It is always easier to put out fires as they arrive, but to anticipate potential fires and manage accordingly takes innovative thinking and action.”


 

NIKKI IRAVANI, OD
CEO
Global EyeVentures, Inc. / EyeXam
www.globaleyeventures.com
San Jose, California

“My life and passion are devoted to eyecare and to providing the best care and most convenient experience possible.”

As a lifetime optical industry member, Nikki Iravani, OD was in a prime seat to recognize the need for change. An optician since age 16, she has since moved on to her current position as the founder and CEO of Global EyeVentures, creator of the EyeXam app.

EyeXam uses cloud-based platforms and social media to connect consumers to local eye doctors in their area. To date, over 1 million patients have used the service to schedule an exam.

“The eyecare industry is lagging in the advancements of technology that are already present in other industries and consumers expect,” said Iravani.

With the EyeXam app, she said, “Patients can book their appointments, stay connected with their eye doctor and redeem offers all using their handheld device. Doctors can also connect with their patients, retain existing patients and draw in new patients by enhancing their Mobile Virtual Profile (MVP).”

The biggest challenge has been practicioners’ resistance to adopting technology to meet consumer demands, Iravani said.

“Eyecare practitioners need to be more willing to embrace and adopt the enhancements of technology and directly appeal to the needs of their patients and prospective customers,” said Iravani. “Mobile connectivity is an innovation which, when adopted, will allow access to eyecare anytime, anywhere.”


 

JEFEREY C. JOHNSON, OD
Owner
Artisan Optics

www.artisanoptics.com
Boise, Idaho

“Look back and say ‘I’m glad I did it’ rather than ‘I wish I had.’”

After owning a private practice for over 20 years, Jeffrey C. Johnson, OD has learned that success takes reassessing every aspect of business and being open to new ways of thinking.

“We are early adapters,” said Johnson. “Our philosophy is to explore new ideas and technologies from wherever they originate to improve patient care, and ultimately, to enhance the overall patient experience.” Being an early adapter, though, is not without its own challenges—according to Johnson, employee resistance is often the most difficult part of transitioning to modern models of business management.

“It takes significantly more training and mentoring to coach a team through change than it does to take the position of, ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Unfortunately, status quo isn’t going to get us through today’s changing business environment,” he said.

Johnson and his staff have kept Artisan Optics fresh by re-evaluating and streamlining processes, such as utilizing the expanded capabilities of EHR, increasing the use of technology to automate whenever possible and increasing online presence, a transition that doesn’t come without certain barriers. “It has been a process, but I believe we have a better business model today than in the past.”

Johnson stressed resisting the tendency to stick with routines and comfort zones.

“The recent economic challenges have led us all into uncharted territory,” he said. “I believe it is our versatility and willingness to explore new technologies and business practices that will ultimately lead to future success and stability.”


 
TOMMY L. LIM, OD
Senior Partner
Berryessa Optometry, Inc
www.berryessaoptometry.com
San Jose, California

“We provide our patients with the best overall eyecare experience, accomplished as a team effort, at each touch point.”

As the pioneer of Berryessa Optometry’s web presence, Tommy Lim, OD learned quickly that web design, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media management was no easy feat, but was necessary to move his practice forward.

“SEO is so dynamic, and always changing,” Lim said. “I learned over time that certain things make a website more effective. No one even looks at your website unless you have search engine optimization.”

After learning of the importance of visibility in the digital world, Lim partnered with EyeCarePro to flesh out Berryessa’s web design, social media management and other virtual tactics that take time and care.

“ODs can’t do everything. You want someone who can do it and do it well. You need a professional, and a professional that understands optometry. EyeCarePro has been extremely effective for me for over five years.”

Though Lim let the pros take over, he is still actively involved in monitoring Berryessa’s Facebook page, his own Facebook page and the practice’s Yelp profile, on which he regularly responds to patient reviews. “I check it all the time. It’s not a casual thing you can just do when you have time—you have to dedicate yourself.”

Lim stresses keeping social media presence friendly and fun. Popular posts have included a wedding shower, a team Christmas dinner and a photo of Lim after a graduation ceremony at the Illinois College of Optometry, where he just started a three-year term on the alumni council.

“I try to make it as personal as possible. I incorporate things that happen in the daily life of our practice,” he said. “Fact-based posts, like how many rods and cones you have, is not personal. I make it personal. And people really like it—they’re happy to see you. They’re like old friends.”

According to Lim, digital media, though admittedly challenging at times, has brought considerable growth to his practice and he encourages all practices to embrace the age. “These have been record years,” he said. “Word of mouth is always going to be king, but [sites like] Yelp and Google are becoming stronger and stronger, and are even bigger in certain areas. Don’t think people don’t have computers.”