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Internal practice management

1 May 1994


A Doctoral dissertation reviewing the current literature concerning the methods employed in marketing of an optometric practice (from within), using an existing patient base; hence the term "Internal Practice Management." The main objective of this thesis is to present several methods to effectively manage an existing patient base. Several marketing strategies are discussed, including specific information on preappointments, recall, referral and former patient reactivation. Discussions within will also include new patient treatment, exam marketing as well as newsletter and brochure "how to's" in conjunction with telephone scripts prepared for your staff so all telephone inquiries will be handled with professionalism. Chapter Two describes the "Perfect practice to buy," and this thesis would be most beneficial for the new(looking for a practice)graduate who could be faced with the following financial terms from a retiring Optometrist: Net annual income for the next ten years during the buy-out period: -$30,000.00--Depressing isn't it? But, if the practice in question was in a qrowth area and if the retiring O.D. has been doing limited or no recall and/or poor internal practice building techniques, then this seemingly meager net income could be turned around quite nicely in a relatively short time. Marketing an optometric practice requires attention to both INTERNAL and EXTERNAL communications with your patients. Patients have only a limited knowledge of optometry; they often form perceptions about the quality of care based on you and your staff's communication skills. These skills are the focus of the chapters titled "Interreferral marketing and Staff marketing." The management principles contained hearin are modifiable to all optometric marketing situtations. An integrative marketing approach must be developed before any capital is commited towards accquiring a new practice. The key to any new marketing idea is follow through and tracking. It is these two functions that will make or break your marketing bottom-line profits. staff follow-through can be motivated with incentive and tracking methods. The dissertation concludes that the optometric training institutions should look beyond optics and health-related issues in their curriculum. Management and marketing must also be integrated so as to allow students the much needed insight to succeed on their own in the increasingly competitive profession of optometry. Internal practice management is basically "patient communication11 at its finest. Relay to all your patients a sincere caring attitude and you will reep many rewards. Remember, patients don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.


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