This article originally appeared in Vision Monday.
LAS VEGAS—Opti-Port, a national alliance of eye care providers, held its third annual member meeting and welcome reception on Wednesday, Oct. 6 in conjunction with Vision Expo West. “Our member meetings are an opportunity for Opti-Port members to get together in a confidential setting to discuss ways to better run their business, and better serve their patients,” Jennifer Jackson, Opti-Port marketing manager, said. Jim Edwards, president of Opti-Port, moderated the member meeting, which “provided a platform for members to openly share management ideas related to their business,” a statement from the organization said. Discussion topics included managed care reimbursements for specific product lines and categories, moving into Free Form lenses and partnering with frames suppliers, among others. Additionally, Luther Lowe, business outreach manager for the user-generated review site Yelp, made a presentation on “What are your patients (customers) saying about you online?” “The presentation included case studies of optometrists and other examples in the healthcare industry,” Jackson told VM. According to her, Lowe discussed why Yelp exists and reasons it shouldn’t be ignored; how online customer reviews affect business; and the best practices on how to handle both positive and negative online reviews. “Patients are talking about our services online, and it’s our choice as to whether or not we want to participate in that conversation,” said Opti-Port member Aaron Schubach, vice president of Standard Optical, about creating an online presence for his business. Diana Hall, president of Bard Optical and an Opti-Port member, said “You think that over the years you can manage and organize a specific product category like contact lenses, progressive lenses, or frames, to best serve your patients and your offices, but it’s amazing what you find out - not to mention the additional opportunity available - when you review your approach with other peers, and then combine your purchases through Opti-Port’s alliance”. According to the organization, there are currently 20 regional group practices – representing 300 locations across the U.S. – that make up the Opti-Port Advantage membership. “Opti-Port helps run their businesses smarter through group purchasing, technology, education and marketing solutions,” Jackson said. For more information, visit OptiPort.com.