AADO plans program with dispensaries in mind

Jennifer A. Webb

Las Vegas-Ophthalmologists who dispense eyewear are gearing up for the biggest program in the history of the American Association of Dispensing Ophthalmologists' meetings.

Las Vegas-Ophthalmologists who dispense eyewear are gearing up for the biggest program in the history of the American Association of Dispensing Ophthalmologists' meetings.

The 11th Dispensing Ophthalmology Conference, to be held Sept. 8 to 11 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center here, will include an all-time high of 25 CME physician accredited hours to be earned by attending a host of seminars. Eight new seminars offer instruction on topics including spectacle lens technology, patient communications, inventory management, common ocular surface disease diagnosis and treatment, and image and branding for your practice.

"It's the only opportunity for you to get the information that you need," said Pamela B. Fritz, FNAO, the AADO's executive director. "If you're an ophthalmologist who's dispensing or is planning to dispense, it's the only place that offers accredited education by experts who have done this."

The meeting is held in conjunction with the International Vision Expo West at the same location. The expo is offering more than 350 hours of continuing education, with more than 150 new courses for all ophthalmic professionals. (See sidebar.)

The AADO conference features three to five courses each day, with a special luncheon presentation on Friday, Sept. 10, about managing contact lenses in a busy ophthalmology practice. Presented by Vincent K. Young, MD, and Katherine McNelis, COA, FNAO, the 1-hour course will discuss a physician's general fitting philosophy and offer advice on establishing good office procedures, patient flow, and policies.

Dr. Young, who is AADO president and chairman, ophthalmology department, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, and McNelis, who is secretary of the AADO board and owner of Kids Eyes in Devon, PA, will review good patient communication tools and offer sample order forms and procedures for purchasing trial sets, communicating with callers, and keeping an order log and lens bank.

Something for everyoneThe new courses offer a mix of topics for those who have attended previous conferences or for the first-time participant. Some of the courses might sound familiar to the returning visitor, but Fritz said they have been extensively reworked with new information.

For example, her basic dispensary overview in "Dispensing Benchmarks-Everything You Need To Run a Successful MD Dispensary" includes all new ideas and practices that she has found as a consultant to ophthalmology practices.

This 2-hour course, presented at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, is designed for the doctor, practice administrator, or optical manager. It covers dispensary financial management, market and competition analysis, demographics, capture rate, dispensary interior design, managing frame and lab vendor accounts, tracking productivity, handling managed care programs, setting budgets and pricing, and software.

"I have so many new things I'm doing with my clients," Fritz said. "Even if you've attended this course in the past, there's going to be new information about new benchmarking for different types of practices, from small practices to large practices. There are new systems that I've improved."

In "Image and the Dispensing Ophthalmology Practice: Have You Established Your Personal Brand?" Holly Schounard, ABOC, and Catherine Skelton, ABOC, take on the marketing buzz word, "brand," to help dispensing ophthalmologists develop or improve their image. Brand identity differentiates your practice and shows clients what your practice represents. Communicating your brand identity can be done in a variety of ways-through a distinctive name, design, or symbol that differentiates your practice from another.