This article was originally published in Vision Monday DBA.
When Diana Hall, president of Bard Optical in Peoria, Illinois, decided to explore the opportunities of offering free-form customized lenses, she knew her selection of a lens vendor and equipment supplier would have a significant impact on her practice and patients. To make sure that impact was both positive and profitable, she decided to rely on trusted industry resources to help her navigate the difficult choices ahead.
Before making any critical decisions, Hall wanted to hear from others who had already traveled the path she was about to follow. As a member of Opti-Port, a community of multi-office regional eyecare practices, she knew several other owners who had been “digitally enabled” during the past 5 years.
“Having peers in the industry of similar size and experience willing to collaborate and share solutions can be invaluable at a time like this” she said. Consulting with other Opti-Port members—Rosin Eyecare (Chicago), Accurate Optical (Maryland/DE) and Wing Eyecare (Cincinnati)—all helped provide Hall with key insights on vendor selection, staff training, meaningful practice analytics and available financing options. Hall said, “I learned from their failures and success. What to ask, to avoid, to buy…they were eager to help.”
Based on years of experience, each member also shared their own perspective on selecting a digital lens partner. Bard, having operated a centralized surfacing lab for many years, already had a longstanding relationship with Zeiss, one of Opti-Port’s preferred partners. “We had trusted Zeiss for their technical expertise, lens quality and service over the last 12 years, so going to them for free-form enablement of our laboratory was a natural next step,” Hall said.
Equipment installation and software training were completed in May and early results are more than encouraging, according to Hall, with same office sales up an average of 15 percent at Bard’s 21 locations across the state. Having taken this big step, Bard is now focused on exploring other free-form custom designs and opportunities to enhance the patient experience using this new technology.
“Thanks to our membership in Opti-Port, Bard has privileged access to vendor programs and a collaborative community of like-minded executives, some of whom have already achieved what we are working toward. These advantages allow us to grow as a company and to exceed our patients’ expectations,” added Hall.
Bard Optical has succeeded over the past 75 years by embracing change and Hall sees a bright future ahead. “We are now offering our patients hi-quality custom lenses for a wide range of home and office applications. Better lenses, better patient service and better margins. What’s not to like about that?”
For further information on ZEISS enablement program please contact Cheryl Vescio at [email protected]